Health Benefits Of Ginger

Ginger is one of the most popular of the culinary spices. It is an extremely versatile spice, with uses in recipes which range from a curry ingredient of the East to gingernut biscuits in the West.

GINGER ROOTS are also valued for their many and variousl medicinal uses and are materia medica of the Ayurvedic science of health. Ginger root is related to the spices cardamom and turmeric and has similar health benefits as these two spices.However, ginger has to be the most popular of the spices because of its wide ranging uses.

THE USE OF GINGER ROOT in the kitchen, and as a healing herb, like turmeric and cardamom, dates back at least 5000 years.
The active ingredients of ginger which give it its flavour and medicinal properties are gingerol and shogaol. These compounds make ginger an effective fungicide and antibiotic-like medicine. Gingerol and shogaol also help to negate the effects of some poisons. These compounds have a very beneficial effect on the stomach and the digestive process.

The chemical compounds found in ginger roots do not affect the beneficial prostaglandin chemicals which serve to strengthen the lining of the stomach. This is why ginger has such an uncontested reputation for treating all those discomforts of the stomach such as indigestion, nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, heartburn, peptic ulcers, and flatulence and wind. It is also a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger is also effective in many cases, of preventing migraines and severe headaches.
Ginger roots are best used as a prophylactic for these conditions, rather than wait for the conditions to strike. This means that ginger taken regularly, either in the cooking or as ginger tea, is the best way to prevent stomach complaints and migraines.

Ginger has many other uses as a healing herb: It can be used to ease arthritic pain, to improve circulation, to reduce blood clots and thus lower the risk of heart attack. Ginger lowers the blood pressure and lowers cholesterol. Ginger thins the blood which helps to prevent blood clots. Ginger can be used as a pain reliever for toothache, vertigo, as an antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps, for sore throats, to promote sweating when needed, such as in a treatment for the common cold and flu.

Ginger can be used as a dry powdered ginger, taken in a capsule, as freshly chopped root, or taken in a preserved form as in crystallized ginger. Ginger tea can be made from either the fresh root or from powdered ginger.

Help Prevent Kidney Stones

Causes of Kidney Stones:

‘How To Stay Out Of The Doctor’s Office’, written by Dr Wagner and Sylvia Goldfarb,  lists three types of kidney stones:

  • 1) The type which is formed from too much oxalic acid in the urine is the most common type. According to Dr Wagner and Sylvia Goldfarb who wrote this book, oxalic acid is found in silver beet, spinach, chard, kale, rhubarb, tea, nuts, and dairy products. Lack of Vitamin B 6 can cause the body to build up oxalic acid.
  • 2) Stones can be formed from uric acid.
  • 3) Stones can be formed from excess cystine: This type of stone can form if the diet is too high in protein, usually too much flesh protein such as beef pork and mutton.

See Your Doctor Or Health Professional: Pain in the lower back can be a symptom of kidney stones. This can be very painful, and even dangerous, if a kidney stone blocks the ureter on its way to the bladder. Dr Wagner says that a kidney stone can take from 15 minutes to 6 weeks to pass through the system, providing it does not block the filtration mechanism. A large stone which may take a few weeks to pass through might cause kidney and bladder infections. You must see a doctor if you are having back pain.

Obviously, the best thing is prevention rather than wait for an emergency. Prevention could keep you out of the doctor’s office.

What You Can Do To Help Prevent Kidney Stones From Forming:

The main cause of kidney stones is insufficient magnesium in the diet.

Magnesium helps to process calcium in the body, so that the calcium  in your food can be utilized properly. Insufficient magnesium means that you have too much unprocessed calcium in the body. Some of this unprocessed calcium gets excreted by the kidneys, which do not always efficiently dispose this calcium, and this leads to a build up in the kidneys. This build up causes kidney stones.

Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables: Silver beet and spinach actually have a high magnesium content, but because of the high oxalic acid in these vegetables, it is best to include greens such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, green beans, lettuce and mung bean sprouts in the meal. Small amounts of silver beet and spinach are ok in my opinion, as long as plenty of other greens, especially a large salad with lettuce and mung beans, is eaten at the meal.  Also, taking extra calcium foods like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or dairy products if you can digest these, helps prevent oxalic acid from depleting the body of calcium.

Keep the diet alkaline: Try to have two or three of these green vegetables with the daily cooked meal. Cooked green vegetables and raw salads provide you with plenty of magnesium to process the calcium in the body. Green vegetables and salad stuff like mung bean sprouts and lettuce, keep the body alkaline. Make a large salad at least once a day using mung bean sprouts. Add to your mung bean salad two or three of any of the following: lettuce, grated carrot, grated beetroot, spring onion, avocado, chopped celery, or a little  chopped spinach. These are all alkaline foods which provide good fiber for the intestines.

