Herbal Arsenal: Ginger for Nausea, Menstrual Cramps and Digestion

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Ginger is a staple in my medicine cabinet. Used for more than 2,000 years in China to treat stomach ailments, ginger still has a place in my world.

Nausea: Ginger is a natural remedy for reducing nausea, whether it comes from motion sickness or pregnancy. Ginger increases fluid in the stomach, neutralizing stomach acids. Phenols in this herb also help to relax muscles around the stomach.

For nausea relief, take ginger capsules, chew on a piece of fresh ginger, sip on ginger ale (make sure it’s made with real ginger!) or eat a piece of candied ginger.

Ginger comes in many forms, including fresh and candied. Photo By FotoosVanRobin/Courtesy Flickr.

Menstrual Cramps: Need relief from the pain of menstrual cramping? A 2009 study found that women who took ginger during their period experienced pain relief equal to that of taking ibuprofen. Ginger’s warming properties increase circulation, relaxing muscles and lessening menstrual cramps. These same properties make it beneficial for treating other cramped, tired or aching muscles.

For cramps, drink a cup of ginger tea; the warmth from the liquid will also help to relax the abdominal muscles. For tired and aching muscles, soak in a warm tub filled with freshly grated ginger, and for muscles that need extra attention (back strains, sprains and bruises), try this ginger compress from The Herb Companion

Digestion: Ginger regulates elevated sugar levels in the stomach, helping it to return to a normal rhythm.

Other uses: Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties help it fight the flu and ease arthritis pain. Various studies have also shown that ginger may help lower cholesterol and prevent blood clotting, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

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