Ginger was cultivated and used as a spice and medicine in India and China, before historical records even begin. The earliest medical texts of both countries extensively discuss the therapeutic uses of the spice, both in fresh and dried form.
Chinese texts from the fourth century BC describe ginger as a remedy for treating stomach issues, nausea, diarrhea, cholera, toothaches, bleeding and rheumatism. Chinese herbalists also use the herb to treat various respiratory conditions, including coughs and colds. In the fifth century, Chinese sailors were using ginger’s vitamin C properties to treat scurvy on long voyages.
In India, Ayurvedic texts consider ginger to be one of the most important herbs available, to the extent of describing it as an entire medicine chest in itself. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe ginger as a powerful digestive aid since it fuels digestive fire, whets the appetite, and clears the body’s micro-circulatory channels. This helps to improve the assimilation and transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues. Ginger is also used in Ayurveda as a remedy for joint pain, nausea and motion sickness.
With such staggering benefits, it’s no wonder the spice has been a staple in kitchens and medicine cabinets for over five thousand years. Moreover, it continues to prove to be an effective natural remedy for many modern diseases, described below.