Health benefits
of ginger

Ginger’s official scientific name is Zingiber officinale, and it belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, which includes a few other famous spices and medicinal plants, such as galangal, cardamom and turmeric, which are also widely used in cooking and natural medicine all over the world.

Ginger Benefits - Ginger And Medicine 1

A humble light-brown root of a flowering tropical plant, ginger holds a wealth of medicinal properties and has been valued for its healing powers for thousands of years. Since the ancient times humans have known about and taken advantage of this amazing natural remedy, using it to heal a multitude of conditions and symptoms. Ginger is a frequent ingredient in natural prescriptions and preparations in many traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in India, ancient Chinese and Korean medicine, herbal medicine in Africa and even in various European cultures. Ayurvedic doctrine actually considers ginger a universal remedy because of its numerous healing properties and its ability to balance the energies within the body.

Ginger Benefits - Ginger And Juice

In today’s world of advanced technologies lots of scientific and medical research is being done to study ginger and its effects in more detail, and modern science is actually confirming most of what natural medicine has known for millennia about this miraculous herb. Western medicine is now incorporating ginger in a variety of treatments and adding it as an important dietary supplement for patients.

Ginger root has spicy and slightly sweet flavour, and distinct pungent and revitalizing aroma. It is considered a ‘warming’ substance – in Ayurveda ginger is said to support Agni within the body – the digestive ‘fire’, and in Chinese medicine it belongs to the type of herbs that enhance the Yang energy – energy of fire, Sun and heat. Ginger stimulates your body’s circulation, creating a feeling of warmth, which is why it feels so good to settle down with a cup of ginger tea on a cold winter evening.

Ginger Benefits - Ginger And Orange

There are more than a hundred bioactive constituents in fresh ginger, such as sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, phenolic acids, paradols and others, all contributing to ginger’s healing abilities, but the ones unique to ginger are a group of volatile oils called gingerols – chemical compounds that give ginger its zesty, pungent flavor and its spiciness. The most prominent among them is a compound called 6-gingerol. And it is possibly the most important one, as ginger owes many of its medicinal properties to this particular oil – 6-gingerol is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and even anti- tumorigenic.

When ginger is cooked gingerol transforms via a chemical reaction and turns into a compound called zingerone. It has a sweeter flavor and is a lot milder than gingerol which is why ginger in cooked dishes is not nearly as spicy as the fresh root. Zingerone is also a very powerful oil, it is known to help alleviate diarrhoea and it is a great antioxidant.

Ginger Benefits - Tea ingredients

Process of drying ginger turns gingerols into yet another type of oils – shogaols. They retain same medicinal properties as gingerols, but are almost three times as spicy as gingerols, which is why dried ginger powder is used very differently compared to fresh ginger.

Along with bioactive compounds raw ginger, like any edible plant designed by nature for human consumption, also contains nutrients that sustain and nourish human body. This includes, among others, immunity-boosting vitamin C, vitamin E which has anti-aging properties, as well as group B vitamins, especially B6 – an essential vitamin that promotes a healthy nervous system, supports healthy brain function and helps prevent depression and anxiety. Dietary minerals, present in ginger, include potassium, which lowers blood pressure, prevents water retention in the body and protects kidneys; manganese – an antioxidant that also helps regulate blood sugar levels, and magnesium, which is necessary for healthy bones and is also known to reduce the risk of diabetes.

ginger Medical properties topics

Cold And Flu

Ginger Benefits - Flu 2

Ginger is a famous cold and flu remedy – and with good reason! Anti-inflammatory super power, gingerols and shogaols will positively affect your body, reduce fever and alleviate sore throat, while ginger’s analgesic properties will ease body aches and pains. Ginger is also a natural anti-histamine and decongestant, and will help reduce symptoms like runny or blocked nose, sneezing and swollen sinuses. Ginger’s antibacterial and antiviral action will battle the infection and promote faster recovery. In addition to that, ginger increases perspiration, making you sweat more which allows your body to get rid of the infection faster.

You can take ginger in capsules or tablets as a dietary supplement during cold or flu, but drinking ginger tea allows you to experience ginger’s healing effect much quicker and it also feels so very good!

Here’s a great recipe of ginger tea that will boost your immunity, ease inflammation, relieve nasal congestion and soothe sore throat:

Cold And Flu

Ginger Benefits - Flu 1

Ginger is a famous cold and flu remedy – and with good reason! Anti-inflammatory super power, gingerols and shogaols will positively affect your body, reduce fever and alleviate sore throat, while ginger’s analgesic properties will ease body aches and pains. Ginger is also a natural anti-histamine and decongestant, and will help reduce symptoms like runny or blocked nose, sneezing and swollen sinuses. Ginger’s antibacterial and antiviral action will battle the infection and promote faster recovery. In addition to that, ginger increases perspiration, making you sweat more which allows your body to get rid of the infection faster.

