Ginger is a root that has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Today, scientific research has documented many of the health benefits of ginger. Here are five factual health benefits of ginger that are backed by scientific research:
1. Alleviates Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is well-known for its ability to alleviate nausea and vomiting. Studies show that ginger is particularly effective in reducing symptoms of motion sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, and side effects of cancer treatment. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that ginger supplements were more effective than placebo in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. 1
Another study showed that ginger was an effective treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women. The study found that taking ginger supplements reduced nausea and vomiting in pregnant women with morning sickness.2
2. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural process the body uses to protect itself from harmful stimuli. However, chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective treatment for these conditions.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that ginger extract reduced inflammation in the body by suppressing the expression of genes that promote inflammation. Another study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that patients with osteoarthritis who took a ginger supplement for six weeks had reduced pain and inflammation. 3
3. Boosts the Immune System
Ginger contains compounds like gingerols and shogaols that have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These compounds can help your body fight off infections and boost your immune system.
One animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that ginger extract increased the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections. Another study found that ginger can stimulate the production of cytokines, which are proteins that help regulate the immune system. 4
4. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Ginger can help lower blood sugar levels, making it an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that taking ginger supplements for 12 weeks reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Ginger can also improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for people with type 2 diabetes. A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that taking a ginger supplement improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. 5
5. Treats Menstrual Pain
Ginger has been used for centuries to treat menstrual pain and cramps. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that women who took a ginger supplement had reduced menstrual pain compared to those who took a placebo.
Another study published in the Journal of Pain found that ginger was an effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea, a condition characterized by painful menstrual cramps. The study found that taking ginger supplements reduced pain severity and duration in women with primary dysmenorrhea. 6
Ginger is an incredibly versatile and beneficial root that has a host of health benefits. Whether you incorporate ginger into your diet by drinking ginger tea, adding freshly grated ginger to dishes, or taking ginger supplements, you can take advantage of its powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
1. Ryan JL, Heckler CE, Roscoe JA, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces acute chemotherapy-induced nausea: a URCC CCOP study of 576 patients. Support Care Cancer. 2013;21(1):147-54.
2. Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Complement Ther Med. 2002;10(2):78-83.
3. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001;44(11):2531-8.
4. Park YJ, Kim HY, No JK, et al. Suppressive effect of hongsam (red ginseng) and ginger on the increased oxidative stress and the expression of inflammatory substances induced by football exercise. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2006;107(1):37-43.
5. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Talaei B, Jalali BA, et al. The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Diabetes care. 2014;37(12): e209-e210.
6. Rahnama P, Montazeri A, Huseini HF, et al. Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;12(1):92.