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Some Experiences with Natural Medicine
and related observations
Ginger features prominently in Eastern medicine and cuisine and is also used in Western herbals. Ginger is often used with especially meat and fish to aid digestion and counteract toxicity and unpleasant odours.
Types of ginger
young ginger - used in preserves - warming
old or mother ginger - used in cooking and for medicinal purposes - warming
juice - If you cannot tolerate the mass of ginger, which can irritate sensitive digestive systems, try bashing the root and using the juice.
decoction - most used in remedies - see ginger tea
dried ginger powder - from stores - more pungent - supposed to be better for medicinal purposes but may be adulterated.
dried - used in South Indian Chukku Kopi (dried ginger coffee) as a digestive and carminative during cold and rainy seasons. Chukku is ginger soaked in lime before drying.
essential oil - best not to use this since it may be adulterated. Seek medical advice before using this.
Good for Bad for or during Particularly for symptoms associated with cold, weak digestion and/or toxicity :
- Anti cancer
- Anti cholesterol
- Anti fungal (one of the herbs for treating candida)
- Anti inflammatory - so may be good for arthritis, menstrual cramps and pain relief; fibromyalgia pain
- Anti spasmodic
- anxiety because binds to serotonin receptors
- blood thinner, prevents clots, lowers LDL cholesterol
- Raises blood pressure (Lu, p21 ) and stimulates the heart - so good for poor circulation - good for cold hands and feet.
- cold stomach; gastritis; indigestion - also other cold symptoms like suppressed menstruation.
- digestive aid
- fever - wash the skin with ginger water to induce perspiration
- nausea - medical evidence exists to show its benefits for nausea from chemotherapy as long known by herbalists (Bartram mentions this). See also http://www.botanical-online.com/medicinalsgengibreangles.htm
- respiratory complaints - cold, sore throat, sinusitis, flu- since it is a good expectorant and promotes perspiration
- sleepiness (according to Lu)
- vomiting - anti-emetic good for travel and morning sickness
- Diabetes ginger lowers blood sugar - so see doctor if on medication for diabetes
- Bleeding or prior to surgery - because it thins the blood. Avoid if you are already on blood thinning medication like aspirin and warfarin.
- Blood clotting - for the same reason, avoid if using blood clotting medication
- Gall stones (since it stimulates secretion of bile)
- High blood pressure or other heart complaints
- Contraindicated for kidney disease, according to Bartram
- High doses during pregnancy may induce abortion. (See http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginger-000246.htm).
- Hot flashes? I was hot in bed if I took a strong dose, especially with black pepper.
- Ulcers and other inflammatory skin diseases
Normally, the skin is scraped off before use as food since the active ingredient gingerol is concentrated under the skin. When I was having acute gastritis, I initially used the ginger with the skin on but only for a couple of days. After that I scraped the skin off given all the warnings about overdosing. It should not be consumed in excess (various sites give different maximum limits). Several sites state a maximum of 2 gms. fresh ginger or 400 milligrams dry ginger per day. Too much ginger can produce excessive gastric acidity ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, and IBS. According to UMM, pregnant women should not take more than 1gm per day. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginger-000246.htm
In Sep 2013, I came across this article which summarises the health benefits of ginger and its contraindications; it provides links to research papers. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/node/83545
Asian children were often given all sorts of preserves to chew and suck - some of these were pickled, others crystallised in sugar or salted. The red-coloured Chinese salted ginger is quite hot but the crystallised shreds and pickled slices were delicious. I recall that some of salted lumps were larger than a tea spoon -some were the size of dessert spoons. So, I have always thought that ginger was safe. But, these were treats which we did not have on a daily basis especially since ginger featured in a lot of our dishes. This is a good page on use of dried ginger in TCM http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/dried-ginger-root/ The page on fresh ginger is http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/fresh-ginger-root/
Dr. Cynthia Jayasuriya points out that ginger should not be consumed with Tapioca, since this is a toxic combination. See: http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/02/14/vitamin-b17-fighting-cancer/
According to TCM, ginger tea should not be consumed at night or in spring/winter.
Jan 2018 - I came across this:
© Mahes Visvalingam, 10 Jan 2012
Last updated on 29/03/18