Ginger Benefits - Flu 2

You can take ginger in capsules or tablets as a dietary supplement during cold or flu, but drinking ginger tea allows you to experience ginger’s healing effect much quicker and it also feels so very good!

Here’s a great recipe of ginger tea that will boost your immunity, ease inflammation, relieve nasal congestion and soothe sore throat:

Wash a small ginger rhizome, carefully removing dirt that might be caught between the lobes – sometimes it’s easier to break all lobes and branches off and scrub them by hand under running water. There’s no need to peel ginger when making tea. Cut ginger into slices, put in water and bring to a boil. You can adjust the amount of ginger according to how strong you like your tea – add more if you prefer a zestier brew. Simmer on low heat for approximately half an hour, then let it cool down. Squeeze fresh lemon or lime into the tea to add a good dose of Vitamin C to stimulate your immune system, then add some honey for natural sweetness – and you’ve got the most delicious cold and flu medicine ever! Fragrant ginger, refreshing sourness of lemon and soothing honey together create a fantastic and flavorsome combo, while their healing properties help relieve those nasty cold and flu symptoms and give your body a much needed boost.

Ginger Benefits - Ginger And Medicine 2

There is also a trick you can use if only have a small amount of ginger or if you like your tea to have more of the spicy punch – instead of slicing the root grate it finely, so it reaches almost a puree-like consistency. This way ginger will release a lot more juices into the water a lot quicker and you will need less ginger to achieve the same warming effect. Use more grated ginger if you are after a truly spicy kick – but increase the amount slowly, as it is easy to overdo it to the point of being too spicy to drink. If that happens – just dilute with hot water before adding lemon and honey.

If you would like to try a flavor reminiscent of Indian masala chai tea then skip the lemon and add other spices to the brew – whole or ground cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, anise seed and coriander will all work perfectly, enhancing the warming power of your tea and adding their own flavor notes and health benefits to it. And don’t forget the honey!

Ginger is a good expectorant, which is another reason to take it when you have a cold. As it stimulates circulation, it also assists your body in dealing with excess mucus, helping expel mucus build-up from lungs and nasal passages, giving your respiratory system some much needed relief during the sickness.

Coughing And Mucus

Ginger Benefits Coughing

Allergies and sinusitis

Ginger Benefits Sinusitis

Come allergy season – and your nasal passages become swollen and inflamed, while runny nose and constant sneezing aggravate the situation. But before you reach for your usual over-the-counter drugs why not try a natural remedy first? It is especially important to drink plenty of water during this time to stay well hydrated, which will improve your overall condition, and of course – ginger to the rescue! Drink ginger tea a few times a day – its anti-histamine properties can ease the severity of your symptoms, while its anti-inflammatory powers will help reduce the swelling and irritation in your sinuses.

Thanks to ginger’s immune-modulatory abilities it can be quite effective in prevention of various diseases and infections. It is a strong antioxidant and it supports your immune system, enhancing its ability to respond to the attacks of external factors, such as viruses or pathogenic bacteria. So it might be a good idea to go ahead and start including ginger tea in your daily routine right at the beginning of the cold and flu season, without waiting until you catch an actual cold!

Immune system

Ginger Benefits Immune System

Circulatory system problems

Ginger Benefits Circulatory System

Research shows that those who regularly take ginger supplements have a lower risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). Ginger gently and naturally cares for your blood vessels, expanding them and lowering blood pressure throughout the system, helping prevent clogging of the arteries and decreasing the risk of potential cardiovascular issues, such as peripheral artery disease and heart attacks. Ginger has been shown to be a cardiotonic, supporting the heart and assisting it in pumping blood through the body.

Vitamins and minerals present in ginger also benefit blood circulation. Studies show that potassium, in particular, helps lower high blood pressure, and according to USDA – 100 grams of raw ginger contain 9% of the Daily Value of potassium we need.

In Western medicine use of ginger as a pain reliever is relatively new, and it’s only in the last decade that various studies have been performed, confirming ginger’s analgesic properties. Some studies showed that ginger can be just as effective in reducing pain as conventional medications, such as ibuprofen. And as an added advantage – ginger has no adverse side effects like most of the over-the-counter painkillers, it is a natural pain management alternative, which is much gentler on your body.

