Ginger has been used since antiquity, but new studies prove what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for thousands of years – the plant Zingiber officinale (ginger) can help with proper insulin release, lipid metabolism, and has demonstrated antihyperglycemic effects. Ayurvedic medicine utilizes this healing remedy along with a few others to help diabetics control blood sugar levels and improve the function of their hearts.
The most active ingredients in ginger are the pungent principles: gingerols, and shogaols. Ginger has shown outstanding protective effects on the diabetic liver, kidney, and eyes, and reduces neural system complications. The pharmacokinetics, or bioavailability of ginger is superior as well. It can even be utilized as a safe, natural substitution for pharmaceutical insulin in diabetes type II patients in many cases.
In research just recently released, it was found that diabetes type 2 patients who took just 3 grams of powdered ginger root for three weeks experienced statistically improved levels of insulin sensitivity. Outlining just some of the health benefits of ginger, one study summarizes:
“Zingiber officinale (ginger) shows effective glycaemic control properties in diabetes mellitus. The mechanisms underlying these actions are associated with the inhibition of key enzymes controlling carbohydrate metabolism and increased insulin release/sensitivity, resulting in enhanced glucose uptake in peripheral adipose and skeletal muscle tissues. The prominent lipid lowering effects of ginger also contribute to improving the insulin resistant condition.
A protective effect of ginger against diabetic complications is also an important aspect of its benefits (Figure 1). Pharmacokinetic and bioavailability studies provide further information for understanding the metabolism of ginger, especially its pungent principles. Sufficient acute and chronic toxicity studies have demonstrated the broad safety of ginger as a complementary hyperglycaemic control agent.”
An Ayurvedic Detox Diet Using Ginger
Part of the reason ginger is so effective is that it helps to detox the body. If you have trouble with glucose levels, or are diabetic, of course check with your medical provider first, but you can practice a warm ginger and hot water detox fast for 2 days. Simply boil one liter of filtered water and add 1 tsp. of ginger powder. Allow the ginger water to cool to a warm temperature and drink. This is also a great remedy for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, colds, or are feeling tired and mentally fatigued – both often signs that you are in need of detox.
In Ayurvedic medicine you would follow with a strict diet for 5 more days, taking only mung bean soup or vegetable soup with added spices like turmeric, garlic, and ginger, or garam masala – all healing herbs in their own right.
After the five days, a clean, healthful diet can be resumed. While practicing the detox diet, you can also follow the ancient teachings of yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda, which has been clinically proven to reduce the disease of diabetes as well. Certain asana, or yogic postures, aid the endocrine system and help diabetics lose weight. Breathing exercise called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama can also greatly aid those suffering from this disease by reducing stress and flushing out toxins.
Practicing this cleansing ginger diet just once a month can reduce toxic mucus in the body, reduce swelling and stiffness, help one lose weight, and control blood sugar levels. Even those who suffer from diabetes may discover that their insulin sensitivities are greatly reduced, or over time, completely eliminated.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.