Ginger is a potent herb known for its many health benefits (1). The impressive list of health benefits goes throughout the entire body, affecting many areas for optimal health.
Native to parts of Asia, including China, Japan and India, the ginger is a root. Ginger was used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years (2). Scientific research is just now confirming some health benefits of ginger.
It is easier than ever to add ginger to your routine. You can make a homemade ginger tea with fresh ginger, just by grating it and straining it with hot water, lemon, honey, or whatever you like. It also is a flavorful addition to stir-fries and curries.
Summary: Ginger is a potent herb native to Southeast Asia that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Ginger
- 1. It Can Ease Nausea
- 2. It May Benefit the Immune System
- 3. It May Help with Migraines
- 4. It Contains Antioxidants
- 5. It May Lower the Risk of Cancer
- 6. It May Help Manage High Blood Sugar
- 7. It May Help Anxiety
- 8. It May Help Reduce Indigestion
- 9. It May Help with Asthma
- 10. It May Help to Decrease the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
- 11. It May Improve Muscle and Bone Pain
- Are there Any Health Risks with Ginger?
Health Benefits of Ginger
Are you ready to start adding ginger to your daily routine? The health benefits are far and wide, and they can make all the difference for many.
Check out the information below to see the many health benefits of ginger, along with any potential risks.
1. It Can Ease Nausea
The most common and well-known benefit of ginger is to treat nausea, including morning sickness during pregnancy (3).
Some research suggests that for some people ginger may be equally effective as some common anti-nausea medications at easing pregnancy related nausea with fewer side effects (4), (5). Ginger may also be effective in treating nausea associated with cancer treatment. However, scientists need to conduct more research to confirm this (6).
There are tons of ways to add ginger or keep it on hand if you experience nausea. See if you can keep it in your bag as a ginger lozenge or chew or keep some ginger tea around the house.
Nausea is a normal part of life for many, so adding in ginger can help prevent nausea from turning into vomiting. The relief often happens within a few minutes to a half-hour. Can you benefit from keeping ginger around the house or on the go to prevent nausea?
Summary: Ginger’s most powerful and proven effect is to reduce nausea, especially the pregnancy-associated morning sickness.
2. It May Benefit the Immune System
Ginger has some anti-microbial properties.
In test tube studies, ginger inhibited the growth of certain bacteria and viruses (7), (8), (9). However, there have been no studies of ginger’s effect on fighting infections in humans.
Besides its anti-microbial properties, Ginger has tons of essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc. Getting adequate levels of these nutrients in your diet helps to maintain a healthy immune system (10).
Ginger tea is an easy option for when you are feeling ill, too. It can help to relieve a sore throat, relax your stomach, and give you a much-needed boost of necessary nutrients.
Summary: Ginger has anti-microbial properties and contains some essential vitamins and minerals that help maintain a healthy immune system.
3. It May Help with Migraines
Migraines and headaches affect many people throughout the world for a variety of reasons (11). Those reasons can range from hormonal changes, stress, dehydration, and more (12).
Two clinical trials found that ginger decreased migraine symptoms when compared to migraine medications (13), (14).
This can happen because ginger can help to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Increasing the level of serotonin minimizes inflammation, helping to relieve migraines (13).
If you suffer from migraines, be sure to go to a healthcare professional to see if there are any underlying hormonal or stress issues.
Summary: Some clinical trials have found that ginger may help to reduce migraine symptoms.
4. It Contains Antioxidants
Ginger is high in antioxidants (14).
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that help to reduce free radicals (15). Free radicals are formed naturally during the body’s metabolic processes and when the body gets exposed to free radicals in the environment, including from smoking, air pollution, and sunlight (15).
Too many free radicals in the body over time can create oxidative stress and damage (16).
Lab studies have shown that ginger has anti-oxidant properties, and has helped reduce oxidative stress in animal studies (17), (18).
Summary: Ginger has anti-oxidant properties, helping to neutralize free radicals.
5. It May Lower the Risk of Cancer
Ginger may even help reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including ovarian cancer and gastrointestinal cancers.
In one study of ovarian cancer cells, the ginger extract reduced cancer growth cancerous cells in a test tube (19). And there are some preliminary studies of ginger reducing risk of stomach, liver, and pancreatic cancer in mice (20).
