Saturday, 20 May 2017



 Health benefits of honey, Ginger & Neem
#1 Honey is good for your blood
Honey influences the body in different ways depending on how you consume it. If honey is mixed in tepid water and drunk, it has a beneficial impact on the red blood cell (RBC) count in the blood. RBCs are mainly responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood to various parts of the body. The honey-tepid water mixture raises the bloods hemoglobin levels, which takes care of anemic conditions. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when dietary intake or absorption of iron is insufficient, and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is compromised. The reduced oxygen carrying capacity leads to fatigue, breathlessness, and sometimes depression and other problems. Honey can negate these issues by building the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Building the level of oxygen in the blood is extremely important because how healthy the body is and how easily it rejuvenates itself depends on the level of oxygen in the blood. Preliminary research has also shown the positive effect of honey on hypertension or high blood pressure. Traditionally, honey is also consumed to reduce the effects of hypotension or low blood pressure.
There is also some preliminary evidence that honey can prevent low white blood cell (WBC) count in chemotherapy patients. In a small-scale experiment, 40% of patients at risk of low WBC count had no recurrence of the problem after consuming two teaspoons of therapeutic honey a day during chemotherapy.
#2 Honey is safer than sugar
There has been a lot said about the negative effects of white sugar on the body. Honey is a great substitute that is as sweet but also safe to consume. Though honey also includes simple sugars in its chemical makeup, it is quite different from white sugar in that it contains about 30% glucose and 40% fructose – two monosaccharide or simple sugars – with 20% other complex sugars. Honey also includes dextrin, a starchy fiber. This combination helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.
#3 Honey is good for yoga practitioners
For those doing yogic practices, consuming honey brings balance to the blood chemistry and is especially recommended. Regular intake of honey makes the system more vibrant. Taking tepid water mildly laced with honey in the morning before beginning the practice can open the system up.
#4 Honey is antibacterial and antiseptic
Consumption of honey promotes an increase is beneficial antioxidant agents, stimulates antibodies and combats harmful microbial activity. Several studies have also looked at honey in wound treatment. One study used a therapeutic honey that had undergone a special purification process, which destroyed all strains of bacteria in wounds among the study participants. Another study treated wounds and leg ulcers for 59 patients, of whom 80% had not responded to conventional treatment, with unprocessed honey. Except for one patient, all the others' wounds showed improvement. What's more, the infected wounds became sterile within one week of honey application.
In traditional medicine, one of the health benefits of honey includes the treatment of respiratory infections. Daily consumption of honey is used to deal with issues such as excess mucus and asthma.
Clinical research has also shown that medical-grade honey can destroy food-borne illness pathogens such as Eschetichia coli and salmonella. Honey has also shown promise in fighting bacterial strains that have developed resistance to antibiotics. Research has shown that honey is effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Honey fights infections on many levels making it difficult for pathogens to develop resistance to it. Antibiotics by contrast, typically target bacteria while they are growing, giving them an opportunity to evolve resistance. Honey is also found to disrupt what is known as quorum sensing, which reduces the virulence of bacterial pathogens, and allows antibiotics to take effect.
#5 Honey is an energy food
One of the important uses of honey in traditional medicine is as an instant energy booster. As mentioned above, honey contains many different kinds of sugar molecules, especially glucose and fructose. However, unlike white sugar where fructose and glucose are combined as sucrose and require an additional step in the digestive process, in honey, these two sugars are separate. Thus, the glucose acts as an instant energy source.
The United States National Honey Board recommends consumption of honey because it contains many vitamins and minerals in small amounts. A list of these include: niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
#6 Honey helps with digestion
Honey helps reduce constipation, bloating and gas, thanks to it being a mild laxative. Honey is also rich in probiotic or "friendly" bacteria such as bifido bacteria and lactobacilli, which aid in digestion, promote the health of the immune system, and reduce allergies. Using honey in place of table sugar has been found to reduce the toxic effects in the gut of mycotoxins produced by fungi.
