In our home, my husband, Curt, is our baker and cookies are his specialty! When we were first dating, he swept me off my feet with his chocolate chip cookies! Now, each Christmas, our daughters look forward to his homemade gingerbread houses and trees. While the girls love decorating and eating their creations, I love the smell of ginger that fills our home.
Ginger, an herb that originated in Asia and India, is a popular aromatherapy fragrance. It’s scent may help increase energy and decrease congestion. No wonder why it is a popular ingredient in so many recipes used during the Holiday season. We all need extra energy to keep us moving and colds are pretty common this time of year. Ginger tea can be used to treat colds, fevers, and coughs. Easily make your own by boiling the rhizome (rootstalk) for 20 minutes.
There is no doubt that ginger adds flavor to so many foods, but what else does ginger have to offer?
Ginger has a soothing effect when it comes to nausea and vertigo. I remember going through so many gingersnap cookies when I was pregnant and when it comes to digestive issues, ginger ale is often a home remedy. It is the ginger’s antioxidant, 6-gingerol, that we can thank for helping us feel better.
While results vary when it comes to motion sickness, I took ginger tablets while on a four-day catamaran cruise in Australia. Let me tell you, I felt great! The last day of the cruise, I decided to see what happened if I didn’t take the ginger. Bad move! My motion sickness returned and I could not wait to get my feet on solid land! Recently, my friend, Lisa, gave me a bag of Gin-Gins hard ginger candy (Ginger People Group). She’s not a huge fan of the peppery taste, but I love it!! Since I get motion sickness pretty easily, I am going to make sure I have a bag or two of these for our road trip to Disney this weekend. They are a bit spicy, so if you try them, just be prepared.
There is speculation that the anti-inflammatory effect of the gingerols may aid in the treatment of arthritis, headaches, and ease muscular pain after exercise. Ginger has also been know to relieve menstrual cramps.
Animal studies suggest that ginger aids in the control of blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight gain. It’s effect on blood clots and Alzheimer’s disease is also being researched in animals. Results suggest a positive relationship; however, more research, including human studies, is needed to be certain.
This week, Becki posted a recipe for White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies in her Christmas Cookie Roundup. Whether you need these cookies to help with nausea, experiment to see if they work on your headache, or just want a delicious ginger treat, try the recipe! You will love it!
I feel obligated to remind those that are pregnant to check with their doctor if they are planning on using supplemental ginger during their pregnancy. As with anything, including herbs, too much of a good thing can have negative side effects. More than 5 grams a day can cause an increase of common ginger side effects such as bloating, heartburn, mouth irritation and skin rashes.
On that note…
Have fun getting ready for the Holidays. It is such a busy time of year, but remember to take time to smell the ginger.
Stay tuned, stay healthy, and stay Pretty in the Peak!
Marianne Lindgren, MS, RD
Resources and further reading:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/exploring-aromatics
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/health/18really.html