08 July, 2011
Ginger for the Flu
Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that is highly contagious. This virus is easily spread by coughing and sneezing, making influenza epidemics a common occurrence in the winter time. Ginger may be used as an alternative treatment for symptoms of the flu; however, it is recommended that you always consult with your doctor before using herbs.
The onset of the flu may exhibit symptoms of the common cold such as sore throat, sneezing and runny nose; however, the flu is a sudden occurrence while colds tend to come on slowly, according to MayoClinic.com. Other common symptoms of the flu can include headache, weakness, fatigue, nasal congestion, sweats and chills, muscle aches, dry cough and a fever or 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above. The flu isn’t a serious condition; however, according to MayoClinic.com, complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, bronchitis and ear infections may develop in high-risk children and adults.
Ginger is a perennial plant and is one species of approximately 1,400 members of the zingiberaceae family. This herb contains greenish-yellow fragrant flowers and the plant may grow up to 39 inches in height. The root of the ginger is commonly used for domestic and commercial purposes such as cooking and herbal remedies.
Ginger has been used in China for over 2,000 in treating a wide range of medical conditions such as digestion problems and nausea, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition, ginger has been used for heart conditions, arthritis and colic. The UMMC states that this herb is believed to be beneficial in treating headaches, painful menstrual periods, common cold and other flu-like symptoms.
Ginger contains a compound called gingerol that is believed to be responsible for its healing and medicinal properties. This compound also contributes to the hot taste of the herb. Ginger is available in the form of dried ginger root or fresh ginger, extracts, capsules, fresh oils and tinctures. In addition, this herb is also available as a tea.
For cold and flu-like symptoms such as headaches and sore throat, the UMMC suggests adding 2 tbsp. of fresh ginger to a cup of hot water and allow it to stand and drink two to three times per day. The standardized dose of this herb is up to 2,000mg in divided doses with food. You should not consume more than 4g of ginger per day, including that of food sources such as ginger ale and ginger snaps. Excessive doses of ginger can lead to mouth irritation, heartburn and diarrhea.
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