What Are the Health Benefits of Ginger?

  • For centuries, ginger roots have been used for stomach relief.
  • Ginger contains gingerol, which has an anti-inflammatory property.
  • Ginger may relieve nausea and vomiting post-chemotherapy. 

For thousands of years, the ginger plant’s root has been used for stomach relief due to its natural anti-inflammatory effects. It can either be used fresh or as a powdered spice for food recipes or medicinal purposes. The spice is made from ginger roots. The plant is widely grown in warm regions of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Some alternative medicine practitioners believe that ginger can prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Health Benefits

Gastrointestinal

Several studies prove that ginger can soothe the stomach. Besides easing nausea and vomiting from surgery, ginger may also reduce motion sickness and morning sickness.

According to a 2012 study from the University of Rochester, ginger supplements reduced pos-chemotherapy nausea by 40 percent. Those who took around 500 and 1,000 milligrams (mg) experienced more significant relief. 

But a 2014 study from the University of North Carolina found that ginger did not provide significant relief from IBS symptoms. 

Though ginger has minimal effect on acid reflux, a 2012 study from India found that it may heal GERD-related gastric ulcers when used along with a probiotic.

Anti-Inflammatory

Ginger contains gingerol, an anti-inflammatory substance that may help treat chronic or acute pain. But research shows varying results on the effectiveness of gingerol. 

According to a 2015 review of studies, ginger was only “modestly efficacious” in treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendonitis and bursitis.

While a 2016 review of studies has shown that ginger may relieve severe menstrual pain the same way as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the researchers said the studies’ overall quality was low.

All these studies suggest that ginger may support standard pain relievers in treating arthritis and other chronic or acute disorders.

Metabolic

Although limited, there is convincing evidence showing ginger can treat high cholesterol or high blood sugar.

A 2008 Iranian study concluded that 45 days of eating 3 grams of ginger supplement every day improved the cholesterol levels of 45 people, reducing their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Another 2015 study from Iran and a 2018 study from China found that ginger decreased fasting glucose level and HbA1c. 

Other Benefits

While gingerol seems to slow cancer growth in vitro, there is limited evidence that it can prevent or treat cancer in humans. 

A 2017 research from Egypt suggests that gingerol’s anti-inflammatory properties may benefit Alzheimer’s patients in the same way as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex. 

Possible Side Effects

The tea and spice form of ginger is considered safe for most people. However, it may cause mild side effects, like upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, and gas in some people. Ginger may also increase bile production, which can be harmful to people with gallbladder disease.

It’s unclear whether ginger supplements are safe for long-term use. There is also limited research on whether it can interact with certain medications. However, it does slow blood-clotting and may interfere with anticoagulant drugs. 

Dosage and Preparation

Ginger is available in spice, tea, extract, oral tablet or capsule, and essential oil. The oil is mainly used for aromatherapy. Several topical ointments used for massage are also infused with ginger. Some people even put ginger under their tongue to prevent nausea.

There is no recommended dosage for ginger supplements. Some manufacturers recommend a 500-mg dose, taken twice daily, for nausea. For morning sickness, menstrual cramps, and arthritis pain, they recommend 250-mg to 500-mg, taken two to four times daily. 

What to Look For

Before buying a ginger supplement, check to see if it has been tested and approved by an independent, third-party certifying body. Talk to your doctor before using any ginger supplements to prevent potential risks. 

Be cautious when buying imported ginger snacks or candies. In 2013, the U.S. FDA issued a recall on a popular ginger candy from Vietnam that contained excessive levels of lead.

A ginger product from Asia was also recalled for improper use of sulfites as a preservative agent.

Source: Very Well Fit


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