Adequate Protein in the Diet: Too much protein is no good, but insufficient protein can cause kidney stones also. Albumin is needed in the body, but excess amounts are created in the body when the diet is poor in protein, and this causes calcium build up in the kidneys.

Vitamin D  is necessary to process calcium properly. Not enough Vitamin D means that your body is likely to be deficient in calcium absorption, and this leads to weak bones and teeth, apart from the formation of kidney stones. Vitamin D helps prevention of kidney stones because of its effect on calcium, however, Dr Wagner warns against megadoses of Vitamin D, as this can also cause calcium build up in the kidneys.

The type of kidney stones which are formed by a build up of cystine is usually a hereditary condition where protein is not digested properly.

Avoid Antacids: Dr Wagner advises against the use of antacids, especially when you get older. Antacids mean that you are getting extra calcium carbonate which is difficult to absorb. Antacids can cause kidney stones. Many other medications can cause kidney stones.  I feel that warfarin should be studied properly in this regard – I have a friend who has been taking warfarin since his mid 30’s – he has recently had his gall bladder removed because it had cancer, and is currently undergoing surgery for removal of part of his liver.  He has been taking warfarin for 30 odd years.

Walter Last on Wheat Bread:  Avoid Wheat.

The diet of Walter’s which I followed many years ago did not allow wheat at all, and in fact, did not allow yeast foods either.  Wheat substitutes such as  rice and rice flour, besan flour, or chick pea flour,  corn meal, arrowroot, tapioca flour, potato flour, soy flour, are all gluten free, and these really are better than wheat for the health and for regenerating the body.  They are more nutritious and do not have that problematic gluten.

Not Too Much Milk: Walter Last advised against using milk at all, and his is the diet which I prefer for treating serious disease and for regenerating the health of the organs.

Dr Wagner also  is wary of milk, and advises that milk should not be over-used.  One reason that he gives is that milk is fortified with Vitamin D: While you need some Vitamin D for good health and to prevent kidney stones forming, too much Vitamin D can also cause the formation of kidney stones, because it causes too much calcium to enter the system. If this is not needed in the body, then the kidneys will have to deal with it. He says that the Vitamin D added to milk is a synthetic form, which causes other problems. Also, milk is high in phosphorous, and this is not helpful to the absorption of calcium anyway:  This was part of Walter Last’s reasoning for not using milk, but also that milk is mucous forming.

Mucous forming foods are best avoided if one wishes to avoid kidney and gall bladder stones from forming. Walter also said that pasteurized milk is no good for the digestion, as it is not easily digested once it has been heated.  And milk in tea, he said, was the worst thing out for the health, because the tannin in the tea renders the protein in the milk indigestible.  This undigested protein causes problems in the intestines, with build up of toxins.  Tea is best drunk black if it is to be imbibed.

Avoid Sugar and Yeast Foods: This was recommended generally by Walter Last.  Along with wheat, these foods are best left out of the diet whilst you are healing yourself of any serious disease.  It makes sense then, to avoid them if you are trying to prevent disease such as kidney stones. Eat these foods only in moderation to help prevent kidney stones.

Foods To Help Prevent Kidney Stones: Dr Wagner recommends asparagus, bananas, parsley, watercress, garlic, celery, cucumber, papaya, or paw paw, and horseradish as being the best foods for preventing kidney stones.  He states that these particular foods are especially good for getting the liver function working optimally.

Mung Bean Sprouts: I think mung bean sprouts in salads are especially good for the liver also.  Eating large salads made up of mung bean sprouts, with other raw vegetables, helps liver function and provides your body with easily digested protein food which is rich in digestive enzymes.

Cranberry Juice For Kidneys:  He recommends drinking cranberry juice, as this has an antiseptic effect on the kidneys and intestines. Pears are also good, as these can help relieve inflammatory conditions such as nephritis. Watermelon is also a good kidney and bladder medicine which aids the general health.

Drink Plenty of Water: Dr Wagner recommends that at least two quarts of distilled water are drunk each day. The urine should be clear and pale, and not yellow or brown.

Vitamins and Minerals to Help Prevent Kidney Stones:

Note: You need professional advice before taking any of these. This list with its dosages is adapted from Dr Wagner’s ‘How To Stay Out of the Doctor’s Office’ and is meant for information only.

