People have used ginger in cooking and medicine since ancient times. It remains a popular home remedy for nausea, upset stomach, and other health problems. People typically use fresh or dried ginger in cooking or herbal teas, and some take ginger supplements for their potential health benefits.
Ginger root comes from the Zingiber officinale plant and has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years.
Ginger can help relieve nausea and vomiting and stimulate digestion. The antioxidants and other nutrients in ginger root may help prevent or treat arthritis, inflammation, and various types of infections. Ginger can also reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other health problems.
Recognized Health Benefits of Ginger
1 reduce gas
Ginger may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Listed below are some of the possible medicinal uses of ginger. According to a 2018 review, several studies have examined ginger’s effects on gases that form in the intestinal tract during digestion. This research shows that the enzymes in ginger can help break down and expel these gases, thereby relieving discomfort. Additionally, research shows that ginger may help increase movement in the digestive tract, suggesting it may relieve or prevent constipation. Ginger also appears to have beneficial effects on the pancreatic enzyme lipase, which aids in digestion in the small intestine.
2 relieve nausea
A 2020 review shows that ginger may help reduce morning sickness and reduce nausea after cancer treatment.
A 2016 review suggests that the odor-producing principles gingerols and shogaols are effective in preventing nausea and vomiting. However, the amounts of these compounds can vary depending on the form of ginger. The researchers found that dried ginger, followed by fresh ginger and ginger tea powder, had the highest concentrations of gingerol. One of the studies analyzed in the review included 576 adults with cancer. Scientists found that doses of 0.5 grams (g) and 1.0 g were most effective in reducing nausea. Of the seven studies analyzed, five found ginger to be beneficial, while two found no beneficial outcomes. The review authors suggest that the mixed results could be due to the differences between forms and preparations of ginger.
They also called for more human studies to fully understand ginger’s effects on nausea and other gastrointestinal issues.
3 Support the immune system
Many people use ginger to help them recover from a cold or the flu. However, the evidence for this use is mostly anecdotal. In an older study from 2013, researchers looked at the effects of fresh and dried ginger on a respiratory virus in human cells. The results suggest that fresh ginger may help protect the respiratory tract, while dried ginger did not have the same effect. A large cross-sectional study from 2017 suggests that daily consumption of ginger may support the immune system. This can protect against chronic diseases and aid in recovery from other illnesses, such as a cold or flu. A small 2019 study on the effects of ginger extract on smokers and non-smokers found that daily consumption of ginger extract was associated with a greater antibody response in non-smokers. However, more research is needed to confirm the effects of ginger on the immune system.
4 Reduce inflammation
A 2015 review concluded that taking ginger by mouth is “modestly effective and reasonably safe” for treating inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. However, the authors noted that the studies in their meta-analysis were small and may not represent the general population. Meanwhile, a 2017 analysis of 16 clinical studies found that ginger phytochemicals may fight inflammation. These authors also called for more research into the most effective dosages and types of ginger extracts.
5 relieve pain
Ginger can relieve pain through the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of its gingerol compounds. A 2016 review concluded that ginger may specifically help reduce dysmenorrhea: pain just before or during menstruation. However, the authors acknowledge that the studies they reviewed were often small or of poor quality. More research is needed to fully explore a link between ginger consumption and pain relief.
6 Promotion of cardiovascular health
There is evidence that ginger extract can prevent cardiovascular disease. A 2017 study of 4,628 people found that daily consumption of ginger may protect against coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cerebrovascular disease, and fatty liver disease, among others. The authors concluded that ginger may have potential as a preventive therapy. More research is needed to determine if ginger can help treat people with cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, a small 2016 study found that ginger extract helped reduce the incidence of heart abnormalities in rats with diabetes. The authors noted that this reduction may be due in part to the extract’s antioxidant properties.
7 Reduce the risk of cancer
Ginger provides no protein or other nutrients, but is an excellent source of antioxidants. A study has shown that ginger can reduce various types of oxidative stress for this reason. Oxidative stress can occur when too many free radicals accumulate in the body. Free radicals are toxic substances created by metabolism and other factors. When they build up in the body, free radicals can damage cells, which can lead to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, heart attacks, chronic inflammation and cancer. Dietary antioxidants can help the body scavenge free radicals. A 2015 review suggests that ginger may be effective against certain cancers of the gastrointestinal system, including colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer. The review concludes that ginger may inhibit the growth of cancer cells in some types of cancer or help cancer cells die in other types.
diet and dosage
Ginger is a good source of antioxidants, but doesn’t provide many vitamins, minerals, or calories. 2 teaspoons of ginger provide only 4 calories and no significant amount of nutrients. Most research on ginger has examined dosages between 250 milligrams (mg) and 1 g taken one to four times daily. Ginger root is generally safe and the recommended daily dose is no more than 4g.
Ginger is safe in food. Many compounds in ginger have not been studied by researchers. Additionally, scientific evidence does not support some claims about ginger’s healing properties.
Before adding ginger to your diet or taking any ginger supplement, consult your doctor. Some dietary supplements can interact with medications or cause other health complications.
Anh, NH, et al. (2020). Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials.
Bartels, EM, et al. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of Ginger in Osteoarthritis Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials.
Bodagh, MN, et al. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials.
Giacosa, A., et al. (2015). Can Ginger Extract Treat Nausea and Vomiting?
Ilkhanizadeh, B., et al. (2016). Protective effect of ginger extract (Zingiber officinale) against diabetes-induced cardiac abnormalities in rats.
Mahassni, SH, et al. (2019). Beneficial effects of an aqueous ginger extract on the cells and antibodies of the immune system, hematology and thyroid hormones in male smokers and non-smokers.
McCrea, CE, et al. (2015). Effects of culinary spices and psychological stress on postprandial lipemia and lipase activity: results of a randomized crossover study and in vitro experiments.
Modi, M., et al. (2021). ginger root.
Phaniendra, A., et al. (2015). Free radicals: properties, sources, targets and their involvement in various diseases.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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