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Better Nutrition (1989-90)

Ginger alleviates many health problems

Ginger alleviates many health problems – column

Frank Murray

Ginger Alleviates Many Health Problems

Medicinal plants provide an abundance of natural products that may be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, according to several papers read at the Third Interscience World Conference on Inflammation, held earlier this year in Monte Carlo.

Of the four plants discussed, only ginger is readily available over-the-counter. The other three were Tripterygium wilfordii Hook (also known as yellow vine and Thunder God vine), presently studied in China; the bark of Dysoxylum binectariferum, an Indian tree; and a peat product that is derived from vegetation in bogs in Poland.

Krishna C. Srivastava, M.D., of the Institute of Odense in Denmark said that seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis reported significant relief after ingesting ginger for three months, according to Medical Tribune.

The knobby rhizome or underground stem of ginger is prized as one of the world’s oldest and best known medicinal spices. In Japan a ginger-oil massage has long been a traditional treatment for spinal and joint problems. In China the pungent tang of ginger tea has been prescribed for colds, coughs, flu and hangovers.

Other herbalists have recommended hot ginger compresses and baths for relieving gout, arthritis, headaches and spinal pain.

Modern medicine recognizes many of the spice’s time-honored virtues. It is known to be a rubefacient, reddening the skin by stimulating the flow of blood to a given area, and this property accounts for much of its ability to ease soreness. It also rids the stomach and intestines of gas and aids in the digestion of fatty foods.

In a study involving 36 students who were susceptible to motion sickness, ginger was superior to Dramamine in reducing the complications of vertigo, according to Daniel B. Mowrey of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, and Dennis E. Clayson, Mount Union College, Alliance, Ohio.

“The aromatic and carminative properties of ginger and its possible absorbent properties suggest that ginger ameliorates the effects of motion sickness in the gastrointestinal tract itself,” the researchers reported in The Lancet. “It may increase gastric motility and absorb neutralizing toxins and acids, effectively blocking reactions and subsequent nausea feedback.”

Michael Reed Gach, author of Arthritis Relief at Your Fingertips, reported that ginger, sauteed onions and burdock root help to improve circulation. If you do not have a health problem that ginger may alleviate, you can still enjoy this popular spice in many wonderful dishes.

PHOTO : Formerly editor of Better Nutrition and Today’s Living, Frank Murray is now a contributing

PHOTO : editor in their New York office. His latest book, Happy Feet: For Joggers, Runners and

PHOTO : Walkers, will be published soon by Keats Publishing Inc., New Canaan, Conn.

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