Ginger is well known for its natural healing properties, and recent research has found this root to be effective for reducing the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, and the pain associated with menstruation.
Researchers took sixty-seven women who suffered from nausea and vomiting as a result of pregnancy, and randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. The experimental group received 250 mg capsules of ginger to be taken four times a day for four days, and the control group received placebos with the same prescriptive form and direction. Effects of treatment for nausea were evaluated twice daily. The ginger users demonstrated a higher rate of improvement compared to the placebo users (85% versus 56%). The decrease in vomiting times among ginger uses was also significantly greater than among the women who received the placebo (50% versus 9%).
Research paper details:
Ginger relieves menstrual pain as effectively as drugs
Another study compared the effects of ginger, ibuprofen, and mefenamic acid (another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID typically used for pain relief) on women with primary dysmenorrhea, also known as menstrual pain. This was a double blind comparative clinical trial conducted over a six months, with 150 participants divided into three equal groups. One group took 250 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days from the start of their menstrual periods, and members of the other groups received 250 mg mefenamic acid capsules or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules.
Severity of disease, pain relief, and satisfaction with treatment were compared between the groups after one menstruation period. At the end of treatment, severity of pain and discomfort decreased in all groups and no differences were found between the groups in degree of pain relief or satisfaction with the treatment. No severe side effects occurred. The scientists concluded that "ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrheal."
Research paper details:
Giti Ozgoli, Marjan Goli, Fariborz Moattar. Comparison of Effects of ginger, Mefenamic acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea. Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine. February 2009, 15(2): 129-132. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0311.
Ginger has many other benefits
Ginger is used as both a medicinal spice and cooking ingredient. It contains volatile, warming oils that have potent antiseptic and expectorant properties, making it useful for cold relief and bronchial infections. Try a tea made from hot water poured over grated fresh ginger.
The warming effects of ginger also promote detoxification of the body by increasing sweat. Its powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients are associated with relieving the pain of arthritis, and its active ingredients, gingerols, have shown to kill cancer cells.
The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his "Prophetic Medicine" described the many benefits of ginger on the body, including being warming and aiding digestion, and mentioned that when taken with sugar in hot water it dissolved phlegm and mucous.
Fresh ginger is always best
Choose fresh ginger over dried and ground form whenever possible. Fresh ginger is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of antioxidants such as gingerol that inhibit inflammation. Unpeeled fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for about three weeks.