Throughout history, ginger has been used as a remedy for all sorts of maladies and illnesses. Many assume ginger ale and ginger beer, because they are made with ginger, carry the same benefits. Is this the case, or has modern soda-making techniques eliminated the benefits of ginger ale and ginger beer?
Ginger For Digestive Problems
For centuries, ginger has been used by Asian cultures as a remedy for digestive problems. Nausea, gas and indigestion are all ailments that have been treated by eating ginger. In a recent issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a study showed ginger helped ease morning sickness in pregnant women.
Ginger as an Anti-Inflammatory
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger root is full of a compound called gingerol, which research has shown has anti-inflammatory properties. Gingerol has also shown some efficacy as an analgesic, particularly for arthritis patients.
Ginger and Cancer
There has even been research showing ginger kills ovarian cancer cells. In addition, ovarian cancer cells do not appear to develop a resistance as they do with some cancer drugs. More research is needed to confirm the benefits of ginger, and to determine if there may be benefits with other forms of cancer. The outlook is promising so far.
How To Use Ginger
You do not have to buy ginger in pill form to enjoy the health benefits. Buy a fresh ginger root and use it in your cooking to get the benefits. Look online for a few recipes or just slice it up and add it to your salad.
Does Ginger Beer Do The Trick?
This depends on the method used to produce the ginger beer or ale. Modern ginger beer or ale typically does not contain the amount of ginger necessary to provide much benefit. In fact, most store-bought ginger beers and ales contain no actual ginger, just ginger flavoring. Some brands are made with real ginger however (as much as 25 grams per bottle). Those can typically be found in health food stores.
Making Your Own Ginger Ale
Making your own ginger ale is easier than you may think. Here is a simple recipe that makes a delicious drink:
Steep one cup of finely chopped ginger in two cups of water for five minutes. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes, then strain to get the ginger pieces out.
Prepare a simple syrup of one cup sugar to one cup of boiling water. Once the sugar is dissolved, set this aside.
Mix 1/2 cup of ginger water, 1/3 cup of simple syrup and 1/2 cup of club soda. Squeeze a wedge of lime for flavor and enjoy. If you prefer ginger beer, add more ginger to the ginger water or decrease the amount of simple syrup in the glass.
References and ResourcesObstetrics & Gynecology
National Institutes of Health
Ginger For Health Benefits