In India, ginger is called the “universal spice” because of its many health benefits, and because it balances all body types.
Ginger was used medicinally in ancient China, India, and Rome. As the demand for ginger grew, it was soon being cultivated all over the world.
In Ayurveda, ginger was most commonly used to support and strengthen digestion and quell inflammation.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, if you balance digestion, you prevent 85% of all disease.
In the past few years, ginger along with its active constituent, gingerol, has been linked to numerous health benefits:
Motion Sickness and Nausea
Numerous studies have been done with beginner sailors and motion sickness. Sailors who took powdered ginger were half as likely to get motion sickness compared to those who took a placebo.
Similar studies have shown that pregnant women who took ginger were less likely to experience morning sickness (1).
Perhaps the holy grail of ginger is its reputation for pain and inflammation support. Studies consistently show that when groups with muscular discomfort or joint pain eat ginger, they show a reduction in pain (1).
Supports Healthy Colon Cells
In one study, mice were injected with both ginger and colon cancer cells three times a week. By the end of the study, the control group who didn’t get the ginger but did get the colon cancer cells developed 13 tumors and the group that got both the ginger and the cancer cells only developed 4 tumors (1).
Supports Healthy Cell Replication
In one study, ginger was shown to induce apoptosis—the programmed cell death and autophagocytosis, or auto-digestion—of ovarian cancer cells (1).
After a thorough review of the research on ginger, it would be difficult not to be well motivated to include this universal spice in your diet. While dried ginger works well, fresh ginger root contains more gingerol and is therefore considered more effective than the dry power.
Robin Gettleman. Ginger – Good for what ails you. Life Extension Magazine. March 2011