However, studies of ginger’s anti-cancer effects in humans have been mixed. Researchers found that ginger had beneficial effects in decreasing pro-inflammatory molecules in the colon that increase risk for colon cancer in some people (21). But ginger did not have beneficial effects in people who were at high risk for developing colon cancer (22).
Summary: Ginger may have some anti-cancer properties, but we need more research to confirm this.
6. It May Help Manage High Blood Sugar
Diabetes negatively affects blood sugar levels in the body because of a lack of response to insulin (23). Millions of people have diabetes across the globe, and that number is steadily on the rise (24).
Research in multiple studies has found that taking a ginger supplement for those with diabetes improves long-term blood sugar control (25).
There are many factors to help to manage diabetes, and after there is more research to confirm these findings, ginger may also be a helpful addition to managing blood sugars (26).
7. It May Help Anxiety
Preliminary evidence in animals suggests that ginger may affect anxiety.
One study found that ginger influenced serotonin receptors in mice (27). Serotonin helps to regulate anxiety, and low serotonin levels can affect mood (28).
However, there needs to be much more research before we can truly know if ginger helps improve anxiety in humans.
Summary: Early research suggests that ginger may influence anxiety in mice, but there needs to be much more research before we can truly know if ginger helps improve anxiety in humans.
8. It May Help Reduce Indigestion
Indigestion is a pain in the upper stomach that occurs when acid in the stomach becomes displaced (29).
One of the causes of indigestion is when the stomach takes a long time to empty after eating (30). Multiple studies have shown ginger to help speed up the emptying of the stomach (31), (32).
Summary: Ginger may help to relieve indigestion by speeding up the emptying of the stomach after eating.
9. It May Help with Asthma
There is some research to suggest ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties may even help alleviate asthma.
Studies in animals have found that compounds in ginger may be effective in relaxing the airway during an asthma attack (33), (34). However, more research is needed.
Summary: Preliminary studies in animals suggest that ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties may help ease symptoms of an asthma attack, but we need more research to confirm this.
10. It May Help to Decrease the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Over five million Americans of all ages, mostly 65 and over, have Alzheimer’s disease (35). Scientists still do not fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease (36). Genes are one factor, and there is some evidence that diet may contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s (37).
Ginger’s effect as an anti-oxidant may also help to protect the brain during aging. Studies in mice suggest that ginger may help protect against age-related decline in brain function (38). A pilot study found that ginger also improved memory in middle aged women (39)
Ginger may be useful for treating Alzheimer’s disease as well. Although more research is necessary, ginger is also being examined as a potential future component of a treatment for Alzheimer’s (40).
Summary: Some evidence suggests that ginger’s anti-oxidant properties may help to protect the brain from declines in brain function from aging.
11. It May Improve Muscle and Bone Pain
Ginger is helps to reduce inflammation in the body due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and it may also help to minimize bone and muscle pain.
Some evidence suggests ginger may help to relieve sore muscles after exercise, and there is moderate evidence that ginger may help prevent pain brought on by osteoarthritis (41), (42).
Summary: There is some moderate evidence that ginger may help relieve soreness after exercise and pain from osteoarthritis.
Are there Any Health Risks with Ginger?
Ginger in small doses is typically safe to consume as an herb or spice. In small doses, ginger has no known side effects.
However, in larger doses and pill form, some side effects of ginger can include (1):
- Stomach upset
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Mouth irritation
If you take ginger as a supplement, be sure not to exceed the recommended dose of 250 mg to 1 gram. Consult with a health care provider before adding any supplements to your routine, especially if you are pregnant (1).
The safest way to consume ginger is in its natural form as a tea or herbal spice.
Summary: Ginger is safe and has no major side effects when consumed in small amounts. Before taking ginger as a supplement, consult with a healthcare provider.
Ginger is safe, and it can be an effective way to combat nausea and may even help ease migraines and balance blood sugars and much more. It may also help to prevent many common chronic diseases, such as certain types of cancer.
Adding ginger to your diet as a spice or herb typically will not harm, but it can provide a whopping amount of benefits.