Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger originated from tropical rainforests in Southern Asia. It was first exported via India to Europe in the first century and used extensively by the Romans. Ginger has been used for over 5,000 years for medicinal purposes by traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese healing practices.
Ginger contains a potent antioxidant called gingerol. Gingerol is chemically related to chemicals in chilli peppers and black pepper. It has strong anti-inflammatory effects, which is its most likely mechanism of action in depression (depression has a strong inflammatory component). Its anti-oxidant properties are also linked to a decrease in metabolic stress on the body (“detoxifying effect”), which may also help relieve the mood indirectly.
A 2003 study found that a Chinese herbal remedy containing ginger was comparable to fluoxetine (“Prozac”) in treating chronically stressed rats. A 2012 study of ginger use in 75 infertile men showed a significant increase in sex hormones after three months of daily ginger use. An increase in sex hormones is associated with good mood and motivation.
Ginger can be used in a variety of forms. The scent of ginger acts as a form of aromatherapy and is incredibly relaxing. Drinking a cup of ginger tea improves ones mood, and leaves one feeling calm. Ginger stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is often affected in cases of chronic stress.
Raw ginger can also be taken as capsules, tea, or in grated form. Dosage is recommended to stay below 4 grams raw herb a day. Make ginger tea by finely chopping or grating ginger into boiling hot water and letting it steep for 2 to 3 minutes before straining.