Around the holidays, or anytime you’ve over-indulged, consider sweet and zesty ginger for nourishing the digestive organs. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a knobby, horn-shaped rhizome with a long history of supporting metabolism, aiding digestion and reducing inflammation. It helps heal upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, motion sickness, and morning sickness.

Current research indicates that ginger stimulates the production of enzymes in saliva and along digestive pathways. Biologically active compounds in ginger bind to receptors in the digestive tract, which seems to be instrumental in minimizing the sensations that create nausea and indigestion. Ginger also plays a role in the breakdown of starches and fatty food. All good things when your tummy has gone sour.

There are many fresh and dried preparations for ginger including tincture, extracts and capsules prepared in different strengths; consult with a holistic physician to determine your medicinal needs.

Ginger is also available as a “chew” or lozenges and tea infusions, all of which are ideal for upset stomach. Don’t forget to try a cup of homemade Ginger Ale, enjoyed with a side of Gingerbread, both prepared with a freshly grated ginger rhizome.

Resources

Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015) p.186. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants.(2012) p.140; 158-160. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “Ginger” Accessed October 4, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72
Borrelli F, Capasso R, Aviello G, Pittler MH, Izzo AA. “Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.” Obstet Gynecol. (2005) Apr;105(4):849-56. PMID:15802416
Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003.
University of Michigan Health System. “Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers.” University of Michigan Health System, 11 October 2011. http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/ginger-cancer-1011
Homemade Ginger Ale: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/homemade-ginger-ale-358033
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