Although this plant is quite controversial, many people believe that this traditional plant is beneficial for the health. Originated from China, this plant now can be found in Europe, North America and some other Asian countries too. Wild ginger is much different from the culinary ginger people usually add to flavor their foods because the only similarity between these two is the spicy aroma.
That is why this plant is called wild ginger since it has almost the same aroma with the culinary one. The use of wild ginger is also different. It is commonly used for medicinal purposes instead of culinary purposes. However, Native American used it to flavor herbal teas so they can gain the benefits. If you are new to this plant and are interested in using it, please take some time to learn about it so you don’t take any risk.
Wild Ginger Nutrition Value
There are some nutrients that can be found in wild ginger according to naturalpedia.com as listed below:
- Aristolochic Acid
- Bornyl Acetate
Some of you might be unfamiliar with those nutrients listed above, but that’s fine because the most important is to learn the benefits of wild ginger so we know that aside the numerous benefits of ginger you have learned, there is also another type of ginger you can use.
Wild Ginger Health Benefits
According to the nutrients listed above, here are some potential health benefits of wild ginger:
- Inflammation Treatment
In the former wild ginger was used for treating open wounds by pioneers due to the antibiotic contained in the roots. They are chopped up and used to relieve skin inflammation as a natural remedy. There is no research or study about it, but if you are not sure then just don’t try using it. Not only inflammation, but also burns and wounds can be treated since there is substance called beta-sitosterol in wild ginger.
- Cholesterol Level Reduced
Beta-sitosterol is one of the nutrients found in wild ginger and this substance, according to the FDA, can lower cholesterol. As a result, this substance can be used to prevent coronary heart disease, which the main cause is high cholesterol level in the body. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any evidence about this substance preventing coronary heart disease, yet this has been proved to be effective in lowering cholesterol.
- Pain Reliever
There are many health benefits of wild ginger, as has been mentioned above that wild ginger is good in treating inflammation, amazingly this plant is great in relieving pain too, thanks to the limonene. Some studies showed that limonene can reduce the pain in the muscles and bones, tough the studies had done only to mice. Further studies might be required so the use of this substance as a pain reliever can be trusted.
- Anti-stress Effect
Limonene, which can be found in wild ginger, is also available in other plants especially when they are formed in essential oils such as Basil essential oil, orange essential oil and Brazilian Peppertree essential oil. Those essential oils containing limonene are said to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, according to some studies, thus resulting in a fact that limonene is a good anxiety fighter.
Studies about those essential oils were done only to mice and the other ingredients contained in them might provide the stress reliever effect too. So, depending on wild ginger only to relieve stress, which has no studies done to it, can be doubtful. However, the limonene found in wild ginger is still a good substance to take the benefits.
Wild ginger contains two anti-inflammatory substances; bornyl-acetate and geraniol. You might be familiar with geraniol, the substance that has been widely used in various products such as detergents, perfumes, lotions and soaps, due to its sharp aroma.
Wild ginger, like the cuisine ginger you can find at your kitchen, has the same kind of aroma too, although this is different from lemon or orange, which also contain geraniol substances. Nevertheless, the use of geraniol and bornyl-acetate as anti-inflammatory properties are mostly found when they are used in essential oils. Considering that wild ginger is not used that way, the result might be different and more studies are required.
Still talking about geraniol, this substance can be used as an insect repellent to keep the bugs away from your garden. Although this has been widely used by manufacturers in chemical products, you can make a natural insect repellant at home using wild ginger.
Use the decoction as insecticides or bug repellent is quite handy, but when you apply it to your body the scent might be strange enough as it has a strong aroma, which is not really welcoming to many people. However, this spray can be much safer than those chemical bug repellent products out there.
- Body Warmer
Back in the former wild ginger has been used as beverage to add flavor to herbal teas. It just needs to be steeped in boiling water to be consumed as tea and provides many benefits for your body, one of them is for warming it up during the winter. It can also relieve colds, cough and flu, just like the health benefits of red ginger.
However, the use of wild ginger as tea was done in the former and it is still unsure whether or not today people still use this herbal plant as tea considering that there are many other better herbal teas they can consume. Meanwhile, that’s all many health benefits of wild ginger.
Cautions of Wild Ginger
There are some controversies about the use and benefits of wild ginger because this plant, according to some studies, is toxic. It doesn’t mean that wild ginger is completely all bad. It does provide some benefits due to the nutrients contained, but being potentially toxic making this plant is not edible. There are some reasons why this plant shouldn’t be used for the sake of safety.
- Containing Aristolochic Acid
This substance was used in diet pills and was considered safe before the FDA banned it. There must be a big reason why it is banned, but this substance is actually really dangerous. It was in 1992 when three people died and 100 people suffered from kidney damage because of consuming diet pills, after an investigation was done. The pills contained Aristolochic Acid, which can cause kidney problems. Studies done to rats showed the conclusion.
- Taking the Right Dose is not Allowed
Usually you will get the right dose of something, whatever it is, to be able consuming natural or herbal plants to stay away from the side effects while gathering the benefits. However, unfortunately this case can’t be done to aristolochic acid because no matter how small the amount of it that you take, it is dangerous for your body. So if you are trying to get this plant and make your own herbal remedy, think again.
Those all benefits listed above can be found in other better, safer plants so you don’t need to sacrifice your health and life. If you want to be stress-free, try health benefits of herbal chamomile tea before bed. It is nice and soothing, and more importantly, it is not toxic. Health benefits of chocolate before bed is also another great option. You can’t compare chocolate and ginger; most will pick the first option.
- Eating in Different Ways Could be Even Worse
Why this could be even worse? Because in some ways, wild ginger can be extremely deadly. Sometimes when you combine one food with another, although those two foods are naturally safe and edible, they can be harmful to your body because they are not matched together.
Wild ginger, which is naturally toxic, is more dangerous when this is steeped in vinegar. This is one of the examples and there could be some other ingredients you can’t eat together with wild ginger. If you want a different way of drinking ginger and trying to make some unique recipes, try ginger milk. There are some health benefits of ginger milk your body can reap and this is much safer. Surely you should use culinary ginger, not the wild ginger talked about here.
So, is wild ginger edible? The best answer for now is ‘’no’’ considering that this can harm your body, the kidneys especially. Then why there are some benefits it has? This has some benefits above because aside the dangerous Aristolochic Acid, there are some good substances available. However, just because some good substances exist doesn’t mean it won’t harm you when it is eaten.
Eating wild ginger is risky, no matter what kind of wild ginger you have, whether it is the one from Chinese, japan or North America, all of them are potentially toxic maybe just in different levels. If you want to get all of those benefits above just to harm your body, think again because you only have two kidneys and there are still abundant options of super foods that can give you like what wild ginger do.