In the East, however, ginger has been used as a painkiller for thousands of years. In Chinese medicine dried ginger powder, ginger extract or tincture are normally prescribed for taking internally. If an external application is necessary then grated fresh ginger can be used in a form of a compress applied to the affected area, otherwise ginger juice or extract can be rubbed into the skin. In the modern world there are many analgesic balms and creams that contain ginger extract as an active ingredient – very convenient for topical applications. Although, if you prefer the most natural and authentic way it is best to use fresh ginger juice, as it retains maximum of ginger’s therapeutic power.

Aches And Pains

Ginger Benefits Aches

Muscular pain

Ginger Benefits Muscular Pain

Bodybuilding and fitness industry pays a lot of attention to nutrition in general and bioactive supplements in particular, and ginger is no exception. A few modern studies have shown that supplementing ginger in the diet, either raw or cooked, for a number of days has a rather prompt positive effect on muscle pain induced by excessive exercise, and helps heal muscle injury caused by physical exertion – thanks to 6-gingerol’s anti-inflammatory properties and ginger’s overall analgesic potency. Ginger has also been found to speed up recovery after training by reducing exercise-induced muscle inflammation and stimulating blood circulation, as well as noticeably ease muscle soreness in the days following strenuous exercise. Sprains, sports-induced or otherwise, have been shown to benefit from topical application of ginger extract, becoming less painful and healing faster.

Gingerols are characterized as having strong antispasmodic properties, thus making ginger effective in helping relieve different types of spasmodic pain. Taken internally, ginger can alleviate stomach aches by acting as a relaxant for the smooth muscles of the gastro-intestinal tract. Topical applications, when ginger extract or juice is rubbed into the skin in the affected area, can be beneficial in relaxing skeletal muscle spasms and easing cramps.

Cramps and spasms

Ginger Benefits Cramps

Cervical spondylosis

Ginger Benefits Cervical Spondylosis

An age-related condition, cervical spondylosis affects the spinal disks in the neck, often causing tightness, stiffness and muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders. Ginger has proven to be very effective in helping relieve these symptoms and is a widely used home remedy for spondylosis. Drink freshly brewed ginger tea a few times a day or add fresh ginger root to your meals to utilize its anti-inflammatory properties.

Many women suffer from menstrual pain, which can get quite severe, making them unable to function normally and turn to conventional over-the-counter analgesics, or to even stronger prescription painkillers in order to cope with debilitating cramps in the lower abdomen and lower back, on a monthly basis. Regularly taking such strong medications not only puts women at the risk of drugs’ negative side effects, but also tremendously stresses the liver as it struggles to filter out the chemicals from the body. The good news is there is a safe natural alternative – and yes, it’s ginger! There have been studies confirming ginger’s effectiveness in menstrual pain relief as being equivalent to that of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and others.

It is best to start taking ginger a few days before the menstrual cycle starts – just to give the body a chance to fully absorb the nutrients and bioactive compounds from ginger and start experiencing its benefits. It has also been shown that rubbing fresh ginger juice or ginger extract based balm on the lower stomach can soothe the pain and ease cramping.

Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)

Ginger Benefits Dysmenorrhea

Migraines

Ginger Benefits Migraines 1

In today’s world of stress and anxiety typical tension headaches are a common malady, but can usually be dealt with quite easily, sometimes by methods as simple as drinking a few glasses of water. For some people, however, it gets worse, as they suffer from throbbing pain that just wouldn’t go away. That’s a migraine. And again, before reaching for your typical painkillers – why not give the natural healing powers of ginger a try?

Studies done regarding the use of ginger for treating migraine clearly show that it is either equally or more effective than the standard migraine medications. And ginger has no side effects like the usual drugs, which can bring on dizziness, drowsiness, heartburn, etc.

Ginger Benefits Migraines 2

Try taking some ginger powder or brew a strong ginger tea and let nature’s favorite analgesic do the work. In Ayurvedic medicine fresh ginger juice is rubbed into the forehead for dealing with headaches. For a more modern and convenient application option you can use ginger essential oil – make sure to always dilute it in a good carrier oil, such as almond, avocado or coconut oil, and rub onto your forehead, temples and the back of your neck. The pungent aroma of ginger oil also has a soothing and revitalizing effect.

And as ginger is a well-known antiemetic, it helps deal with nausea and vomiting often associated with migraines.

