Masala chai is by far my favorite tea. The spices used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, saffron, rose, fennel, peppercorn, and star anise. Indian chai produces a warming, soothing effect; it acts as a natural digestive aid and gives me a wonderful sense of well-being.
My conversation is not about tea, it’s really about the health benefits of ginger. After drinking Masala Chai every day, for about a month, I noticed that my digestive system improved remarkably! I started researching the different spices in Masala Chai and I found ginger’s health benefits are extraordinary.
Medical studies show whether one is addressing a simple tummy ache or morning sickness, ginger has been used for thousands of years as an effective digestive aid and natural remedy for nausea. Ginger also helps people who are bloated, constipated and has other gastrointestinal disorders; it relaxes the smooth muscle in your gut lining and helps food move along throughout the system. Ginger also aids in the assimilation of nutrients in your food, therefore promoting regular digestion which supports a strong immune system.
Ayurvedic medicine, the 3,000 year old belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit, has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.
The Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials published a study in 2011 that tested just how effective ginger is in enhancing immune function. Comparing the ability of ginger to kill Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes with conventional antibiotics, Nigerian researchers discovered that the natural solution won every time! Note: If you ever need to go to the hospital for surgery or to visit a friend, make sure you bring some ginger essential oil with you and add a couple drops to your water. You’re less likely to get a dangerous staph infection, and it can help speed the healing process! Other healing remedies that are effective against infections include oregano oil, clove oil and melaleuca oil.
Gingerols are widely known to naturally improve diabetes and enhance insulin sensitivity. Building off this knowledge, a 2006 study out of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry discovered that they could also suppress sorbitol accumulation in human blood cells and sugar-fed rats. Simply put, ginger not only helps prevent and reverse diabetes itself — it protects against and improves diabetic complications like diabetic retinopathy!
Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds; these substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn't, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.
Research reveals that ginger causes cancer cells to commit suicide! Numerous studies are confirming that ginger extract has anti-metastatic properties that inhibit many types of cancer, including breast, colon, rectal, liver, lung, prostate, pancreatic, and melanoma.
The anticancer properties of ginger have been found to activate molecular mechanisms that cause cell apoptosis (cell suicide) in cancer cells by activating a pro-apoptosis gene. Compounds within ginger also down-regulate the genes and proteins associated with cancer while increasing cancer inhibitors.
Ginger root can be eaten fresh, dried, powdered, or in oil or juice form. This fragrant spice is produced most widely in India, Indonesia, Fiji, Australia and Jamaica, but it is widely available around the world.
There are 115 different chemical components found in ginger root; with all of this information above, there are many reasons to add ginger in your diet. There are different forms and ways you can use ginger to benefit for your health. The most common forms of ginger include:
Raw Ginger — Put raw sliced ginger (the size of your thumb) in a smoothie every morning or use it in making homemade juice.
Ginger Essential Oil — The most potent form of ginger is ginger essential oil because it contains the highest levels of Gingerol. This is the No. 1 way ginger can be used as medicine. It can be taken internally to treat health conditions or rubbed topically with a carrier oil on an area of pain. Typically, two to three drops of essential oil is the recommended therapeutic dose.
Ginger Tea — This liquid form of ginger is commonly used to relieve nausea, settles the stomach and relaxes the body. Have one cup two to three times daily to reduce inflammation. Also, adding a bit of raw honey and lemon to the tea makes it taste great!
Ginger Powder — Using ground ginger powder for cooking is an excellent way to take advantage of this super spice. Also, it can be taken in supplement form as a capsule with the recommended dose of 1,000 milligrams daily.
© Contributions from: Dr. Axe, whfoods.org and naturalhealth365.com