From the ancient Chinese and the Romans, to mothers of poorly children worldwide, for thousands of years now ginger has been used as a spice and a medicine. Although it is commonly described as a root, it is in fact a rhizome, a stem that grows out from the plant underground, and from which small roots will sprout, as well as new green shoots.
Ginger’s most well-known medicinal use is as a digestive-aid, to relieve tummy pain, nausea and diarrhoea, as well as morning sickness and travel sickness. This is thought to be because of the spice’s high levels of gingerol; a powerful component that gives it its natural zingy flavour, and which acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body.
Have a look at what else ginger can do for your health
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are thought to provide pain relief in a number of ways, from halting migraines in their tracks, to easing the aches of arthritis.
Studies have started showing really exciting results on the effect ginger has on ovarian cancer: Although more research is needed, it seems that ginger has the ability to eliminate cancerous ovarian cells. It also seems to dramatically slow the progress of bowel cancer; encouraging news indeed!
Were you spoon-fed ginger ale as a child when you had the flu? If you were, Mum had the right idea, as ginger is shown to have a boosting effect on the immune-system, making you better faster.