#7 Honey combats skin and scalp infections
There are many health benefits of honey on skin and scalp wellbeing as well. In a small-scale study with 30 patients that looked at the effects of honey on treating seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, participants applied diluted crude honey every alternate day by gently rubbing their problem areas for 2-3 minutes. The honey was left in place for three hours before being washed off with warm water. All the patients showed improvement with the treatment. Itching was relieved and scaling disappeared in a week, while lesions disappeared in two weeks. The patients' hair loss situation also improved. What's more, patients who continued the treatment for six months by applying honey once a week did not suffer from a relapse.
#8 Honey helps children sleep soundly
Preliminary results from several studies indicate that honey can improve the quality of sleep in children. Based on parents' opinions, the studies concluded that honey reduced cough among children during the night and helped them sleep more soundly.
Points to note
Honeys that are darker in color are considered to have more antioxidants. Honey does not rot and can be preserved for long periods of time when sealed properly. In fact, archaeologists have found sealed jars of honey in the tombs of pharaohs in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes and in the tomb of Tutankhamen. There's no information on what the archaeologists did with all that honey!
Honey should not be given to infants under 12 months of age due to the risk that it may contain spores of the botulism bacteria that can lead to infant botulism. These spores are found in dust and soil and could find their way into honey. An infant's system is still not geared to defend itself against this kind of infection.
Another point to remember is that honey is not very different from white sugar when it comes to diabetics. Both products increase the blood sugar level and the same care must be taken by diabetic patients.
Uses of Honey in Siddha and Ayurveda
Perhaps no one has explored honey's benefits in as much depth as Indians have. Honey was considered to be nature's gift to mankind and was prescribed as an essential ingredient of every kitchen. It was seen as an important part of the diet for anyone over 12 months of age. Honey was considered a predigested food, and was said to be easily digested by human beings. One of the uses of honey in both Ayurveda and Siddha is as a vehicle for medicines. When mixed with honey, medicines are easily and quickly absorbed by the body, and they spread across the system through blood circulation. Honey is also said to maintain the potency of a medicine and prolong its effectiveness.
Siddha texts prescribe honey as part of the treatment for ushna (loosely translated as heat) related issues, excess mucous, vomiting, gas problems and impurities in the blood. Siddha texts identify seven different kinds of honey, of which the honey collected from dense mountainous forests, known as malaithen or mountain honey, is said to have the highest medicinal value. This kind of honey is said to carry in it the properties of many medicinal plants from which the bees collect nectar.
Traditional remedies and uses of honey
Honey Water
1-3 teaspoons with a glass of room temperature water, twice a day nourishes tissues and helps alleviate weakness in the nervous system.·
1-3 teaspoons with a glass of lukewarm water provides instant energy and helps in weight management.·
Topical uses
Honey smeared over abrasions promotes quicker healing and minimizes the scar.
Benefits of honey and lemon
Twice a day, for 20 minutes each, apply equal parts of honey and fresh lemon juice on the face topically. This can remove black marks on the face.
Ginger honey drink
Brew #1
Beat ginger and crush it to extract juice. Leave the juice for 15 minutes in a glass container.·
Leave the sedimentation and store the clear juice in a refrigerator for 5-6 days.·
Mix two teaspoons of this ginger juice and two teaspoons of honey and consume it in the morning every day on an empty stomach. This helps purify the blood. It can be consumed for 48 days once every 6 months.·
Brew #2
Wash fresh ginger and peel off the skin.·
Cut ginger into small pieces, soak it in honey in a wide mouth glass bottle.·
Cover the bottle mouth with a thin, white, cotton cloth and keep in the sun for 12 days.·
Consume 2-4 pieces daily in the morning and evening to get rid of any indigestion issues.·
Brew #3
Mix four teaspoons of ginger juice, four teaspoons of honey and two teaspoons of lemon juice in three-fourths of a cup of water. Consume. This helps reduce your susceptibility to cold.
Heart care
Take fresh juice of one pomegranate and add one tablespoon of honey in it.·
Consume every day in the morning on an empty stomach.·
Make holes in dates by piercing them with a needle. Soak in honey and consume 2-4 dates twice a day.·
Honey remedies for cold
If you suffer from cold-related diseases or are one of those who has to deal with blocked nostrils every morning, the consumption of neem, pepper, honey and turmeric can help to a great extent. Here's a couple of simple remedies.