There are different types of arthritis, a disease that causes inflammation of joints and connective tissue, and it usually worsens with age. Although there is no known cure for arthritis, something can still be done to make living with this condition easier. There have been studies which confirm the positive effect of supplementing ginger on prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory qualities of ginger’s volatile oils, when fresh or heated ginger is added to the diet, the inflammation, pain and swelling in joints are noticeably reduced, and overall mobility is increased. Topical applications to affected joints, such as creams containing ginger extract or patches and compresses with fresh ginger, have also proved quite effective in reducing arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis

Ginger Benefits Arthritis

Liver function support

Ginger Benefits Liver Function Support

As well as making digestion and assimilation of fats possible, liver is also in charge of detoxifying our system by filtering the bloodstream and removing from it all the toxins that get into our body with the food we consume. Continuous exposure to too much fat in our food and too many toxins from alcohol, medications, food coloring, preservatives, flavor enhancers and other food additives take a toll on the liver, damaging its cells and slowing down its regeneration processes. Modern research found that gingerols positively affect liver, reducing inflammation and having an antioxidant effect, helping liver cells stay healthy and resist damage from free radicals. Ginger essential oil, in particular, has been proven to slow down fat accumulation in the liver.

This microorganism is a type of bacteria that lives in stomach lining, and if it grows too much it can cause inflammation in stomach tissue and lead to gastric infections, gastric and duodenal ulcers, dyspepsia and even gastric cancer. Studies have shown that supplementing 3 grams of ginger powder daily can significantly lower the amount of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach, while relieving all dyspepsia symptoms and gastro-intestinal discomfort as well. Therefore, ginger can be a natural and healthy alternative to current methods of H. pylori eradication that usually implement antibiotics, which harm the good bacteria in our gut microbiome, weakening the immune system and causing disease. Moreover, any bacteria eventually develop resistance to antibiotics, and so this method of treatment is continuously becoming less and less effective.

Helicobacter pylori

Ginger Benefits Helicobacter Pylori

Nausea and vomiting

Ginger Benefits Nausea And Vomiting

Ginger is a proven cure for all types of nausea, widely used around the world since the ancient times. Its anti-emetic properties help treat sea sickness and motion sickness, and relieve pregnancy-related nausea, or morning sickness. It is also very effective in treating post-operative nausea and vomiting after a surgery, as well as nausea experienced by cancer patients during chemotherapy.

From all the different compounds found in ginger the gingerols are said to be the strongest anti-emetics, therefore it is best to use raw, fresh ginger root to alleviate nausea rather than dried powder or heat-treated version. When feeling nauseous try chewing a slice of fresh ginger – it can have very rapid positive effect and bring relief quickly. But brewing tea is also very helpful, and even if fresh root is not available then go ahead and use dried ginger – it will still have anti-emetic effect.

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, leads to diabetes and body’s inability to produce and utilize sufficient amount of insulin, the hormone that manages how your body stores and uses glucose. There have been a number of recent studies done regarding ginger’s anti-hyperglycemic properties, and the results are quite positive and encouraging. It has been shown that adding regular ginger supplementation to the diet of patients with diabetes has a positive effect, as gingerols increase insulin sensitivity, stimulate insulin production and reduce fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels. And for those who don’t have diabetes incorporating ginger in the diet usually means better blood sugar management, which helps prevent such chronic disorders as hyperglycemia and diabetes.

Hyperglycemia and diabetes

Ginger Benefits Diabetes

Xerostomia (dry mouth)

Ginger Benefits Xerostomia

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands are not functioning properly and, as a result, aren’t producing enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This can be a result of aging issues, a symptom of a variety of diseases, or a side effect of some pharmaceutical drugs, like certain antihistamines, hormone or high blood pressure medications. Treatments like radiation therapy can cause dry mouth in cancer patients.

It is important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to prevent the condition from worsening. Also, treatment is available in a form of sialagogues – substances that promote saliva secretions – and studies have proven ginger to be an effective natural option. Chewing a slice of fresh ginger will stimulate salivary glands and help relieve the dryness.

A number of joint, muscle of nerve issues can cause inflammation and pain in the lower back. Many people suffer from this condition daily, experiencing symptoms ranging from numbness, dull pain, stiffness and tingling to acute pain running down the legs or into the groin. Thanks to ginger’s anti-inflammatory action it can be quite helpful in alleviating these symptoms, and it can be used both internally and externally. You can try supplementing dried ginger in capsules or tablets, add fresh root to different dishes when cooking or go for that delicious ginger tea with lemon and honey. As an alternative, or even in addition to the above, ginger essential oil can be rubbed gently onto the affected area or you can make a warming ginger compress. For a compress, simmer grated fresh ginger and some cinnamon powder in a pan of water on the stove or steep both ingredients in a large bowl by pouring freshly boiled water over them and leaving them for about 10-15 minutes. Dip a small folded hand towel into the brew, wring out and apply directly to the skin in the painful area. Leave it on until the towel cools down and then go ahead dip it in again and reapply. Repeat the process until the water has completely cooled off. It might be good to get someone to help you apply the compress as you lie on your stomach – that way you can relax and really take in the soothing effect.

