One of the better known culinary herbal health boosters is ginger, which has long been used in many societies as a healing medicine as well as a great addition to tasty meals.
The Chinese use ginger to cure many ailments and the ancient Greeks were also known to make use of its healing powers, indeed Pythagorus was known as a great supporter and user.
Today, we know that ginger has some extremely useful healing properties.
Motion Sickness Relief
The Phytotherapy Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City conducted a study on motion sickness by spinning motion sickness-prone students, divided into two groups.
The first group was given the propriety motion sickness drug Dramamine, while the other group was given ginger.
The results of the study found that the group given the ginger was able to withstand the full six minute spin with less nausea and dizziness, while the other group stopped the ride within four and a half minutes.
Japanese researchers believe the gingerols found in ginger may be the active ingredients responsible for blocking the body's reflex to vomit.
One quarter of a teaspoon taken 20 minutes before a car or boat journey you should last for about 4 hours.
Alternatively, it can be cut into slices and boiling water poured over it to make a delicious ginger tea. Put some in a thermos flask and take it with you to ensure prolonged relief.
Researchers in Denmark have discovered that ginger can block the effects of prostaglandins, substances that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain leading to migraines.
Results are still experimental, but one third of a teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger taken when you feel a migraine coming on can help stop pain before it starts.
Ginger has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, producing marked relief in arthritis pain.
Using the ginger tea as above or half a teaspoon of ginger is the recommended dose by Danish researchers for arthritis relief.
Preventing Blood Clots
It has been discovered by a researcher at Cornell University Medical College that ginger has an effect on blood clots similar to that of aspirin.
Similarly it appears that high cholesterol levels are lowered using the same active ingredient: thromboxane.
Ginger is also a digestive aid so can be safely added to cooking. It also gives bland food a real zest!
Ginger tea can be taken with honey and lemon to help combat colds and flu, working as a mild decongestant and loosening catarrh.
It's natural warming action helps the body to sweat so you must remember to keep wrapped up against the cold.
As fresh ginger is not always available in shops, keep a large piece of the root in the freezer and use it in cooking by simply grating it with a fine cheese grater while still frozen, then return whatever is left to the freezer for another day!