Health benefits of ginger: From anti-nausea to blood pressure and beyond
You can make a mean green juice with ginger, kale, spinach, celery, apple, and lemon to support the cleansing of the liver and digestive tract. We suggest adding a few scoops of a Body Ecology favorite: Vitality SuperGreen.
Pickled ginger, ginger beer, gingerbread, gingersnaps. We come across these forms of ginger pretty regularly.
After all, ginger tastes great: Warm and spicy, people have used ginger root for centuries to flavor everything from vegetables and meats to tea and desserts. In medieval Europe, it was kept as a condiment on the table, along with salt and pepper. In taverns, people used to sprinkle powdered ginger in their beer to make the first “ginger ale.”
What we often call ginger root is actually the underground rhizome of the ginger plant and much more than a tasty addition at the table. The benefits of ginger and its medicinal qualities make it a potentially effective treatment for a variety of ailments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda recommend ginger root to help heal digestive troubles and decrease inflammation, and new research seems to support this ancient remedy.
The power of ginger: At least a dozen evidence-based reasons to enjoy it
Ginger has a long list of health benefits and may help with these conditions:
1. Autoimmune disease. Ginger root’s primary bioactive compound (6-gingerol) may help lower the production of autoantibodies — helping to stop the progression of lupus, according to 2021 research.1
2. Cancer. In lab tests, ginger extracts were found to suppress ovarian cancer cells.2 Gingerols may induce the death of colorectal cancer cells.3
3. Digestive issues. Ginger promotes the production and secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder, helping to improve your digestion of fats.4
4. Free radical damage. Ginger is a potent antioxidant and offers considerable protection against free radicals.5
5. High blood pressure. Ginger may decrease blood pressure and act as a blood thinner.6
6. High blood sugar. Ginger may have antidiabetic properties, helping regulate blood sugar levels.6
7. High cholesterol. Ginger may also lower blood cholesterol levels, possibly pointing to ginger as an effective treatment for heart disease.6
8. Inflammation. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory agents (gingerols) proven powerful enough for studies to suggest that they “[justify] the use of dry ginger in traditional systems of medicine.”5 These anti-inflammatory effects may even be seen when ginger is added to a meal.7
9. Morning sickness. Pregnant women have found relief using ginger to help relieve morning sickness, though it’s always important to consult with a doctor.8
10. Nausea and vomiting. People experiencing motion sickness often use ginger to alleviate their symptoms; anti-nausea is considered one of the most common uses of ginger throughout history.6
11. Osteoarthritis. Ginger may be a safe and effective potential osteoarthritis treatment, specifically for the knee.9
12. Radiation exposure. Ginger has been shown to help protect against the effects of radiation, possibly in conjunction with its antioxidant capabilities.10
Homemade fermented beets with ginger? Yes, please!
Body Ecology-friendly ways to bring more ginger into your life
Because ginger has so many remarkable health benefits, we use it in a variety of recipes:
- Ginger tea. Boil several slices of ginger root in one quart of water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add Lakanto all-natural, no-calorie sweetener to taste, then let the tea sit for a half-hour or more. You can make your ginger tea stronger or weaker, depending on your taste.
- Harvest soup. This is a great fall soup and especially healing when you add ginger.
– 1-2 tbsp. organic, unrefined coconut oil, ghee, or butter
– 1 lg. onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 4-5 med. carrots, chopped
– 3 med. red potatoes, chopped
– 1 med. fennel bulb with stalk and leaves (optional)
– Broccoli stems from 1 bunch broccoli, chopped
– Sea salt or Herbamare to taste
– Ginger and/or curry flavoring to taste
1. In a stockpot, sauté onion in oil, ghee, or butter.
2. Add other vegetables and enough water to cover.
3. When vegetables are tender, purée ingredients and return to the stockpot.
4. Add more water to achieve the desired consistency, along with Celtic Sea Salt or Herbamare and other seasonings.
5. Simmer 10 more minutes and serve.
Experiment and add some ginger to your favorite foods. Whether you need help for osteoarthritis, suffer from nausea, or just want some antioxidant protection, the benefits of ginger are universal — and delicious.
- 1. Ramadan A. Ali, Alex A. Gandhi, Lipeng Dai, Julia K. Weiner, Shanea K. Estes, Srilakshmi Yalavarthi, Kelsey Gockman, Duxin Sun, Jason S. Knight. Anti-neutrophil properties of natural gingerols in models of lupus. JCI Insight, 2020; DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.138385.
- 2. Rasmussen A, Murphy K, Hoskin DW. 10-Gingerol Inhibits Ovarian Cancer Cell Growth by Inducing G2 Arrest. Adv Pharm Bull. 2019;9(4):685-689. doi:10.15171/apb.2019.080.
- 3. Aggarwal, Bharat B., and Alok Chandra. Bharti. Role of Nutraceuticals in Cancer Chemosensitization. Academic Press, 2018.
- 4. Prakash UN, Srinivasan K. Fat digestion and absorption in spice-pretreated rats. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Feb;92(3):503-10. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4597. Epub 2011 Sep 14. PMID: 21918995.
- 5. Dugasani S, Pichika MR, Nadarajah VD, Balijepalli MK, Tandra S, Korlakunta JN. Comparative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of -gingerol, -gingerol, -gingerol and -shogaol. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Feb 3;127(2):515-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 13. PMID: 19833188.
- 6. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/.
- 7. Connie J Rogers, Penny M Kris-Etherton, Kristina S Petersen, Ester S Oh. Spices in a High-Saturated-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Meal Reduce Postprandial Proinflammatory Cytokine Secretion in Men with Overweight or Obesity: A 3-Period, Crossover, Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa063.
- 8. Viljoen E, Visser J, Koen N, Musekiwa A. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutr J. 2014;13:20. Published 2014 Mar 19. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-20.
- 9. Bartels EM, Folmer VN, Bliddal H, Altman RD, Juhl C, Tarp S, Zhang W, Christensen R. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jan;23(1):13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.09.024. Epub 2014 Oct 7. PMID: 25300574.
- 10. Jagetia GC, Baliga MS, Venkatesh P, Ulloor JN. Influence of ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale Rosc) on survival, glutathione and lipid peroxidation in mice after whole-body exposure to gamma radiation. Radiat Res. 2003 Nov;160(5):584-92. doi: 10.1667/rr3057. PMID: 14565823.