Lumbago
(lower back pain)

Ginger Benefits Lumbago

Cholesterol levels management

Ginger Benefits Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid – a fatty substance that your body synthesizes and uses for a variety of functions related to digestion, hormones and Vitamin D production. In order to be transported by the bloodstream around the body to where it is needed cholesterol molecules attach to protein molecules and form compounds known as lipoproteins, such as HDL – high-density lipoprotein or LDL – low-density lipoprotein. LDL cholesterol is considered to ‘bad’ cholesterol because of its tendency to build up on the walls of the arteries, narrowing them and leading to atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. This build-up starts occurring when levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood stay too high for an extended period of time, for example due to continuous consumption of animal products, such as egg yolks, meat and dairy, which contain their own cholesterol. HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and actually removes other types of cholesterol from the arteries and transports them to the liver, which, in turn, eliminates them from the body. Research has shown that taking ginger in form of supplement over a period of a few months can be beneficial for the management of cholesterol levels and can help lower the levels of LDL and raise levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood.

In patients undergoing conventional cancer treatments ginger is now widely used to help alleviate the side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, upset stomach, etc. However, anti-carcinogenic properties of 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol enable them to kill cancer cells, making ginger a treatment option against cancer itself. A number of studies have already been done confirming ginger to be effective in fighting some types of gastrointestinal cancers and ovarian cancer, where ginger’s anti-tumor action has inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells. With research in this area continuing ginger is likely to become an alternative cancer treatment, allowing to avoid chemotherapy, which is very costly and comes with its many negative side effects.

Cancer

Ginger Benefits Tea

Brain health

Ginger Benefits Brain Health

Ginger is very good to your brain – gingerol’s antioxidant power protects brain cells from free radicals, ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect and also stimulates the blood flow to the brain, increasing the amount of oxygen available to brain cells. As a result, taking ginger regularly is very beneficial in dealing with a number of brain issues – ginger improves many cognitive functions, such as memory, concentration, reaction time, attention and ability to focus. It is often incorporated in treatment of dementia and memory loss, and has been shown to slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a healthier alternative to coffee, as it promotes circulation in the brain and brings on a feeling of being more alert, but without the caffeine, which unnecessarily stresses your liver and causes caffeine crashes as it wears off, making you more tired than before.

In our hectic and busy everyday life more and more people are suffering from stress-induced anxiety or depression. And sometimes all that’s needed to improve the situation are a few small changes in lifestyle, for example, adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet, spending more time in nature, meditating or even just talking to a friend or a loved one to feel the necessary support and connectedness. At times, though, such measures just aren’t enough and additional remedies are required. There are many medications on the market today, but of course they come with their side effects, and some can even be addictive. Ginger is a great herbal alternative, as it can raise levels of two important neurotransmitters in your brain – serotonin and dopamine. A neurotransmitter is a special chemical your body uses to transmit messages and commands between neurons and other cells in the body, and serotonin, also called ‘the happiness hormone’ is in charge of good mood and positive emotional state, while dopamine governs cognitive functions, positive reinforcement and motivation. Studies have shown that ginger can replace medications like diazepam in treatment of anxiety, low mood and depression. Aromatherapy uses ginger essential oil in many oil mixes for uplifting the emotional state and increasing the sense of overall well-being.

Stress, anxiety and depression

Ginger Benefits Depression

Skin and hair problems

Ginger Benefits Skin Problems

Taking ginger internally benefits most systems and organs in your body one way or another and skin and hair are no exception. Anti-oxidant properties of gingerols and shogaols will have an anti-aging effect on the skin, protecting its cells from the attacks of free radicals. As ginger improves circulation and increases blood flow to the scalp your hair will get more nourishment and grow stronger and healthier.

Ginger Benefits Hair Problems

At the same time you can utilize ginger’s miraculous powers even more with topical applications. Making a face mask from grated or powdered ginger mixed with some honey and lemon works wonders for acne and pimples thanks to ginger’s antibacterial action. Do this twice a week and you will notice an improvement even without using any other anti-acne creams or treatments.

In addition, this mask also increases skin elasticity and evens out skin tone, fading blemishes and spots. It can even be applied to scars to help with uneven pigmentation. Hair mask made with grated ginger and a carrier oil, like jojoba or avocado oil, will assist in managing hair loss, stimulating the follicles and promoting hair growth.

With so many wonderful health benefits there’s no reason for you not to make ginger a staple in your kitchen.