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Mind body

Nature provides us with many herbs and plants that are healing in nature. These have been discovered through the ages and used by different civilisations. Modern pharmacology has its roots in herbal medicine.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 06, 2010 19:13 IST

Nature provides us with many herbs and plants that are healing in nature. These have been discovered through the ages and used by different civilisations. Modern pharmacology has its roots in herbal medicine. For instance, quinine, used as a medicine, has its parent herb in cinchona bark, which was used by old cultures to treat malaria.

You will find a lot of healing plants in your kitchen. If you knew of their therapeutic and healing powers, you could help prevent and treat minor and day-to-day health problems. For instance, in India we often use ginger in our daily cooking. But while we are aware of some of its beneficial effects, most of us don’t know its entire range of healing properties.

Ginger keeps the breath fresh. When you eat something that is refined and made of carbohydrates, the leftover carbohydrates in your mouth continue to be broken down by the bacteria in the mouth and these particles ferment continuously.

Due to the fermentation, there is an acidic pH that also damages the enamel of your teeth and leads to tooth decay. Ginger, which is antibacterial, stimulates the saliva flow and also has a fresh aroma, helps take care of this.

It lowers cholesterol. Cholesterol is formed as a part of your biological function. However, when the amount of cholesterol formed increases, or the amount of cholesterol that should be destroyed and eliminated from the system decreases, you could have a problem. Since ginger affects the liver and blood, it plays a balancing role in the formation of cholesterol. It lowers inflammation.

There are several diseases that result in inflammation of the arteries or airway tubes or joints. If an inflammation in the arteries is due to a cholesterol plaque impact, a clot forms which can become deadly.

In asthma, an inflamed airway can result in a blockage if it is uncontrolled. Ginger helps sort out heart problems due to infarct (blockage and post blockage events); arthritis and joint pains due to inflammation of the joints; and asthma and inflammation of the airway.

It is a digestive and carminative. A little bit of ginger taken with salt either before or after a meal can be a good digestive. It also aids in proper bowel movements.

It controls gas and bloating. Several ayurvedic medicines for gas are based on this property of ginger.

It is excellent for nausea and motion sickness. In an experiment, ginger was compared with a common nausea medicine. The researchers discovered that subjects who took ginger had lower incidence of motion sickness than those who took the medicine.

It is effective against menstrual cramps. It can control adult diarrhea.

It’s being researched for its anticancer properties.

- ask@drshikha.com