Option 1: Roughly crush 10 to 12 peppercorns and soak them in two teaspoons of honey overnight (8-12 hours). Consume the peppercorns in the morning and make sure to chew them well. You can also add some turmeric to honey.
Option 2: Grind neem leaves to a paste and roll the paste into a marble-sized ball. Dip the ball in honey and swallow it every morning on an empty stomach. Don't eat anything for the next 60 minutes to allow the neem to pass through the system. This also helps with other kinds of allergies such as skin or food allergies. Neem has many medicinal qualities and this practice is highly beneficial. If you find regular neem leaves too bitter, tender neem leaves can also be used.
Watermelon-Ginger-Mint Cooler
Here's a "cool" recipe with honey and watermelon that can be a great boon during summer months.
A quarter of a watermelon·
1 inch piece of ginger·
¼ cup fresh mint leaves·
Salt to taste·
Black pepper powder to taste·
3 tablespoons Honey·
Peel the watermelon, deseed and chop roughly. Toss the pieces into the jar of a blender.·
Peel ginger, crush and add to the jar.·
Add the mint leaves, salt, pepper powder and honey.·
Blend everything together till smooth. Pass the contents through a strainer.·
Pour the juice into glasses and serve.·
To finish off the article, here are a few facts about honey and bees in general.
About 25,000 species of bee are known to exist, of which many are unfortunately under threat of extinction.·
Almost 80% of food in the supermarket is there as a result of bee-pollination.·
The first record of human beings collecting honey comes from 6000 BC! This is depicted in a cave painting in the Cave of the Spider in Valencia, Spain.·
It takes about 10 million trips foraging for nectar, or the equivalent of 1.5 round trips around the world, for honey bees to produce the equivalent of 500 grams of honey.·
Four Remarkable Health Benefits of Turmeric
#1 Purificatory Health Benefits of Turmeric
Sadhguru: Turmeric purifies the blood and brings translucence to your energies. Turmeric not only works on the physiology, but also has a big impact on your energy system. It purifies the blood, body, and energy system. For external purification, just take a small pinch of turmeric, put it into a bucket of water and pour it over your body – you will see, the body will be vibrant and glowing.
#2 Anti-phlegm Health Benefits of Turmeric
Those who suffer from cold related diseases and find their nostrils blocked every morning, will benefit a lot from the consumption of neem, pepper, honey and turmeric. Crush about 10 to 12 pepper corns roughly and soak them in a couple of spoons of honey overnight (about 8 to 12 hours). In the morning you consume this and just chew upon the pepper. Mixing some turmeric with the honey should also work. If you avoid all dairy products, your phlegm will go down naturally.
#3 Anti-cancer Health Benefits of Turmeric
Cancer is not a disease, it's your own body working against you; certain cells have turned against you. Periodic cleansing of the body is good to prevent this from happening. Consumption of turmeric on an empty stomach is a very effective cleanser. This may not be effective after you get cancer, but otherwise, swallowing a marble-sized turmeric ball and neem ball, first thing in the morning acts as a great cleanser and takes away the cancerous cells in your body.
#4 Benefits of Turmeric for Yogic Sadhana
Everything you borrow from the earth, including your body, has a certain inertia. It is important to be conscious of this and to keep the inertia levels at the minimum. When we gauge whether your sadhana is working or not by looking at how much you sleep and how alert you are, we are checking how much inertia you generate. The inertia levels will increase if the body does not
allow a certain amount of energy to enter the cellular level. Neem and turmeric as a combination dilate the cellular structure of the body in such a way that it allows energy to enter and fill up every crevice. Neem and turmeric are a physical support towards that, but sadhana itself does it too.
You can generate enormous energy by means other than sadhana, such as stimulants – like a strong cup of coffee or nicotine – but it will not dilate the cellular structure and allow the energy to enter the system to be stored and released over a long period of time. When, instead of being stored, energy finds expression right there, it becomes destructive – not only for the body, but also for the mind, for the activity that you perform, and for the world around you. When we generate energy in the body, it is important that it does not simply burst out but that we are able to hold it and release it by choice.
