The root of the ginger plant is not only valued for its flavor but also its healing qualities. It is most recognized for its ability to treat digestive complaints such as nausea, dizziness, indigestion and flatulence.
Research has shown that some chemicals in ginger, such as gingerols and shogaols, increase digestive juices and neutralize stomach acids. This can provide relief for a host of conditions including motion sickness, post-operative nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy (do not use for morning sickness, though). In fact, powdered ginger may be a more effective anti-nausea treatment than some commercial medications, without the drowsy side effects.
Ginger has also been used as a topical anti-inflammatory remedy, alleviating aches and pains associated with arthritis. Folk medicine has used crushed gingerroot as a topical agent to treat minor burns. Some studies suggest it may be an effective migraine headache treatment, plus there has been some success in using ginger to treat allergies and colds, as well.
This spice can be eaten fresh from the root, consumed as a tea, eaten as crystallized candy, rubbed on as oil or taken in capsule or tablet form.