Earlier this year, I had a day where I experienced a sore throat and sinus irritation. I didn't reach for a box of any over-the-counter remedy. Instead, I juiced a fair amount of ginger and lemon and added it to a tea. I was very satisfied with the relief I felt. My experience was nothing new; ginger, or ginger root, has been cultivated and used therapeutically for thousands of years.
10 Health Benefits of Ginger
Traditional medicine systems all over the world have applied ginger to a wide range of ailments, including calming an upset stomach. Recent studies of ginger have confirmed this effect and much more. Let's take a look at some of the amazing benefits of ginger.
1. Helps Calm Nausea & Vomiting
Clinical studies have shown ginger’s effectiveness at calming nausea and vomiting. Research has also confirmed its potential for soothing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The majority of studies found a positive effect of ginger against this side effect of aggressive therapies.
2. Digestive Tract Protection
Ginger has also been used historically for flatulence, constipation, bloating, and other digestive complaints. In addition to these gastro-protective effects, researchers have found ginger to be effective for stress-related ulcers.
3. Brain Health
Ginger contains compounds that have demonstrated protective effects for the brain. One of them, known as 6-shogaol, inhibited the release and expression of redness-causing chemicals which damage neurons (nerve cells). Another ginger compound, 10-gingerol, similarly acted in an anti-neuroinflammatory manner. In other words, fresh ginger's 10-gingerol reduced redness and swelling in the brain.
4. Migraine Relief
In a clinical trial, 100 patients received ginger powder or a drug given to migraine sufferers. The results showed the ginger powder helped reduce migraine related discomfort without side effects.
5. Protection From UV Rays
Ginger possesses UV-absorbing capabilities that protect against DNA damage related to UVB (ultraviolet-B) light. Extracts from ginger stimulated the production of an antioxidant protein in cells, and provided protective effects against damaging UV light.
6. Supports Stable Blood Sugar
Ginger has repeatedly demonstrated powerful blood sugar balancing effects. It acts on insulin release and sensitivity and supports the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Insulin levels may noticeably lower with ginger supplementation. In addition to its effectiveness as a blood sugar stabilizer, ginger has also shown powerful protective effects against diabetic kidney, eye, and liver complications.
7. Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure
Thai medical practitioners have traditionally used herbs such as ginger to support healthy blood pressure. Extracts from ginger and other herbs used in therapeutic recipes were evaluated for their effectiveness against hypertension. The ginger extract was the most effective.
8. May Benefit Osteoarthritis
A recent study tested ginger against drugs used for osteoarthritis — the ginger extract was demonstrated to be as effective. Another group of people with osteoarthritis found ginger to be as effective and safer than NSAIDs.
9. Helps With Muscle Aches & Discomfort
Ginger can be used to relieve muscle discomfort in female athletes. After taking ginger for six weeks, athketes taking ginger saw a significant decrease in muscle soreness as compared to the placebo.
10. May Benefit Cardiovascular Function
One of the active compounds in ginger, 6-gingerol, has been isolated, tested, and determined to be an active factor in supporting cardiovascular health. Based on the results, researchers are exploring the potentials of ginger as a remedy for cardiovascular concerns.
Ginger has an extremely robust flavor which makes consuming it a little bit tricky. It might be too strong to ingest on its own, but as I mentioned, it mixes incredibly well into tea or fresh juice. It also makes a great ingredient in many recipes, and you can find it in some healthy snacks.
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- Marx WM, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. Nutr Rev. 2013 Apr;71(4):245-54. doi: 10.1111/nure.12016. Epub 2013 Mar 13.
- Haniadka R, et al. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Food Funct. 2013 Jun;4(6):845-55. doi: 10.1039/c3fo30337c. Epub 2013 Apr 24.
- Ha SK, et al. 6-Shogaol, a ginger product, modulates neuroinflammation: a new approach to neuroprotection. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Aug;63(2):211-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.03.016. Epub 2012 Mar 23.
- Ho SC, et al. Anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of fresh ginger is attributed mainly to 10-gingerol. Food Chem. 2013 Dec 1;141(3):3183-91. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Jun 11.
- Mehdi M, et al. Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine. Phytother Res. 2013 May 9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4996.
- Thongrakard V, et al. Protection from UVB Toxicity in Human Keratinocytes by Thailand Native Herbs Extracts. Photochem Photobiol. 2013 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/php.12153.
- Li Y, et al. Preventive and Protective Properties of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:516870. doi: 10.1155/2012/516870. Epub 2012 Nov 22.
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- Drozdov VN, et al. Influence of a specific ginger combination on gastropathy conditions in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun;18(6):583-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0202.
- Mashhadi NS, et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S11-5.
- Liu Q, et al. -gingerol: a novel AT? antagonist for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Planta Med. 2013 Mar;79(5):322-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1328262. Epub 2013 Mar 11.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.