9 Health Benefits Of Ginger: Why You Should Have It Every Day
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Health Benefits Of Ginger
Ginger helps relieve nausea associated with pregnancy, travel, chemotherapy, and certain kinds of surgery. Ginger can also ease painful menstrual cramps, help with rheumatic disorders and indigestion, combat insulin resistance, prevent metabolic syndrome, soothe coughs and colds, ease migraines, and work as a blood thinner. It is a mighty herb indeed!
Ginger or Zingiber officinale is a heady herb that can spice up any dish. But that’s not all this humble rhizome can do. Its medicinal properties have, for long, been valued in ancient India, China, and Rome. The oily resin in the roots of the ginger plant contains many bioactive compounds, most prominently gingerols and shogaols, which give it its pungency and beneficial properties.1 Here’s a look at the health benefits of ginger.
1. Relieves Nausea During Pregnancy Or Motion Sickness
Studies show that ginger can alleviate nausea caused by various conditions. So whether you’re nauseous because of morning sickness or seasickness, or after chemotherapy or certain surgeries, ginger could be useful for you. 6-gingerol, which gives ginger its unique taste, is thought to be responsible for this property. It has been found to help food move through the stomach and gut.2
How to use:
For morning sickness
- Take a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger when you start feeling nauseous for immediate relief. This works for motion sickness too.3
- Take 3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in a thin cotton towel or cheesecloth and squeeze to extract the juice. Add the juice to a cup of sugarcane juice and stir well. Sip slowly. This concoction works for both pregnancy-related nausea and nausea due to chronic stomach ailments.4
- Taking a ginger capsule with 250 mg to 1 gm of ginger daily is also known to help subside morning sickness.
Although consuming ginger is not known to cause any side effects, it is best to check with your doctor during pregnancy. A safe quantity of ginger during pregnancy is between 1–2 gm per day.5
For motion sickness
- Taking 500 mg to 1 gm of ginger powder 30–60 minutes before you start traveling can help combat travel sickness. You can take an additional 500 mg after 2 to 4 hours if required.6 7 Children above 2 years of age and below 6 can be given a milder dose, not exceeding 250 mg each time.8
2. Eases Painful Menstrual Cramps
Painful menstrual cramps or primary dysmenorrhea is a bane many women face every month. And if you’re one of them, ginger might be able to help you. One study found that when ginger powder was taken during the first three days of the menstrual period, it significantly reduced the severity of the pain. Interestingly, the study also found that when ginger was taken two days before the period started and continued through the first three days of the menstrual period, the duration of pain was reduced too.
Ginger works by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are compounds that activate the body’s natural response – inflammation – to various health problems. Prostaglandins play a role in promoting uterine contractions as well, hence easing menstrual cramps.9 10
How to use:
- Ginger powder: As the study above mentioned, you can start taking 500 mg of ginger powder thrice a day two days before your period starts and continue taking it through the first three days of your period for relief from menstrual pain.11
- Ginger poultice: Add half a cup of fresh grated ginger to 2 cups of water and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure all the water does not boil away. Strain and place the hot ginger on a cotton cloth or cheesecloth. Squeeze the cloth so that it becomes saturated with the ginger solution. Place this poultice on your stomach exactly around where it cramps. You can place a towel, a hot water bottle, or a heating pad over the poultice too. Leave on for about 10 minutes for pain relief. You can repeat this process several times in a day.12
- Ginger, onion, and salt poultice: Another poultice recipe calls for mixing a cup of freshly chopped ginger with half a cup of freshly crushed onion. Add 2 cups of rock salt to the mix. Dry roast the mixture in a pan or wok for about 10 minutes. Pack the hot mix in a thin towel and you have your hot poultice. Lie on the back and apply the poultice on your abdomen twice a day, for about 3 days before your menstruation starts.13
3. Helps With Rheumatic Disorders
According to research, ginger can be effective in reducing pain and swelling caused by rheumatic disorders too. Ginger is thought to work by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis, among other things. In a study comprising 56 patients who were given powdered ginger for a period ranging from 3–30 months, over 75 percent of the arthritic patients reported relief from swelling and pain. Patients with muscular discomfort also reported relief. No side effects were reported.14
How to use:
It’s important to remember that treating pain with ginger is not a quick process – it could take days or weeks before you find complete relief.15
- Try taking 250 mg of ginger 4 times a day to lessen pain due to arthritis. This has proven to be effective in a study.16
- Other sources advise taking 510 mg of dry ginger powder in divided doses per day.17
- Make a paste of ginger and turmeric and apply on the affected areas twice a day.18 Turmeric contains the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin that can help with pain.19
- Add ginger to your diet. Either eat a little fresh ginger or whip up a spicy curry using both ginger and turmeric.
4. Works As A Blood Thinner
Blood thinners reduce the formation of blood clots in your arteries and veins and bring down the risk of stroke and heart attack in people with certain heart conditions.20 Ginger is thought to work as a natural blood thinner. In one study, platelet aggregation (the clumping together of blood cells to form a clot) increased in healthy men when they ate 100 gm of butter for 7 days. However, it was observed that when dry ginger was added to the fatty meal, platelet aggregation was significantly inhibited.21
How to use:
If you are already taking any blood thinning medication or have a risk of hemorrhage, do not try any of these home remedies without consulting your doctor. A dosage of above 4 gm per day of dry ginger powder could prove to have a negative impact in such cases.22
- According to research, taking 5 gm of ginger powder can have significant blood thinning effects.23
- Another home remedy involves adding half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger to a cup of boiling water. Add honey for taste and drink hot.24
5. Combats Insulin Resistance And Treats Diabetes
In people with insulin resistance, the body doesn’t respond properly to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for managing our blood sugar levels. This puts them at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.25 But ginger can help combat insulin resistance. One study found that when people with type 2 diabetes took 3 gm of ginger powder daily for 8 weeks, it lowered insulin resistance and they showed an improvement in indices related to diabetes control.26
How to use:
- Taking 3 gm of ginger powder daily could be helpful.
6. Prevents Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders like obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol which work together to increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.27 Research indicates that ginger may have a protective effect against this syndrome.
One animal study found that the marked rise in body weights, insulin, glucose, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides caused by feeding them a high-fat diet for 6 weeks was significantly reduced when they were treated with ginger. And it is thought that 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol play a role in these beneficial effects. So add some ginger to your diet. But do remember that there’s no dodging the fact that a healthy diet and regular exercise are important components of preventing metabolic syndrome too.28
How to use:
- Having 3 gm of ginger a day can help improve factors like blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.29
7. Helps With Indigestion
Indigestion or dyspepsia can cause considerable pain and discomfort. A delay in emptying of the stomach after a meal plays a role in bringing on the symptoms of indigestion.30 And according to research, taking 1.2 gm of ginger powder before consuming food can speed up emptying of the stomach.31
How to use:
- Taking around 2 to 4 gm per day of fresh ginger, or its equivalent, can help with indigestion, gas, and heartburn.32
- Add freshly ground ginger to dishes when you cook; or eat some fresh ginger after a heavy meal for help with digestion. Ginger can also help reduce the symptoms of minor food poisoning to some extent.33
8. Soothes Coughs And Colds
A cup of warming ginger tea has been traditionally used to soothe an irritating cough and cold. How does it work? Shogaols in ginger have anti-inflammatory and antitussive (ability to suppress or relieve coughing) properties.34 So stick with the tried and tested ginger tea the next time you come down with a nasty cold.
How to use:
- Drink 2–3 cups per day of hot ginger tea to tackle a nasty cold. You can add a dash of honey and some lemon juice to boost the healing power of your ginger tea. Soothing honey coats your throat and relieves irritation while lemon has beneficial antioxidant and antiviral properties.35
- Chew on some fresh ginger several times a day for a natural detox and find relief from the symptoms of cold and flu.36
- Take one teaspoon of dry ginger powder or 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, add to 2 cups of water, and boil. Inhale the steam to reduce congestion and other cold symptoms.37
9. Reduces Severity Of Migraines
If you suffer from throbbing headaches brought on by migraines, ginger might be your salvation. According to research, consuming ginger powder can reduce the severity of a migraine attack within a couple of hours.38
How to use:
- Experts suggest taking around 500 mg of ginger when a migraine starts. You can repeat this dose every four hours, limiting yourself to 1.5 to 2 gm of ginger a day.
- Make yourself a cup of soothing ginger tea. Simmer about 2 teaspoons of freshly sliced ginger in 3 cups of boiling hot water for around 10 minutes and strain. Add a little honey and you’ve got some delicious ginger tea.39
How Can You Add Ginger To Your Diet?
Ginger is commonly used in a variety of forms – fresh, powdered, dried, pickled, candied etc. Try ginger pickled in sweet vinegar with sushi or use ground ginger in cakes, cookies, and curries.40 Ginger tea also works well with other components and spices. Here are some combinations that you can try.