Neem paste
The consumption of neem and turmeric with tepid, light honey water is a wonderful way of cleansing and dilating the cellular structure in such a way that it is able to absorb energy. When you do sadhana, the dilation brings flexibility to the muscles. The flexibility helps you to slowly build the system into a more powerful possibility. You will feel it – as you do your asanas, the body will crackle with a different kind of energy.
Sadhguru: Neem is a very unique tree and neem leaves are the most complex leaves on the planet. The neem tree has over 130 different biologically active compounds, and the neem leaf is one of the most complex leaves you can find on the planet.
#1 Anti-cancer benefits of neem
Consuming neem every day keeps the number of cancerous cells within a certain limit
Neem has many incredible medicinal benefits, but one of the most important things is, it kills cancerous cells. Everyone has cancerous cells in their body, but normally, they are disorganized. However, if you create certain situations in the body, they will get organized. As long as these cells are loafing around by themselves, it is not an issue. If they all gather in one place and hit it off, it becomes a problem. This is like a shift from petty crime to organized crime. It is a serious problem. If you consume neem every day, it keeps the number of cancerous cells in the body within a certain limit, so that they will not gang up against your system.
#2 Anti-bacterial benefits of neem
The world is full of bacteria. So is the body. There are more microorganisms living in you than you can imagine. Most of these bacteria are helpful. Without them, you would not be able to digest anything. In fact, you cannot exist without them. But some bacteria can cause you trouble. Your body constantly spends energy to manage these bacteria. If excess levels of bacteria occur, you will feel "down" because your defense mechanism has to spend too much energy to fight them. By using neem internally and externally, you can manage these bacteria in such a way that they will not overgrow, and your body will not have to spend too much energy in fighting them. If you consume a certain amount of neem on a daily basis, it will destroy the troublesome bacteria in the intestinal region, and your colon will generally remain clean and free of infection.
By using neem internally and externally, you can manage bacteria so that they will not overgrow
Also, if there is a slight smell in certain areas of the body, it means bacteria are a little more active there. Almost everyone has some minor skin issues but if you wash your body with neem, it becomes clean and radiant. If you rub your body with neem paste before having a bath, let it dry for some time, and then wash it off with water, it will act as a good antibacterial cleanser. Alternatively, you can soak a few neem leaves in water overnight and bathe with this water in the morning.
#3 Benefits of neem for yogic sadhana
Above all, neem generates heat in the body. This generation of heat is supportive for generating intense forms of energy within the system. Different qualities can be predominant in the body – two of these are sheeta and ushna, in traditional terms. The closest word for "sheeta" in English is "cold," but that is not exactly what it is. If your system moves towards sheeta, the mucus levels in the body will go up. Excess mucus in the system is linked to a variety of conditions, from the common cold and sinusitis to many other issues.
Neem generates heat in the body. This is supportive for generating intense forms of energy
For a hatha yogi, neem is particularly important because it keeps the body slightly oriented towards ushna. Ushna means you have some extra "fuel". For a sadhaka who explores unknown terrain, it is safer to carry an extra can of fuel, just in case your system needs that extra power. You want to keep the fire slightly higher than generally needed. If the body is in a condition of sheeta, you will not be capable of too much activity. But if you keep your body slightly on the ushna side, even if you travel, eat outside, or are exposed to whatever else, this extra fire in you will burn and handle these external influences. Neem is a big support in that direction.
Things to keep in mind
One thing to keep in mind is, when consumed in excess, neem will kill sperm cells. In the first four to five months of pregnancy, when the fetus is developing, pregnant women should not have neem. Neem does not cause any damage to the ovaries but it causes excess heat. When a woman has just conceived and there is too much heat in the body, she may lose the fetus. If a woman is planning to conceive, she should not consume neem because there will be excess heat, and the system will treat the baby like a foreign body.
If a woman is planning to conceive, she should not consume neem because there will be excess heat
If heat increases, certain changes will happen in the system – women will notice this more than men. In case this affects the normal process of the body, we bring the heat down to some extent, but we generally do not want to give up neem because for people who do sadhana, some amount of heat in the system is needed. Once they begin to have neem on a daily basis, some women may find that their menstrual cycles become shorter. In that case, just drink more water. If having more water alone is not sufficient to reduce the heat, add a piece of lemon or the juice of half a lemon to the water. If that is still not enough, have a glass of ash gourd juice, which is very cooling. Another option is castor oil. If you put some of it into your navel, at your anahata, at the pit of the throat, and behind the ears, it will instantly cool the system.Purchase in India.
