African Ginger
Siphonochilus aethiopicus elite chemotype

Introduction:
This rare southern African plant, is an ancient traditional herb regarded as Africa’s best natural anti-inflammatory remedy, and it has many other uses:

  • Headaches
  • Influenza
  • Mild asthma
  • Sinusitis and throat infections
  • PMS, Menstrual cramps
  • Candida albicans, trush
  • Mild sedative
  • Mood swings and hysteria
  • Colds, flu & coughs

Other beneficial uses:

  • Ginger is an excellent remedy for digestive complaints (indigestion, nausea, gas, colic and congestion)
  • Ginger's antiseptic qualities make it highly beneficial for gastro-intestinal infections
  • Circulatory stimulant - stimulates the circulation making it an important remedy for chilblains and poor circulation. By improving the circulation, ginger helps reducing high blood pressure
  • Ginger also increases sweating and helps reduce body temperature in fevers
  • Ginger helps to "thin" the blood as well as to lower cholesterol
  • Ginger is useful as a supplement for heartburn & halitosis (bad breath)
  • This herb is known to relieve vomiting and to sooth the stomach and spleen in the process
  • Ginger is a warm vascular stimulant and body cleanser. It encourages the removal of toxins through the skin, and through increased kidney filtration
  • Ginger relieves motion sickness and morning sickness

General Information:
This herb has a long history of use in African traditional medicine for a range of conditions including headaches, Influenza, mild asthma, sinusitis, throat infections, thrush, candida, premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps.

The root or rhizome is the part used, and comes to market in jointed branches called races or hands. The smell of ginger is aromatic and penetrating, the taste spicy, pungent, hot and biting.

African Ginger is a deciduous plant with large, hairless leaves, developing annually from a small, distinctive cone-shaped rhizome. The spectacular flowers appear at ground level in early summer. Because of its medicinal uses it has been over-harvested and has a restricted distribution in Mpumalanga and the Northern Province and has become extinct in Kwa Zulu Natal.

Ginger has a stimulating effect on the heart and circulation, creating a feeling of warmth and well-being and restoring vitality, especially for those feeling the cold in winter. Hot ginger tea promotes perspiration, brings down a fever and helps to clear catarrh. Ginger has a stimulating and expectorant action in the lungs, expelling phlegm and relieving catarrhal coughs and chest infections. Ginger is a wonderful aid to digestion. It invigorates the stomach and intestines, stimulating the appetite and enhancing digestion by encouraging secretion of digestive enzymes. It moves stagnation of food and subsequent accumulation of toxins, which has a far-reaching effect throughout the body, increasing general health, vitality and enhancing immunity.

Ginger is famous for relieving nausea and vomiting, from whatever cause. It settles the stomach, soothes indigestion and calms wind. Its pain-relieving and relaxing effects in the gut relieve colic and spasm, abdominal pain, distension and flatulent indigestion and help to relieve griping caused by diarrhoea.

In the uterus it promotes menstruation, useful for delayed and scanty periods as well as clots. Ginger relaxes spasm and relieves painful ovulation and periods, and is recommended to invigorate the reproductive system. Ginger also inhibits clotting and thins the blood; it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Because of its heating properties ginger is not recommended for those who do not tolerate heat well or those with gastritis or peptic ulcers.

Research:
Therapeutic properties - Ginger is well researched, and its therapeutic benefits are largely due to its volatile oil and oleoresin content. Gingerol is an acrid constituent, responsible for much of the herb's hot taste and stimulating properties. The shogaols, formed as the plant dries, are more strongly irritant and acrid than the constituents present in the fresh rhizome.
Antiemetic - Ginger is highly effective for motion sickness. Trials at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1990 found the herb more effective than conventional medicines in relieving postoperative nausea.
Antiseptic - In a trial in China 70% of patients with bacillary dysentery who were given ginger made a full recovery.

Scientific literature:
Research done at Cornell University Medical College has found that Ginger may help prevent strokes and hardening of the arteries. The active ingredient in Ginger (Gingerol) is proven effective in preventing recurrences of so-called "little strokes". It is believed that this substance (Gingerol) inhibits an enzyme that causes cells to clot.

It has been studied for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, pain-relieving, anti-ulcer, anti-tumour and other properties.

Six clinical studies have looked at ginger's potential to reduce motion sickness. Four European studies reported positive results, while two American studies gave negative findings.

Nutrient Content:
Ginger is rich in minerals and contains Vitamins B3 & B5.

Constituants:
The peculiar flavour of the root appears to depend on the volatile oil; its pungency is due to a yellowish liquid called gingerol. This is a mixture of homologous phenols of the formula C16H26O3. (CH2O) no Zingerone, C11H14O3, is crystalline and has a sweet odour and an extremely pungent taste; it is chemically related to vanillin, and is formed when gingerol is treated with baryta water. The pungency of gingerol, in contrast to that of capsicum, is destroyed by heating with alkaline hydroxides.

The volatile oil is yellow and consists largely of a mixture of terpenes, camphone, phellandrene and a new sesquiterpene, which the discoverers, von Soden and Rojahn (Ph. Ztg., 1900, p. 414) call zingiberene. There is also some citral, cineol and borneol in the oil.

How it works in the body:
The phenolic compounds are the agents responsible for relaxing the muscles of the stomach, and this may also explain their effect in easing travel or motion sickness. Fresh or dried, the root has been shown to minimize vomiting. In addition, the phenolic ingredients act within the stomach as a sedative and painkiller, which helps to reduce over-activity of the gut. In stomach infections, the oil acts as an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. The gingerols alone are thought to be responsible for ginger's action as a liver protective. In the cardiovascular system, ginger is thought to also reduce cholesterol levels, while at the same time increasing a sluggish circulation.

Chemistry and Pharmacology: Please refer to the website.

Side effects:
Contraindicated in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Side effects of ginger are rare when used as recommended. However, some people may be sensitive to the taste or may experience heartburn. Persons with a history of gallstones should consult a nutritionally oriented doctor before using ginger. A doctor should be informed if ginger is used before surgery to counteract possible post anaesthesia nausea. The German therapeutic monograph on ginger warns patients with gall bladder disease to avoid it and also cautions against exceeding the recommended dosage.

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