Walter Last’s famous treatment for disease did not specify many vitamins and minerals – he believes in getting your nutrients from your food,  with  juices taken, such as beetroot, carrot, celery and apple.  The  emphasis is  on raw food  in Walter’s diet, such as mung beans and alfalfa sprouts.  He also used calf liver broth, taken in sips with carrot juice,  for very debilitated people, or for people who had a life threatening illness.  This provides Vitamin B6 and B12, iron, and digestive enzymes. If your diet is mainly vegetarian, then calf liver broth is a good idea as a nutritional supplement.

Vitamin B6 acts as a mild diuretic which is beneficial for the kidneys. 100Mg taken 3 times a day.

B6 is assimilated better with the help of Magnesium citrate 400mg twic a day, and Vitamin B2, 100mg also taken twice a day.

Beta carotene helps prevent kidney stones from forming. 25,000 IU per day – this could be taken naturally in a couple of large glasses of organic carrot juice instead of taking a supplement.

Fish oil also helps prevent stones from forming – 25,000 IU per day. This also could be taken through eating a portion of fish each day. Dr Wagner suggests that the bones in sardines might cause kidney stones, but I have found, as Walter Last recommended, that eating a can of sardines several times a week does not cause kidney stones to form if the diet is rich in alkaline greens and raw foods such as mung beans, lettuce, celery and carrots.

Dr Wagner recommends that phosphorous be taken daily, as per the instructions on the label- this helps prevent kidney stones from forming.

Vitamin C, 1000mg taken three times a day is helpful. I know that some people have dissolved small kidney stones through taking this much Vitamin C on a daily basis. It has also been used in various cancer treatments to good effect. The best type is non-acidic Vitamin C, calcium ascorbate. This keeps the body alkaline and prevents acidity of any kind.

Lecithin can be taken daily. This helps the gall bladder process fats and helps the health of the kidneys. 1200 mg can be taken 6 times a day. Walter Last uses lecithin as a food supplement in his recovery programmes. Lecithin helps the liver and the general health.

Vitamin E is a useful vitamin which can help clear up kidney problems. 400 IU of Vitamin E daily is recommended by Dr Wagner.  Vitamin E can be found in good quality vegetable oils such as  olive oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil,  avocado, nuts and seeds.

Zinc is recommended – 30 mg twice a day of Zinc picolinate.  Onions and garlic, leeks and chives, are all quite high in zinc.

Herbs to Benefit Kidneys as recommended by Dr Wagner:

Ginger, Marshmallow, parsey, uva ursi, comfrey, dandelion root, corn silk, shepherd’s purse

Vitamin C and Colds

Vitamin C :  Colds

Does  Vitamin C work as a treatment for the common cold?

Research done thus far suggests that Vitamin C, as an additional supplement to the diet,  does not work on its own as a prophylactic for the common cold in most cases.

However, in groups of people who were tested as for the efficacy of vitamin C in treating the common cold, it was found that Vitamin C did actually work to reduce the expected duration of the common cold.  Dr Holt and Iona MacDonald have an essay entitled ‘Vitamin C and the common cold’ which you can find in their book entitled ‘Natural Remedies that Really Work:  A New Zealand Guide, published in 2010 by Craig Potton Publishing, P.O. Box 555, Nelson, New Zealand.

Also, people who took Vitamin C regularly were more likely to resist getting the common cold as a result of hard exercise followed by chilling, than those who did not take Vitamin C.

This would suggest that Vitamin C in fact does improve resistance and increase immune function.

In the studies which Dr Holt and Ms MacDonald mention, Vitamin C was just used as a supplement:  1000 mg daily was recommended as an average, safe supplement.

These studies do not discuss the use of other herbal treatments such as the use of garlic, or lemon juice which is taken in drinks, or other known herbal remedies which help to reduce the symptoms of the common cold.

Vitamin C, I think, works best when it is taken, not on its own as a supplement, but with those foods which complement it, such as lemon juice, and garlic,  ginger and cinnamon.

Lemon juice contains high amounts of Vitamin C on its own.  The common cold is best treated when the juice of a lemon is made into a hot drink, with added ginger, garlic, and cinnamon, and taken with honey.  If a supplement of Ester C, or Calcium ascorbate, is taken at the same time, with about 500mg-1000mg of vitamin C, then the effect of the spiced up and honeyed lemon drink are remarkably pronounced. Use only 500 mg of Vitamin C for children under twelve years, and 1000 mg for adults.  Up to three doses can be given per day, and continued for three days  if the cold is severe.

Note: Dr Holt does not recommend doses of more than 1000 mg of Vitamin C per day for adults.  Note that Vitamin C can interfere with some medications, so if you are on medication, then you should not take ANY Vitamin C without consulting your health practitioner for professional advice. Even if you are not taking medication, consult your doctor or naturopath to see about taking Vitamin C.