10 Health Benefits of Ginger Root – The Wonder Spice
As the world's most widely cultivated spice, ginger may also be the world's most versatile, evidence-based natural health remedy. Numerous studies have been conducted on the medicinal benefits of this wonder spice for over 100 health conditions. It has a long history of use, and as a testimony to its numerous benefits, it remains a component of more than 50% of all traditional herbal remedies.
Ancient uses
Ginger was cultivated and used as a spice and medicine in India and China, before historical records even begin. The earliest medical texts of both countries extensively discuss the therapeutic uses of the spice, both in fresh and dried form.
Chinese texts from the fourth century BC describe ginger as a remedy for treating stomach issues, nausea, diarrhea, cholera, toothaches, bleeding and rheumatism. Chinese herbalists also use the herb to treat various respiratory conditions, including coughs and colds. In the fifth century, Chinese sailors were using ginger's vitamin C properties to treat scurvy on long voyages.
Ancient uses
Ginger was cultivated and used as a spice and medicine in India and China, before historical records even begin. The earliest medical texts of both countries extensively discuss the therapeutic uses of the spice, both in fresh and dried form.
Chinese texts from the fourth century BC describe ginger as a remedy for treating stomach issues, nausea, diarrhea, cholera, toothaches, bleeding and rheumatism. Chinese herbalists also use the herb to treat various respiratory conditions, including coughs and colds. In the fifth century, Chinese sailors were using ginger's vitamin C properties to treat scurvy on long voyages.
Long-hailed for its medicinal, therapeutic and culinary benefits in India, China and around the world, ginger continues to gain ground as a root for well-being.
In India, Ayurvedic texts consider ginger to be one of the most important herbs available, to the extent of describing it as an entire medicine chest in itself. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe ginger as a powerful digestive aid since it fuels digestive fire, whets the appetite, and clears the body's micro-circulatory channels. This helps to improve the assimilation and transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues. Ginger is also used in Ayurveda as a remedy for joint pain, nausea and motion sickness.
With such staggering benefits, it's no wonder the spice has been a staple in kitchens and medicine cabinets for over five thousand years. Moreover, it continues to prove to be an effective natural remedy for many modern diseases, described below.
Top Ten Therapeutic Benefits of Ginger
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#1 Popular Digestive Aid: Settles stomach issues
Ginger has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years by ancient cultures. Its carminative properties promote the elimination of intestinal gas to prevent bloating and flatulence, while its intestinal spasmolytic properties relax the gastrointestinal muscles to soothe an upset stomach.
Eating slices of ginger sprinkled with salt before meals can increase saliva flow to aid digestion and prevent stomach issues. It is also helpful to drink ginger tea after a large meal to reduce bloating and flatulence. If your stomach problems are more severe, you can also take ginger to help alleviate the various symptoms of food poisoning.
Ginger is frequently recommended to treat dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), provide relief from colic in children, and help in the treatment of bacteria-induced diarrhea.
#2 Therapy for nausea: Reduces motion sickness and more
Ginger is very good at subsiding various types of nausea and vomiting, including morning sickness in pregnant women, motion sickness in travellers, and even nausea in chemotherapy patients.
70% of patients who undergo chemotherapy report struggling with nausea, despite being given anti-emetics during treatment. A recent study on adult cancer patients found that supplementing a daily dose of 0.5 to 1 gram of ginger before chemo, significantly reduced the severity of acute nausea in 91% of the participants.
The herb also helps reduce the dizziness and nausea associated with vertigo. Research in this area indicates that the spice's therapeutic chemicals work in the brain and nervous system to control the effects of queasiness.
#3 Powerful anti-inflammatory: Reduces joint pain and relieves arthritis
Ginger contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol, which is the substance responsible for alleviating joint and muscle pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level. It shares pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, making it an effective treatment for both acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Many other scientific studies support the effectiveness of ginger for its pro-analgesic effect on the joints, particularly in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients suffering from osteoarthritis have also reported reduced pain and improved mobility by consuming ginger on a regular basis.
