Ginger root, which most people simply call ginger, belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. That’s quite a mouthful, so instead, just be sure to know that it is a cousin to turmeric and cardamom. Ginger is widely used as a form of seasoning as well as in folk medicine for its many health benefits. This is particularly true in Asian cuisines and culture, dating back thousands of years in which it was used as a sort of tonic for treating typical ailments. Today ginger is used to help treat many ailments, from nausea to reducing pain. Here are our picks for the 10 best health benefits of ginger that you need to know!
10 Vital Health Benefits of Ginger
1. Ginger is rich in gingerols which are anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants
Ginger is an excellent source of some bioactive phenolics. 6-gingerol is the major pharmacologically-active part in fresh ginger. If there’s anything to take away from this article, besides the fact that ginger root has amazing natural health benefits, it is that ginger is rich in gingerols. It is the major essential oil within the root, giving ginger its smell and flavor. Gingerols are the reason why ginger is so beneficial to our health in the first place. That’s why this is technically health benefit number one, even though it’s practically the reason for every other health benefit that’ll be listed here.
Gingerol is known to have various strong medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, anti-pain, and anticancer. Additionally, gingerol plays an important role in gastrointestinal tract protection and serves as a chemopreventive agent in cancer treatments. The anti-inflammatory power of ginger helps to boost your immune system and protect against a host of diseases.
Thank gingerol for most of the following health benefits!
2. Treatment for nausea and vomiting
A great health benefit of ginger is that it helps in treating upset stomachs. Ginger is a hard competitor to run against when it comes to treating nausea or vomiting. Studies have shown that ginger works as effectively in treating nausea and vomiting as a commonly used medication, metoclopramide. When it comes to choosing between ginger which is naturally made and artificially made medication for medicinal purposes, nature should win, especially since the effectiveness is tied!
Another study revealed that ginger can also help with seasickness, morning sickness and other various types of nausea. A study in 2014 that included 1278 pregnant women showed that a low dosage of ginger can help with nausea relief. More importantly, the ginger consumption did not pose a significant risk to the unborn babies. With this news, we can definitely consider ginger root as a harmless, possible alternative for women suffering from nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy.
3. Helps with menstrual pain
Another health benefit of ginger is that it can naturally help soothe women suffering from dysmenorrhea, which is merely a fancier term for the condition of experiencing menstrual pain. A study conducted from 2006 to 2007 with 150 participants has shown that taking 250 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days from the start of one’s menstrual period was effective in relieving pain during the menstrual cycle. It has been proven to be just as effective as ibuprofen, a very popular drug used to treat pain.
For the best results, try to consume ginger either before (if you’re able to tell when your period is going to start) or at the beginning of the menstrual period.
4. Provides migraine relief
Did you know that a health benefit of ginger root is that it can soothe migraine pain? Migraines affect nearly 15% of the world population. That is approximately one billion people across the globe. Interestingly, it is more common in women than in men. However, the treatment of migraines varies from person to person and even by the particular kind of migraine. Several studies have shown that ginger derivatives such as ginger powder are useful in migraine treatment. Two hours after using ginger powder, the painful, lasting headache severity drops. Ginger has been shown to have a comparable effect as a medicine commonly used to treat migraines, sumatriptan.
We are again bringing up specific drugs used as treatment for conditions in order to offer a concrete comparison to the effectiveness and health benefits of ginger root. Because, just as we mentioned metoclopramide in the first health benefit, we want to encourage you to give ginger a try as a healthier and natural alternative to artificial drugs.
5. Ginger may reduce muscle pain caused by exercise
Ginger has been suggested to have hypoalgesic effects and help with muscle pain. A study with 74 participants showed that daily supplementation with raw or heat-treated ginger can lower muscle pain after exercising.
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Ginger is known for its anti-pain and anti-inflammatory health benefits. It can relieve the inflammation caused by strenuous workouts. If you want to reduce your muscle soreness, definitely consider the health benefits of ginger as a treatment, or even a preventative method, too.
6. Reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee
Another essential health benefit of ginger is that it can help reduce pain! Osteoarthritis is a type of joint disease that is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. It can also be called “wear and tear” arthritis, because the flexible tissue that helps you bend your knees actually tears and weakens, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty moving around. As of 2010, approximately 3.6% of the US population suffered from osteoarthritis in the knee. Studies have shown that highly purified and standardized ginger extract has a significant influence on reducing osteoarthritis symptoms, especially in the knee. Patients felt a reduction of knee pain when it came to standing, sitting, and walking.
An amazing health benefit of ginger is that it can help you get back on your feet - literally!
7. Reduces fasting blood sugar levels
The health benefits of ginger extend to reducing blood sugar levels. Diabetes is one of the most pressing chronic diseases not only in the United States but also around the world. Ginger’s anti-diabetic health benefits have been noticed in several studies, disclosing its potential in diabetic treatment.
Oral intake of ginger powder supplement showed improvement in not only fasting blood sugar levels but also hemoglobin A1c and other risk factors for diabetes and heart diseases. So ginger may play an important role in alleviating some cardiovascular diseases and diabetic complications. An important health benefit of ginger is that it may be one of the keys to having a happy, healthy heart!
8. Soothes dry mouth
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is a common symptom of Type II diabetes. Dry mouth usually happens when you don’t have enough saliva being produced by your salivary glands. Note that dry mouth isn’t just a condition that can make you feel uncomfortable. Not having enough saliva in your mouth could mean that your risk for certain mouth ailments are elevated, including mouth sores, yeast infections, bad breath, and tooth decay.
Ginger may help in soothing dry mouth, and preventing associated mouth ailments. A clinical trial conducted on Type II diabetes patients showed that ginger herbal spray increases patient's’ saliva and therefore could be used as a new, cheap and available treatment for patients with dry mouth.