In my experience, this is the best way to use Vitamin C supplements, fo treating the common cold:   that is, in combination with lemon drinks, garlic, ginger and cinnamon.

Varicose Veins Treatments

Techniques which improve the circulation are  the most important of Varicose Veins Treatments.

You can look at merrilyn’s posts  entitled ‘Causes of Varicose Veins’ and ‘Yoga for Varicose Veins’ for more information on how to improve the condition of varicose veins.

Here are some more ideas for varicose veins treatments which have not been covered fully in the other posts.

Hydrotherapy: The Foot Bath:  The simple foot bath can be done at home at any time to help relieve aching varicose veins.  The foot bath on its own will  improve the circulation, and help to reduce swelling and pain, but we can enhance the therapeutic action by adding certain herbs and spices.

Try and do this hydrotherapy treatment once a day, or twice if your condition is very bad.

Get two large bowls or buckets, big enough for your feet to sit in comfortably, and more.  Half fill one of the containers with cold water. Half fill the other with hot water which is at a comfortable bathing temperature.

Add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and half a teaspoon of ginger to the  bowl of hot water. Cayenne pepper is very good for improving varicose veins, as it helps to shrink them and reduce pain. Both ginger and cayenne pepper boost the circulation.

Begin with the feet in the cold water. Leave for half a minute, then transfer the feet into the warm-to-hot water. Leave in the hot water for a minute. Put the feet back into the cold water bucket for another minute, then return to the spiced-up hot water. You may need to add a touch of boiling water to the hot water bucket after a few minutes. Be careful to add just enough boiling water to heat up the water to a comfortable heat again. Do not have the water too hot, as this will harm your legs and possibly burn you.

Finish the hydrotherapy off with the feet soaking in the warm-to-hot water.

You can experiment using other herbs and spices in this footbath treatment. Herbs and spices which increase circulation are the ones to use here. I would use cayenne pepper in combination with either cinnamon, or ginger, turmeric, or cloves.

Note on Varicose Veins Water Temperature:   VERY HOT water should never be applied to the varicose veins.  Hot baths are best avoided.  If you are taking a bath, then the bath water should be only warm to medium hot.  Showers are considered best for people who have prominent or painful varicose veins, as showers do not prolong heat to the legs.

Massage to Soothe Veins: After the foot bath treatment, massage the legs gently with almond oil which has a few drops of rosemary oil added to it. This will soothe the veins, but also help circulation.

Cold Herbal Compress for Painful/Swollen Varicose Veins:  Make up an infusion using  healing herbs. You can use either comfrey, or borage, marigold flowers, chamomile flowers, witch hazel flowers, or use a combination if you like. Take up to half a cup of the fresh herbs. Put into a pot and add two cups of boiling water. Put on the lid. Leave on the stove to gently simmer for just one minute. Take off the heat, and leave to cool.

Soak a piece of white linen or cotton in the cold liquid. Wring out the cloth and apply it to the sore or swollen varicose vein. Put on a piece of plastic, and wrap lightly with a bandage. Leave the leg up for 20 minutes while you let the compress do its work. Take off. Repeat throughout the day as necessary. You can keep the mixture to dampen the cloth again before each application. Make up a fresh herbal mixture each day for use as compresses.

Drink Silica-rich Teas to help strengthen the veins and heal them from the inside.  Silica-rich teas are those made with  oat-straw, comfrey, borage, nettles, horsetail, chamomile and rosemary.  Drinking plenty of herbal teas such as these will not only provide you with silica and other nutrients, but also cleanse the kidneys, improve your hair growth, and help the intestinal functions.

Homeopathic Hamamelis is considered to be one of the best remedies for healing the veins. Witch Hazel is made from the same plant.  You can use Witch Hazel externally on the legs, and take the Homeopathic equivalentof Hamamelis internally.  Just three or four drops of Hamamelis 30x, three times a day until relief is felt.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are also great supplements for helping to relieve varicose veins.

Vitamin C Dosage: Between 1000mg to 3000mg of Vitamin C, preferable a non-acidic type, could be taken until better. Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C are good ones to go for.

Vitamin E Dosage :Take the standard dose as stated on the bottle for Vitamin E – best not to give large doses of Vitamin E.

Castor Oil:  To clear the liver, gall bladder and bowels, use castor oil once a week as a remedial measure for the veins.  Congestion in the digestive system, over time, will lead to the veins becoming distended.  So to prevent varicose veins from forming, take 2 tbsps of castor oil in the morning, once a week.

For serious conditions, you could follow the Gerson programme, which uses castor oil every second day.  Gerson used this method to cure cancers, mainly, but he insists it will cure any disease if his recommendations are followed to the letter.