Research in Hong Kong suggests that massage therapy using an oil of ginger and orange seems to reduce short-term stiffness and pain in patients with knee issues.
Ginger can also reduce inflammation and muscle pain caused by exercise. In a study carried out by the University of Georgia, researchers administered raw and heat-treated ginger to two groups of 34 and 40 volunteers, over 11 consecutive days. The results, published in The Journal of Pain, concluded that daily use of ginger supplements relieved exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%.
#4 Provides Pain Relief: Soothes migraines and menstrual pain
Research has shown that ginger can provide pain relief from migraine headaches. A study performed in Iran and published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, found that ginger powder is as effective in treating migraine symptoms as sumatriptan – a common medication for the illness.
In the clinical trial, 100 migraine sufferers with acute symptoms were randomly selected to receive either sumatriptan or ginger powder. The researchers found that the efficacy of administering both were similar, while the adverse effects of ginger powder were less than sumatriptan – making it a safer remedy for migraines.
Ginger works on migraines by blocking prostaglandins, which stimulate muscle contractions, control inflammation in the blood vessels, and impact some hormones. Drinking ginger tea at the onset of a migraine attack stifles prostaglandins to block the unbearable pain, and stop the associated nausea and dizziness.
Ginger can also help women effectively reduce the pain associated with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). A research study in Iran divided 70 female students into two groups. One group was administered ginger capsules and the other was given a placebo – each for the first three days of their menstrual cycles. The researchers found that 82.85% of the women taking ginger capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms, compared to 47.05% of those on placebo.
Many cultures also pour fresh ginger juice on their skin to treat burns, and topical application of ginger oil has been found to be very effective in treating joint and back pain.
#5 Anti-tumor properties: Successful in killing cancer cell
Modern research has recently been looking to ginger as a potential remedy for various types of cancer, and has come up with some promising results.
One study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger not only killed ovarian cancer cells, it also prevented them from building up resistance to chemotherapy – a common issue in ovarian cancer patients.
In the study, researchers applied a solution of ginger powder and water to ovarian cancer cells. In each and every test, they found that the cancer cells died when they came into contact with the ginger solution. Each of the cells either committed suicide, which is known as apoptosis, or they attacked one another, which is referred to as autophagy.
Ginger has also been proven to effectively treat breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
Research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology discovered that chemicals from the ginger plant halted the proliferation of breast cancer cells, without affecting normal mammary cells. This property, known as selective cytotoxicity, is highly significant as it does not occur with conventional methods. And while many tumors respond well to chemotherapy treatment, breast cancer cells can be more difficult. They tend to survive and gain resistance to the treatment.
The use of natural remedies like ginger that are safe and can suppress growth of breast cancer cells is highly desirable. The other advantages of using ginger are that it is easy to administer in capsule form, it has few reported side effects, and it's a low-cost alternative to conventional drugs.
In 2011, a Georgia State University study set out to explore ginger's effects on prostate cancer, based on the herb's proven anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Their results, published in The British Journal of Nutrition, found that ginger extract killed cancer cells in the prostate without affecting any of the healthy cells.
Modern scientific evidence suggests that ginger can also reduce inflammation in the colon to potentially prevent colon cancer. In a University of Michigan study, researchers administered two grams of ginger root supplements or placebo to a group of 30 patients over 28 days. After 28 days, researchers found significant reductions in colon inflammation markers in patients that were assigned ginger root, making it an effective natural prevention method for those at risk of colon cancer.
Ginger compounds have also been studied to inhibit other forms of cancer, including rectal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, melanoma and pancreatic cancer. It's also interesting to note that beta-elemene – an anti-cancer pharmaceutical – is derived from ginger.
#6 Anti-diabetic compounds: Lowers blood sugar and increases insulin release
In the case of diabetes, studies have shown ginger to be effective both preventively and therapeutically.
Research at the University of Sydney in Australia found ginger to be effective in glycemic control for people with type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the Planta Medica journal, showed that ginger extracts can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin, therefore it may assist in the management of high blood sugar levels.
