Ginger is one of the world's most commonly used culinary spices. The medicinal use of ginger has an ancient history and can be traced back to Greek and Roman times. In Indian medicinal practice the plant has been mentioned in religious scriptures dating back to 2000 bc. The rhizome of the plant is used and is best recognized in Ayurvedic medicine as an aid to digestion and to treat rheumatism/inflammation. Trikatu ("three spice") is an example of an Ayurvedic remedy containing ginger, used to improve digestive and respiratory function, which also contains black pepper (Piper nigrum) and Indian long pepper (Piper longum). Across the world ginger is a popular food additive to aid digestion. Some of its more unusual uses are to promote hair growth (Japan), treat nerve disorders (India), and as an aphrodisiac (Cuba, Yemen). Ginger is acknowledged in Ayurveda to be effective against nausea and neurological dysfunction. Ginger consumption has also been reported to have a beneficial effect in alleviating the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.
Studies on the effectiveness of ginger in rheumatic conditions have shown a moderately beneficial effect, but falls short of proving ginger to be a positive, nontoxic remedy for such conditions.
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