Sunday, January 29, 2006

Today is celebrated as Chinese New Year, so I thought it would be appropriate to talk about Ginger, an essential ingredient in much of Chinese cooking as well as one of the most frequently used herbs in many traditional Chinese herbal remedies.

Ginger is also used in other traditions, both in cooking and as medicinally, I do not mean to imply it is only used in Chinese remedies.

Many traditional Chinese remedies include Ginger in their formulae, often along with another herb, jujube dates. According to tradition, these two herbs harmonise the other ingredients in a formula (or recipe) and make them more absorbable, and so more effective.

Ginger is also traditionally used for nausea and vomiting, andc has been shown, in some studies to be as effective as spme over the counter remedies for motion sickness. (I feel I should point out that there are also studies that say it has little effect; if you suffer from motion sickness, try it and see if it works for you.) Traditionally, the fresh root is considered more effective for nausea, and that has been my experience.

Use caution with ginger if you have stomach ulcers, as some research has shown that it seems to increase acid secretion in the stomach, and can increase problems associated with ulcers.

Some herbalists say you should not use ginger if you are pregnant, others say it is perfectly safe, and even suggest ginger as a remedy for morning sickness. My advice is that if you are pregnant or nursing, don't take any herbs, over the counter remedies or supplements without discussing it with your doctor.

Some recent studies have shown Ginger to be an effective remedy for nausea resulting from chemotherapy, but it should only be used in this situation with your doctor's approval.

Ginger has also been traditionally used to stimulate circulation, both taken internally, and as a bath or compress externally. Ginger is a diaphoretic, a big word that means it makes you sweat.

Ginger also helps coughing and chronic bronchitis, also seems to help break up mucus in the respiratory system, and help it discharge.

Ginger also has an anti inflammatory effect, and some herbalists recommend it as a safer alternative for non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAD's or NSAID's). It takes longer to have an effect, but seems to have fewer long term side effects. (Iif you are taking medication at the direction of your doctor, do not stop without first checking with your doctor.)

That's it for now, back soon.

The material presented in this blog is for informational use only and should in no way be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you need medical care, please consult the appropriate medical professional. And please discuss with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any herbal preparations.

No comments: