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7 Research-Based Health Benefits of Ginger

Drew is a licensed pharmacist, seeking new ways to share my knowledge with others.

What Are the Health Benefits of Ginger?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the common household spices in your kitchens. Mostly used to spice up our life and cooking. Even so, many of us don’t know that ginger is a power food. It is packed and loaded with many health benefits.

Ginger is packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and other healthy compounds. This naturally-occurring substances can fight off a wide range of health conditions such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, and more

So without further ado, here are a few evidenced-based health benefits of ginger.

7 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger

  1. Helps with nausea and vomiting
  2. Lowers high blood pressure
  3. Fights viruses and sore throat
  4. Helpful for alzheimer's disease and dementia
  5. Helps with osteoarthritis and rheumatism
  6. Lowers bad cholesterol
  7. Lowers blood sugar

1. Anti-nausea and Anti-vomiting Effect

Studies on ginger have shown that this herbal root crop can ease symptoms of nausea and vomiting.

How effective is it, you ask?

A published study in the Journal of Pediatric Blood and Cancer showed us its effect. Ginger root powder reduced the severity of chemotherapy-induced vomiting in patients.

Ginger has shown effects as an anti-nausea agent in certain surgical procedures. It also has been touted to be efficacious for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. Yep, that morning sickness.

Still, I highly advise you to consult your doctor first. It is better to tell them before taking any ginger supplements. Safety first at all times.

2. Fights Against Hypertension

Having trouble controlling that fickle hypertension of yours? How about adding some ginger to your diet.

Hypertension is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide. World Health Organization estimated 1.13 billion people suffer from this silent killer. With at least two-thirds of cases living in the lower and middle-income countries.

A study showed that ginger has a potential for mitigating high blood pressure. It was considered as a potential anti-hypertensive adjunct and alternative.

Ginger also showed the capacity to fight high levels of bad cholesterol. Elevated bad cholesterol can cause hypertensive cases. It is also a risk for stroke and heart diseases.

Saute, boiled, or just chew ginger raw. Your call folks.

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3. Help With Sore Throats and Viruses

Got an itchy sore throat? Or feeling under the weather. How about eating that ginger for a change?

Ginger has shown promise in relieving symptoms of sore throats and flu. How?

Researchers found that a compound in ginger called gingerol can reduce swelling, inflammation, and even pain. Hey, it can also lower the risk of infections too.

Ginger showed antibiotic potential against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes comparable to antibiotics. Strep throat caused by Streptococcus pyogenes is a common cause of sore throat.

Ginger can also be effective against a few specific viruses. A study also showed that fresh ginger is effective against the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). HRSV is a virus that can cause various lungs and throat infections.

On a side note, I brew my honey ginger tea every time I feel like I’m feeling some flu-like symptoms. Once mixed with honey or milk, it becomes a really nice treat.

4. Ginger, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia

It’s normal to get a little forgetful as you age. But when it gets prevalent and is already affecting your life. But worry not, ginger is good for your brain and even combats cognitive degeneration.

Ginger is well-known for having an anti-aging effect. Mostly attributed to its capacity to fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which are common factors in degenerative diseases.

Ginger contains 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol, 10-gingerol, gingerdiones, gingerdiols, and paradols. Compounds that showed anti-aging effects. These positive effects were seen in various kinds of age-related and degenerative diseases. Primarily through ginger’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions.

Studies has also showed that ginger exhibited protective effects against Alzheimer’s-induced behavioral dysfunction.

5. Good for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatism

A study in the Journal of Medical Association of Thailand showed the positive effects of ginger on osteoarthritis. It showed that ginger extracts joint pain. The root crop also improves other problematic symptoms related to osteoarthritis.

Ginger in the form of compress and patch can ease symptoms of chronic osteoarthritis. Oh, don't forget rheumatoid arthritis as well. Thus, improving the quality of life in elderly patients.

Studies found some compounds in ginger have the same effects as CO2 inhibitors. A mechanism of action of pain killer drugs which helps against inflammation and pain.

6. Lowers Bad Cholesterol

You read it right. Your ginger also has the power to lower those bad cholesterols. And yep, not all cholesterols are created equal. Some are bad for your health, while others can be good.

The elevated level of Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, are associated with a lot of health risks. A few examples are hypertension, atherosclerosis, and other heart diseases.

A study published in the Saudi Medical Journal found some interesting findings. They conducted a before-and-after study on 95 patients. There were 45 patients in the treatment group. And another 40 patients for the placebo group. It showed that ginger can significantly reduce levels of triglyceride, cholesterol, and LDL.

Aside from that, it can also reduce levels of very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). What the heck is that? Let’s just say VLDL is a kind of super bad cholesterol. Something every physician and health professionals don’t want for their patients.

Now let’s look at the good side. If there is bad cholesterol, then there is bound to be good cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is also called as high-density cholesterol (HDL). What is so good about it?

HDL can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. And guess what? I have some gingery news for you. A study has shown that ginger can boost the levels of HDL cholesterol.

So better start making those ginger recipes. Oh, don’t forget, better have it fresh.

7. Controls High Blood Sugar and Diabetes

You read it right. Ginger also has a bone to fight against diabetes.

A study from the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research showed an interesting result. Ginger was able to lower levels of FBS and HbA1c in type 2 diabetic patients tested in the research.

Anyway, for our friends who’s not well-versed on medical terminology: Lower levels of FBS and HbA1c is a piece of good news for diabetics. It means that they are in good control of their blood sugar.

In 2020, a study showed that ginger is also useful in lowering the glucose levels of women with gestational diabetes mellitus.

A study using steamed ginger showed that it could also enhance insulin secretion. A lot of good news right? But wait there’s more!

In 2017, a systemic review and meta-analysis were done about diabetes and ginger. They gathered and analyzed 10 studies with a total population of 490 individuals. They found out that ginger showed a convincing positive effect on glucose control. It also improves insulin sensitivity as well as better blood lipid profiles.

The Takeaway

Ginger has a lot of proven health benefits. Simply put, ginger is good for you.

Even so, not all patient conditions and diseases are the same. Some cases are complex while some are simple. Be sure to talk with your physician before including a few to your diet. Do not self medicate.

Remember, they know your condition better. Even better than you do. It never hurts to ask for some advice especially if it's your health which is at stake.

More Ginger Benefits? Then Watch This

References

  1. Pillai, A. K., et al. (2011). Anti-emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as add-on therapy in children and young adults receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy. Pediatric blood & cancer, 56(2), 234–238.
  2. Lete, I., & Allué, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative medicine insights, 11, 11–17. https://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S36273
  3. Wang, S., et al. (2018). 6-Gingerol Ameliorates Behavioral Changes and Atherosclerotic Lesions in ApoE-/- Mice Exposed to Chronic Mild Stress. Cardiovascular Toxicology, 18(5), 420–430.
  4. 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.
  5. Hajimoosayi, F., et al. (2020). Effect of ginger on the blood glucose level of women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) with impaired glucose tolerance test (GTT). A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 20(1), 116.
  6. Nam, Y. H., et al. (2020). Steamed Ginger May Enhance Insulin Secretion through KATP Channel Closure in Pancreatic β-Cells Potentially by Increasing 1-Dehydro-6-Gingerdione Content. Nutrients, 12(2), 324.
  7. Saenghong, N., et al. (2012). Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  8. Zeng GF., et al. (2013). Protective effects of ginger root extract on Alzheimer's disease-induced behavioral dysfunction in rats. Rejuvenation Research,16(2):124-
  9. Alizadeh-Navaei, R., et al. (2008). Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double-blind controlled clinical trial. Saudi Medical Journal, 29(9), 1280–1284.
  10. Amorndoljai, P., et al. (2015). Improving Knee Osteoarthritis Symptom by the Local Application of Ginger Extract Nanoparticles. A Preliminary Report with Short Term Follow-Up. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 98(9), 871–877.
  11. Ali BH, Blunden G, Tanira MO, Nemmar A. (2008). Some phytochemical, pharmacological, and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). A review of recent research. Food Chemical Toxicology, 46(2):409-420.
  12. Hasani, H., et al. (2019). Does ginger supplementation lower blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 33(6), 1639–1647.
  13. Chang, J. S., et al. (2013). Fresh ginger has anti-viral activity against the human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 145(1), 146–151.
  14. Mohd Sahardi, N., & Makpol, S. (2019). Ginger in the Prevention of Ageing and Degenerative Diseases: Review of Current Evidence. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine
  15. Zhu, J., et al. (2018). Effects of Ginger on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Components of the Metabolic Syndrome. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Drew Agravante

Comments

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 22, 2020:

Hi Dora,

Thanks for reading. I also love your works. Please do keep it up, so I can binge more.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 22, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your pharmaceutical expertise on the benefits of ginger. Good, helpful information!

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on August 13, 2020:

Hi Danny,

I actually wrote this piece after getting curious about why a lot of people buy ginger in the supermarket. I have seen a lot of people asking me about ginger (including my parents) for the flu and other illnesses. And here you have it.

Danny from India on August 13, 2020:

Drew you have zeroed on the right topic in these pandemic times. It is also known that the 3 potent ingredients - Ginger, Garlic & Onions do wonders for the immune system.

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