When I was a child, I remember my mother giving me ginger ale as a home remedy for stomachaches and diarrhea. Not only was this folk medicine handed down through the generations, but doctors also recommend ginger ale to patients with an upset stomach.
I was recently disappointed to find out this is a myth. This seemed odd since several scientific studies have suggested home remedies with ginger reduce nausea. Not to mention, ginger has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat digestive issues. The truth is, most brands of ginger ale have little, if any, real ginger in them. Commercially produced ginger snap cookies aren’t much better. It only makes sense that if we want home remedies with ginger to be effective, they actually have to contain real ginger.
Creative Ways to Use Ginger Root
Once I got over my disappointment that ginger ale and ginger snap cookies wouldn’t work as a home remedy for stomachaches and digestive issues, I looked for ways to use ginger root. Here are a few tasty ways to consume fresh ginger root:
- Ginger beer – This mildly alcoholic beverage is one of my husband’s favorites. Brewed like beer, it has a zingy flavor and natural effervescence.
- Ginger tea – For an alcohol-free drink, brew thinly sliced fresh ginger root in hot water for a tasty beverage which can be served hot or cold. Add lemon, lime, or honey as desired.
- Candied ginger – Full of aromatic flavor and sweetened with sugar, homemade ginger candy is my favorite way to acquire all the benefits of ginger root.
- Spice – Used to accent the flavor of food, fresh ginger root can be added to stir fries, roasts, vegetable dishes, and desserts.
- Pickled ginger – Served as an accompaniment with sushi, pickled ginger is used to cleanse the palate between types of these fish-based entrees.
What are the Benefits of Ginger Root?
Native to China, ginger is an herbaceous flowering plant well-known for its rhizomatous root. Traditionally used as a spice and in folk remedies, ginger root contains Gingerol. This compound acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Home remedies with ginger go far beyond soothing the stomach:
- Reduces nausea – Compounds in ginger root break up gas which can calm an upset stomach. Sailors have used ginger root to overcome seasickness and cancer patients may find it reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy.
- Fights germs – Ginger root’s germ-fighting properties can prevent oral bacteria from growing, thus reducing periodontal disease. Studies also indicate ginger root can halt the growth of other bacteria, like E. coli and may be effective against the RSV virus.
- Heart healthy – From lowering bad cholesterol to improving blood sugar levels, ginger root is believed to have key compounds which keep our cardiac systems running smoothly. Loaded with antioxidants, ginger root prevents oxidative stress which can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
- Eases musculoskeletal pain – Anti-inflammatory compounds found in ginger root reduces swelling, which can lessen joint pain associated with arthritis. Consuming ginger root regularly may also reduce exercise induced muscle aches.