By Nancy Tang; First Year Co-Chair
Growing up in an Asian family, ginger was one of my family’s go-to natural remedies in the place of medicines or pills. Whenever I got sick, my mom would make ginger soup for me. Since I also suffer from severe motion sickness, I was taught to drink real ginger ale or ginger tea before flights to help with my nausea.
Being in pharmacy school now and having grown up in an environment that valued traditional Chinese medicine and natural/herbal remedies, I was interested in furthering my understanding of alternative medicines, especially the proven and researched methods and benefits of ginger.
Ginger has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting because of many different causes, including motion sickness, chemotherapy treatments, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, morning sickness and more. A review of 12 studies on ginger that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, it was revealed that 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly improve symptoms of nausea.
There are many other uses for ginger, as it is an effective antidote for pain and inflammation, used for managing arthritis, headaches and menstrual cramps. Some research has compared the effectiveness of ginger to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. Moreover, ginger has a warming effect that stimulates circulation and it can also help reduce gas and painful spasms.
Ginger can be taken in teas, soups, or capsule form. Note that if you want to drink ginger ale or other ginger beverages, check the ingredients to make sure that it is made from real ginger. There has also been evidence of people pouring fresh ginger juice to treat burns, relieve pain and to prevent insect bites.
Ginger is regarded as a generally safe nonpharmacological option with little harmful side effects, independent of the form in which it is used. However, if you have concerns about using ginger, make sure to consult your doctor first.
To make your own boiled ginger, slice about 1 cup of ginger thinly and boil it in 8 cups of water for about 25 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to 5 cups of water. You can also add and boil peppermint leaves with the solution. Finish by straining out the ginger; if you like, add honey to the tea for a sweeter taste. Drink hot or cold and enjoy the many benefits of using this natural (and delicious) spice!