Another clinical trial concluded that diabetic patients, that consumed three grams of dry ginger for 30 days, had a significant reduction in blood glucose, triglyceride, and in total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Overall, ginger works on diabetes by increasing insulin release and sensitivity, inhibiting enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism, and improving lipid profiles. Ginger also has a very low glycemic index (GI), which means it breaks down slowly to form glucose, and therefore does not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels like high GI foods do.
Several other studies have also established ginger to have a preventive effect against diabetes complications. Ginger can protect a diabetic's liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and reduce the risk of cataracts – a common side-effect of the disease.
#7 Heals the heart: Treats a variety of cardiovascular conditions
High in potassium, manganese, chromium, magnesium and zinc, and famous for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been used for years to treat heart conditions.
In Chinese medicine, ginger's therapeutic properties were said to strengthen the heart, and ginger oil was often used to prevent and treat heart disease.
Modern studies indicate that the herb's compounds go to work by lowering cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, improving blood flow, and preventing blocked arteries and blood clots – all of which help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
#8 Relieves respiratory disorders: Effective in treating asthma
Ginger compounds have shown positive results in treating respiratory disorders, and research indicates it is a promising treatment for patients suffering from asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that occurs when the muscles in the lungs' oxygen channels become inflamed and sensitive to different substances that induce spasms.
Recent research published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, demonstrates that ginger works on treating asthma in two ways: first, by inhibiting the enzyme that constricts airway muscles, and second, by activating another enzyme that works to relax the airways.
Part of the reason ginger works is due to its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds, which have properties similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the negative side effects. While asthma can be a deadly disease, some of the medications used to treat asthma can also carry troubling side effects. Therefore, finding alternative, safe remedies like ginger, is a promising discovery in the treatment of this disease.
#9 Immunity-booster: Reduces coughs and colds
Ginger is a wonderful immune system booster, making it a well-known treatment for colds and flus. And since it helps calm symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, it also works on coughs, sore throats and bronchitis.
Ginger clears the micro-circulatory channels of the body, including the pesky sinuses that flare up during colds. Drinking ginger with lemon and honey is a popular cold and flu remedy that has been handed down for many generations, both in the east and the west.
Ginger also has thermogenic properties, so it can warm up the body in the cold and, more importantly, can promote healthy sweating. This type of sweating, which helps to detoxify the
body and assist in releasing cold symptoms, has also been shown to fight off bacterial and fungal infections.
Recent research in Germany found a potent germ-fighting agent contained in sweat which they named dermicidin. This is manufactured in the body's sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin's surface, where it works to provide protection against bacteria like E. coli and fungi like Candida albicans.
Best of all, ginger has concentrated active substances that are easily absorbed by the body, so you don't have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects.
#10 Potent Antioxidant: Slows down DNA damage
Many worldwide studies have found ginger to contain potent antioxidant properties, which help protect lipids from peroxidation (rancidity) and DNA damage.
Antioxidants are extremely important as they provide protection against free radicals, which helps reduce the various types of degenerative diseases that come with aging, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's and more.
While all spices are known to be powerful antioxidants, ginger seems to be extra-potent. It contains 25 different antioxidant properties on its own. This makes it effective at fighting a variety of free radicals, and in different areas of the body.
Ginger Components
Ginger is closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal. Similar to other plants, ginger is a very complex mixture of compounds, containing several hundred known constituents, including beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid and curcumin.
The pungency in ginger is derived from the principle compounds gingerol, shogaol and zingerone.
Gingerol is the active component in fresh ginger, and is related to capsaicin, which is the active component in chilli peppers. Zingerone – the least pungent compound – occurs when gingerol is cooked, while shogaol – which is twice as pungent – occurs when gingerol is dried.
Origin and Trade Routes
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Found extensively in the lush tropical jungles in South Asia, ginger is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent. The ginger plants that grow in India show the largest amount of genetic variation, implying that the plant has grown longest in that region.
Ginger was first exported from Asia in the first century AD along the lucrative Spice Route. It made its appearance in the Mediterranean over 2000 years ago with the Arab traders, who brought it to the Middle East then across to the Red Sea, where it was sold to the Greeks and Romans.
