Menopause & ginger

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Menopause & ginger
Ginger has a variety of healthy effects, including alleviation of menopausal symptoms. (ginger root image by Neelrad from Fotolia.com)

Ginger has been used for centuries in cooking and in herbal medicine, especially traditional Chinese medicine. It has a strong, spicy flavour and has a vasodilating effect on the body, meaning it causes blood vessels to expand which increases blood flow, something that is always good for the body. This physical effect can have positive or negative consequences in treatments for symptoms of menopause.

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What is ginger

Ginger, or ginger root, is a rhizome of the ginger plant which is native to China and India. In history it has been praised as everything from an aphrodisiac to a cure for the plague. According to the website My-Menopause-Solutions.com, people in Western Europe used it as a spice since the 9th Century. Today ginger is readily available in supermarkets everywhere. It is packaged and sold in a variety of ways, including fresh, dried, pickled, in drinks, powdered and crystallised or sugared.

Ginger and nausea

Ginger soothes nausea, states the University of Maryland Health Centre in the U.S. Therefore, a woman who suffers from nausea as a symptom of menopause can take ginger to remedy her upset stomach. Women can take a few sips of ginger ale or pre-packaged ginger tea along with crackers. She can make fresh ginger tea by pouring boiling water over some freshly grated ginger and let it steep for a few minutes. However, too much ginger consumed too quickly can actually cause stomach upset. Take the ginger slowly and in moderation.

Ginger and hot flashes

According to herbalist Anne Salazar Dunbar from The Natural Life website, traditional Chinese medicine holds that fresh ginger is a remedy for heat and dryness while dried ginger is a remedy for coldness and damp. Therefore, using these assumptions, dried ginger would likely bring on hot flashes. For example, dried ginger in a dinner entrée may initiate hot flashes. On the other hand, fresh ginger may actually relieve hot flashes according to some women. This may explain why many women report that regular, moderate consumption of candied ginger, a non-dried form, relieves hot flashes.

Ginger and insomnia

Insomnia is one of the more distressing symptoms of menopause. According to MayoClinic.com, part of the reason for insomnia may include night sweats, or nighttime hot flashes. Therefore, if fresh ginger relieves hot flashes for some women, it may also relieve insomnia. In addition, ginger baths promote sound sleep as well. Women’s Menopause Health Centre recommends adding two tablespoons of ginger in a hot bath once a week to get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Ginger and overall health

Menopausal symptoms can be minimised if a woman has good overall health. Ginger can help promote such health in a variety of ways. Regular ginger consumption can contribute to stress relief and long life. It is a digestive aid and anti-inflammatory. It helps the body detoxify and maintain good circulation. A ginger bath once a week causes the body to sweat, releasing toxins and promoting healthy skin, says My-Menopause-Solutions.com.

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