Ginger is most often used in a dried, ground form that is usually available in the spice section of grocery stores. Though most people associate ginger with cooking and spicy foods, the health benefits of ginger are believed to be numerous. It is a favorite of many herbal practitioners, and can be purchased in capsule form at most health food stores. The primary health benefits of ginger are believed to be its anti-inflammatory properties and gastrointestinal relief.
Double blind studies seemed to indicate that ginger might be effective in relieving several types of stomach distress. In addition to gas relief, ginger may also reduce nausea, especially in conditions such as seasickness and motion sickness. The results of the studies seemed to indicate that many symptoms associated with these condition were significantly diminished when using ginger as a treatment. In addition to nausea relief, ginger apparently relieved symptoms such as cold sweats, headache, and vertigo.
An April 2005 issue of the medical publication "Obstetrics and Gynecology" reported that ginger brought measurable relief of vomiting in women who were pregnant. Roughly 70% of the women who participated in the study experienced a marked decrease in occurrences of vomiting, and the severity of the episodes. The study also found that ginger may be safer than many of the anti-vomiting medications commonly prescribed during pregnancy. The study quoted in the magazine claimed that ginger did not cause any difficulties with the pregnancies or deliveries, and did not appear to have any adverse effects on the fetus. It is generally accepted that no two pregnancies are the same, so women should probably consult with their own physician before taking any medication or supplements.
Another study reported in the medical journal "Osteoarthritis Cartilage" highlighted the health benefits of ginger in association with pain and swelling due to arthritis. The study involved 29 patients, and more than 75% of them responded well to treatment using ginger. According to the study, arthritic swelling and pain were both significantly reduced. Most researchers believed that the anti-inflammatory health benefits of ginger are due to compounds called gingerols.
The research devoted to the health benefits of ginger is somewhat slim, and may not be conclusive. People who suffer gastrointestinal problems or inflammation may want to check with their physicians for professional advice. There does not appear to be any known serious side effects associated with ginger, but people who are already taking medication for their condition should be sure that ginger would not cause any dangerous interaction.