Records from ancient Rome show that imported ginger was taxed as it made its way ashore at Alexandria. With the fall of Rome, ginger and its uses were lost to most of Europe until the 11th century, when it made a comeback. It was desirable not only for its culinary benefits and medicinal properties, but also for its trade value.
By 1128, Marseilles started placing a tariff on ginger imports, followed by Paris in 1296. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep. By the 14th century, ginger had made its way around Europe, and became the most popular spice after black pepper.
By medieval times, ginger was being imported in preserved form to be used in sweets. Queen Elizabeth I of England was said to be very fond of the spice, and is accredited for the famous gingerbread men that are now customary at Christmas in Europe and North America.
The herb made its way from Europe to the New World with the Spanish Conquistadors, and later on, with the western European immigrants as they began to settle the Americas.
Ginger Production Today
Today, ginger is grown in tropical countries around the world and exported globally.
India remains the largest producer, consumer and exporter of the spice, with China close behind, followed by other Asian countries, including Nepal, Japan and Thailand.
The Caribbean islands are also known for their ginger production, especially Jamaica, where the quality of ginger is similar to that of the Indian plant.
South American countries such as Brazil, and African nations like Nigeria and Sierra Leone also cultivate the herb, along with Australia and Fiji, where it is grown on a smaller scale.
Some Things to Note
Ginger should not be given to children under the age of two·
In general, adults should not take more than 4 grams of ginger per day, including in cooking·
Pregnant women should not take more than 1 gram per day·
You can use dried or fresh ginger root to make ginger tea and drink that two to three times daily·
To reduce acute inflammation, you can massage the affected area with ginger oil a few times per day·
Ginger capsules are said to provide better benefits than other forms·
Ginger can interact with other medications, including blood thinners·
Always consult a doctor for ginger dosage information and potential side effects for specific issues·
Therapeutic Recipes
Ginger drinks
Brew #1: Helps purify the blood
Beat ginger and crush it to extract the juice. Leave the juice for 15 minutes in a glass container·
Leave the sedimentation, and store the clear juice in a refrigerator for 5-6 days·
Mix 2 tsp of this ginger juice with 2 tsp of honey, and consume it every morning on an empty stomach·
It can be consumed for 48 days once every 6 months·
Brew #2: Aids digestive issues
Wash fresh ginger and peel off the skin·
Cut ginger into small pieces, and soak it in honey in a wide-mouth glass bottle·
Cover the bottle mouth with a thin, white, cotton cloth, and keep in the sun for 12 days·
Consume 2-4 pieces daily in the morning and evening to get rid of any indigestion issues·
Brew #3: Reduces risk of colds
Mix 4 tsp of ginger juice, 4 tsp of honey and 2 tsp of lemon juice in a cup of warm water, and consume. This is a great remedy to reduce your susceptibility to colds.·
Ginger-Lemon Tea
This healthy tea recipe will leave you feeling fresh and invigorated, without the side effects of caffeine.
Boil 4.5 cups of water in a saucepan·
As the water boils, crush a 2-inch piec·e of fresh ginger with about 25 – 30 Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves
Add the paste to the boiling water, along with 2 tsp of dried coriander seeds (optional)·
Continue to boil for 2 – 3 minutes·
Strain the tea into cups and add 1 tsp of lime juice and jaggery to taste. Serve hot!·
Watermelon-Ginger-Mint Cooler
Here's a "cool" recipe with ginger, honey and watermelon that can be a great boon during the summer months.
A quarter of a watermelon·
1-inch piece of ginger·
¼ cup fresh mint leaves·
Salt to taste·
Black pepper powder to taste·
3 Tbsp of honey·
Peel the watermelon, deseed, and chop roughly·
Toss the watermelon pieces into the jar of a blender·
Peel ginger, crush and add to the jar·
Add the mint leaves, salt, pepper powder, and honey·
Blend everything together until smooth, then pass the contents through a strainer·
Pour the juice into glasses and serve·
Ginger-Broccoli Slaw Recipe
Here's a wonderful video recipe of a healthy, zesty salad that combines the benefits of ginger with broccoli.
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