Ginger Uses, Side Effects & Health Benefits

Ginger Uses, Side Effects & Health Benefits

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the most widely used culinary spices and traditional medicinal ingredients in the world. Closely related to  turmeric, Cardamom, and Galangal, the rhizome of the plant, what most people call ginger root, is the most commonly used part of the plant (although sometimes the leaves are used as well).

Ginger grows in a wide variety of climates, although it is best suited to warmer and more humid regions, and the largest producers of ginger are India, China, Nigeria, and Nepal. The ginger rhizome can be used in a wide variety of ways including fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice.

Throughout history, ginger has been used in the treatment of numerous ailments, such as colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. The earliest records of ginger use date back over 5000 years in India and China.

What Is Ginger Used for?

Ginger has been studied most often for its potential role in helping with digestive issues like nausea, stomach upset, indigestion, and motion sickness, as well as its role as an anti-tussive in helping relieve symptoms of coughs, colds, and bronchitis. Health Canada’s monograph on ginger encompasses the oral use of ginger rhizome preparations and describes the use of ginger based preparations as “Help(s) prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, and/or seasickness. (Lien et al. 2003, Riebenfeld and Borzone 1999, Schmid et al. 1994, Fischer-Rasmussen et al. 1990, Grontved et al. 1988, Mowrey and Clayson 1982); Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve digestive upset/disturbances including lack of appetite, nausea, digestive spasms, indigestion, dyspepsia and flatulent colic (carminative). (Mills and Bone 2000, Bradley 1992, Ellingwood 1983, Felter and Lloyd 1983); and Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine as an expectorant and cough suppressant (antitussive) to help relieve bronchitis as well as coughs and colds. (Mills and Bone 2000, Bradley 1992, Ellingwood 1983, Wren 1907)”.

Herbal Benefits of Ginger

1) Helps Prevent Nausea and indigestion

Ginger has been shown to be highly effective when it comes to relieving nausea and indigestion. A number of studies have shown that even small amounts of ginger can greatly reduce episodes of nausea – especially in regards to morning sickness or nausea following surgical/medical procedures.

In addition to its anti-nausea effects, ginger can also help with chronic indigestion. This condition can cause discomfort and pain in the upper part of the stomach. A number of studies have shown that ginger can be effective in emptying the stomach more quickly after eating, which can relieve this discomfort.

2) Helps with Menstrual Pain

Ginger has been long been traditionally used to help relieve especially painful menstrual pain, also called Dysmenorrhea, which effect nearly 50% of the female population. Recent studies have shown that ginger supplementation can work just as effectively as NSAIDs in relieving menstrual pain in females suffering from primary dysmenorrhea.

3) May help with Osteoarthritis

A number of clinical trials and animal studies have suggested that ginger can reduce the production of several chemical substances (including leukotrienes) that promote joint inflammation and help people suffering from osteoarthritis, especially in the knee. Ginger also contains salicylates, which your body transforms into a chemical substance called salicylic acid. Salicylic acid prevents your nerves making certain prostaglandins and this eases pain and discomfort. Doctors often recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a treatment for arthritis. Ginger may be an additional option to help manage these symptoms.

4) Acts as an Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory

The main bioactive component of ginger is gingerol. Gingerol has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body. A number of studies have shown that Gingerol can help reduce oxidative stress in the body, which comes as a result of having excess free-radicals.
These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy aging.

5) May help Fight off Infections

In addition to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of gingerol, a number of studies have shown it to also help with inhibiting the growth of many different types of bacteria and helping to fight off infections. This action can greatly support your immune system and decrease the frequency and length of common sicknesses.


Is Ginger safe to take?

Experts consider consuming small amounts of ginger to be safe. Adverse effects are mild and rare and typically only occur when a person consumes more than 6g per day. Mild adverse effect usually take the form of bloating or gas, as well as occasional adversity to the taste of ginger.

Does Cooking Ginger Destroy Nutrients?

Research indicates that gingerol is not generally affected by heat. Despite this, it is important to note that ginger can possibly lose some water-soluble micronutrients during the cooking process, so it’s best to consume it fresh or just slightly cooked. When boiling ginger some nutrients can leach into the cooking water. That poses no nutritional issues if you consume the water as well, like when you make a ginger tea, but it is a problem if you dispose of the water.

Does Drying Ginger Reduce Health Benefits?

Current research suggests that drying ginger has little to no effect on the health benefits it possesses.

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