People have used ginger in cooking and medicine since ancient times. It remains a popular home remedy for nausea, upset stomach, and other health issues. People typically use fresh or dried ginger in cooking or herbal teas, and some take ginger supplements for their possible health benefits.
Ginger root comes from the Zingiber officinale plant, and it has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years.
Ginger can help relieve nausea and vomiting and aid digestion. The antioxidants and other nutrients in ginger root can help prevent or treat arthritis, inflammation, and various types of infection. Ginger may also reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other health issues.
Recognized health benefits of ginger
1 Reduce throttle
Ginger may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Below are some of the potential medicinal uses of ginger. According to a 2018 review, several studies have looked at the effects of ginger on gas that forms in the intestinal tract during digestion. This research indicates that the enzymes in ginger can help break down and expel these gases, helping to relieve any discomfort. Additionally, research shows that ginger may help increase movement in the digestive tract, suggesting that it may relieve or prevent constipation. Ginger also appears to have beneficial effects on the pancreatic lipase enzyme, which aids digestion in the small intestine.
2 Relieve nausea
A 2020 review indicates that ginger may help relieve morning sickness and relieve nausea after cancer treatment.
A 2016 review suggests that the odor-producing principles gingerols and shogaols are effective in preventing nausea and vomiting. However, the amounts of these compounds can vary depending on the form of the ginger. Researchers determined that dried ginger, followed by fresh ginger and powdered ginger tea, had the highest concentrations of gingerol. One of the studies analyzed by the review involved 576 adults with cancer. Scientists found that doses of 0.5 grams (g) and 1.0 g were most effective in reducing nausea. Of the seven studies analyzed, five found ginger to be beneficial, while two found no beneficial results. The review authors suggest that the mixed results may stem from the differences between forms and preparations of ginger.
They also called for more studies in humans to fully understand the effects of ginger on nausea and other gastrointestinal issues.
3 Support the immune system
Many people use ginger to recover from a cold or the flu. However, the evidence supporting this use is mostly anecdotal. In an older study from 2013, researchers investigated the effects of fresh and dried ginger on a respiratory virus in human cells. The results suggest that fresh ginger may help protect the respiratory system, while dried ginger did not have the same impact. A large cross-sectional study from 2017 suggested that consuming ginger daily may support the immune system. This can protect against chronic illnesses and aid recovery from other illnesses, such as a cold or the flu. A small 2019 study on the effects of ginger extract on smokers and non-smokers found that daily consumption of ginger extract was associated with a stronger antibody response in non-smokers. However, confirming the effects of ginger on the immune system will require further research.
4 Reduce inflammation
A 2015 review concluded that taking ginger by mouth is “modestly effective and reasonably safe” for treating inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. However, the authors noted that the studies in their meta-analysis were small and may not represent the general population. Meanwhile, a 2017 analysis of 16 clinical trials determined that ginger’s phytochemicals can fight inflammation. These authors also called for more research into the most effective dosages and types of ginger extract.
5 Relieve pain
Ginger may provide pain relief through the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of its gingerol compounds. A 2016 review concluded that ginger can specifically help reduce dysmenorrhea: pain just before or during menstruation. The authors acknowledge, however, that the studies they reviewed were often small or of poor quality. Fully exploring a link between ginger consumption and pain relief will require more research.
6 Promote cardiovascular health
There is evidence that ginger extract can help prevent cardiovascular disease. A 2017 study in 4,628 people found that consuming ginger daily may protect against coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cerebrovascular disease, and fatty liver disease, among other chronic conditions. The authors concluded that ginger may have potential as a preventative therapy. Determining whether ginger can support the treatment of people with cardiovascular disease will require further research. Meanwhile, a small 2016 study found that ginger extract helped reduce the occurrence of heart abnormalities in rats with diabetes. The authors noted that this reduction could come, in part, from the antioxidant properties of the extract.
7 Reduce the risk of cancer
Ginger does not provide protein or other nutrients, but it is an excellent source of antioxidants. A study has shown that, for this reason, ginger can reduce various types of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can occur when too many free radicals build up in the body. Free radicals are toxic substances produced by metabolism and other factors. When they accumulate in the body, free radicals can damage cells, which can lead to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart attacks, chronic inflammation and cancer. Dietary antioxidants can help the body get rid of free radicals. A 2015 review suggests that ginger may be effective against certain cancers of the gastrointestinal system, including colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer. The review concludes that ginger may inhibit cancer cell growth in some types of cancer or contribute to cancer cell death in other types.
Nutrition and Dosage
Ginger is a good source of antioxidants, but it doesn’t provide many vitamins, minerals or calories. 2 teaspoons of ginger provides only 4 calories and no significant amount of any nutrient. Most research on ginger has looked at dosages between 250 milligrams (mg) and 1 g, taken one to four times daily. Ginger root is generally safe and the recommended daily dose is no more than 4g.
Ginger is safe in food. Many compounds in ginger have not been studied by researchers. Additionally, scientific evidence does not support some claims about the healing qualities of ginger.
Before adding ginger to your diet or taking a ginger supplement, consult your doctor. Some supplements may interact with medications or cause other health complications.
Anh, NH, et al. (2020). Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials.
Bartels, EM, et al. (2015). Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials.
Bodagh, MN, et al. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials.
Giacosa, A., et al. (2015). Can nausea and vomiting be treated with ginger extract?
Ilkhanizadeh, B., et al. (2016). Protective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale) extract against diabetes-induced heart abnormality in rats.
Mahassni, SH, et al. (2019). Beneficial effects of an aqueous ginger extract on the immune system cells and antibodies, hematology, and thyroid hormones in male smokers and non-smokers.
McCrea, CE, et al. (2015). Effects of culinary spices and psychological stress on postprandial lipemia and lipase activity: results of a randomized crossover study and in vitro experiments.
Modi, M., et al. (2021). Ginger root.
Phaniendra, A., et al. (2015). Free radicals: Properties, sources, targets, and their involvement in various diseases.
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