9. A natural disinfectant and antioxidant
Is ginger antibacterial? The answer is yes! This particular health benefit of ginger owes all of its credit to gingerol. Ginger root has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that contribute to its ability to disinfect and fight unwelcome alien bacteria and fungus. It can even inhibit bacteria growth, taking its disinfectant skill a step further.
Part of why consuming ginger can be helpful to you as a natural disinfectant is that it can help induce your body to sweat. Sweating is a great way to detoxify the body because it directly releases toxins. It also produces dermcidin, which is a protein that helps the defensive immune system. Ginger can be your body’s best friend if you allow it to!
10. Helps in nutrient digestion
An interesting health benefit of ginger is that it can help facilitate the digestive process. A 56-day feeding trial was conducted to study the effect of dietary supplementary ginger on nutrient digestibility and growth performance. It showed that a 40-g dried ginger meal per kilogram diet is recommended for apparent nutrient digestibility and significant improvement in growth.
We mentioned before that ginger can be helpful in the treatment of nausea, and part of that is because the root is a powerfully effective digestive aid. Ginger is able to relax the muscles that line your gut, helping food get where it needs to go! Ginger can also help prevent malabsorption, which is the result of nutrients being improperly assimilated through your digestive tract (basically the nutrient doesn’t go where it is supposed to end up).
Ginger can be incredibly helpful to your overall well being and good health!
One tablespoon of ginger contains:
18 calories, 0.7 g fiber (3% DV), 1.4 mg manganese (70% DV), 0.6 mg iron (3% DV) , 0.1 mg Vitamin C, and 6.1 mg calcium (1% DV). Plus, it contains a handful of your niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. Best of all, ginger has 0 grams of sugar and fat.
How to get more ginger into your daily diet:
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Collagen Detox Tea
Carrot Ginger Soup With Spiralized Spelt Breadsticks
Savory Ginger Salmon
- Try these easy and delicious recipes with ginger:
Summary of health benefits of ginger:
Have a scoop of Daily Turmeric Tonic: This superfood adaptogenic blend combines the healing power of ginger with other superfoods herbs including turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, schisandra berry and boswella for a delicious chai-spiced blend you can add to any recipe.
Want to read more?
Dr. Akil Explains Principle 1 of The Paleovedic Diet (Paleo + Ayurveda): How to Eat More Nutrient Dense Foods For Your Ayurvedic Body Type
How Not To Get Sick: 10 Natural Immune Boosting Foods and Herbs
Use Plants Instead of Meds! Go Natural With These Top 10 Herbal Medicines, From Dr. Josh Axe
The Secret Healing Power of Seasonings, Herbs and Spices
1.Ernst E, Pittler MH, “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” Br J Anaesth, Mar 2000, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10793599
2.Viljoen E, Visser J, Koen N and Musekiwa A, “A systematic reveiw and meta analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting”, Mar 2014， https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995184/
3.Ozgoli G, Goli M and Moattar F, “Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.” Feb 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19216660
4. Vos, T; Flaxman, AD; Naghavi, M; Lozano, R; Michaud, C; Ezzati, M; Shibuya, K; Salomon, JA; et al. . "Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010" Dec, 2012 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61729-2/fulltext
5.Maghbooli M, Golipour F, Moghimi Esfandabadi A, Yousefi M “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of common migraine” May 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657930
6. Zhang F, Thakur K, Hu F, Zhang JG and Wei ZJ “Cross-talk between 10-gingerol and its anti-cancerous potential: a recent update.” School of Food Science and Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Jul. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28745358
7.Wang S, Zhang C, Yang G and Yang Y “Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review” Nat Prod Commun., Jul 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25230520
8.Black, CD, Herring MP, Hurley DJ and O’Connor PJ, “Ginger (Zingiber officinale” reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise., Apr, 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20418184
9. Cross, M; Smith, E; Hoy, D; Nolte, S; Ackerman, I; Fransen, M; Bridgett, L; Williams, S; Guillemin, F; Hill, C. L.; Laslett, L. L.; Jones, G; Cicuttini, F; Osborne, R; Vos, T; Buchbinder, R; Woolf, A; March, L, "The global burden of hip and knee osteoarthritis: Estimates from the global burden of disease 2010 study". Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2014， http://ard.bmj.com/content/73/7/1323
10.Altman RD, Marcussen KC, “ Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis”, Nov 2001, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11710709
11.Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P and Taheri MM, “The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients” 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277626/
12.Oso AO, Awe AW, Awosoga FG, Bello FA, Akinfenwa TA and Ogunremi EB, “Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, serum metabolites, gut morphology, and microflora of growing guinea fowl”, Jun 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23765551
13.Mardani H, Ghannadi A, Rashnavadi B, Kamali R, “The effect of ginger herbal spray on reducing xerostomia in patients with type || diabetes” Jul 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28884081
14.Vos, T; Flaxman, AD; Naghavi, M; Lozano, R; Michaud, C; Ezzati, M; Shibuya, K; Salomon, JA; et al. . "Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010" Dec, 2012 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61729-2/fulltext
15.Maghbooli M, Golipour F, Moghimi Esfandabadi A, Yousefi M “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of common migraine” May 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657930
- Ginger root, related to cardamom and turmeric, is used widely for its amazing ability to treat many different conditions.
- Most of ginger’s medicinal and therapeutic properties come from the oil found within the root, called gingerol.
- One of ginger’s many health benefits is that it acts as a fantastic antioxidant and disinfectant.
- Ginger also has amazing natural anti-inflammatory properties.
- Ginger can help with different forms of pain, from dysmenorrhea to migraines to muscle cramps from exercise.
- Ginger can also soothe the symptoms of nausea, improve digestion, and treat dry mouth!