- Ginger and turmeric: Add some fresh turmeric which contains curcumin,41 an anti-inflammatory compound. Or whip up a spicy curry which commonly uses both these spices.
- Ginger and cinnamon: Combine cinnamon which can lower blood sugar42 with ginger which improves insulin sensitivity to control your blood sugar. So try a delicious cinnamon and ginger tea or use these spices in your cooking.
Cook With Ginger And Garlic
Ginger garlic paste is commonly used in Indian cuisine to add flavor to dishes. Like ginger, garlic has antioxidant properties.43 Wash and peel approximately equal amounts of ginger and garlic. Combine with a salt (to taste) and a dash of oil and grind to a smooth paste in a blender.
How Much Ginger Should You Have?
Ginger is generally considered to be a safe herb but its mechanism of action is still not completely understood so it is best to exercise caution when using it for therapeutic purposes.44
- Not more than 4 g a day if you are taking any blood-thinning medication or have a risk of hemorrhage45
- Not more than 2 g a day if you’re pregnant.46
- None for children under the age of 2 and people will gallstones, since it can increase the production of bile. Large amounts of ginger can cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation in the mouth.47
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Semwal, Ruchi Badoni, Deepak Kumar Semwal, Sandra Combrinck, and Alvaro M. Viljoen. “Gingerols and shogaols: important nutraceutical principles from ginger.” Phytochemistry 117 (2015): 554-568.|
|2.||↑||Ernst, E., and M. H. Pittler. “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” British journal of anaesthesia 84, no. 3 (2000): 367-371.|
|3.||↑||Budhwaar, Vikaas. The Secret Benefits Of Ginger And Turmeric. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2013.|
|4, 13.||↑||Zhao, Zhuo; Ellis, George. The Healing Cuisine of China: 300 Recipes for Vibrant Health and Longevity. Simon and Schuster, 1998.|
|5, 22, 23, 45.||↑||Bone, Kerry. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs E-Book: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2003.|
|6, 16.||↑||Ginger. University of Maryland.|
|7, 8, 17, 32.||↑||Ginger. University of Michigan.|
|9, 11.||↑||Rahnama, Parvin, Ali Montazeri, Hassan Fallah Huseini, Saeed Kianbakht, and Mohsen Naseri. “Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 12, no. 1 (2012): 92.|
|10.||↑||Prostaglandins. Elmhurst College.|
|12.||↑||Hobbs, Christopher; Keville, Kathi. Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health. Book Publishing Company, 2007.|
|14.||↑||Srivastava, K. C., and T. Mustafa. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders.” Medical hypotheses 39, no. 4 (1992): 342-348.|
|15, 24.||↑||Jude, Todd C. Herbal Home Remedies. B. Jain Publishers, 2002.|
|18, 33, 36, 37.||↑||Vora, Dr. Mayank S. Rasayana: The Fountain of Life. Partridge Publishing, 2015.|
|19, 41.||↑||Chainani-Wu, Nita. “Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa).” The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 9, no. 1 (2003): 161-168.|
|20.||↑||Blood Thinners. National Institutes of Health.|
|21.||↑||Verma, S. K., J. Singh, R. Khamesra, and A. Bordia. “Effect of ginger on platelet aggregation in man.” The Indian journal of medical research 98 (1993): 240-242.|
|25.||↑||What is insulin resistance?. Dietitians Association of Australia.|
|26.||↑||Mozaffari-Khosravi, Hassan, Behrouz Talaei, Beman-Ali Jalali, Azadeh Najarzadeh, and Mohammad Reza Mozayan. “The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Complementary therapies in medicine 22, no. 1 (2014): 9-16.|
|27.||↑||Metabolic syndrome. Healthdirect Australia.|
|28.||↑||Nammi, Srinivas, Satyanarayana Sreemantula, and Basil D. Roufogalis. “Protective effects of ethanolic extract of Zingiber officinale rhizome on the development of metabolic syndrome in high‐fat diet‐fed rats.” Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology 104, no. 5 (2009): 366-373.|
|29.||↑||Andallu, B., B. Radhika, and V. Suryakantham. “Effect of aswagandha, ginger and mulberry on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualitas Plantarum) 58, no. 3 (2003): 1-7.|
|30.||↑||Camilleri, Michael. “Does delayed gastric emptying really cause symptoms in functional dyspepsia?.” Gut 55, no. 7 (2006): 909-910.|
|31.||↑||Hu, Ming-Luen, Christophan K. Rayner, Keng-Liang Wu, Seng-Kee Chuah, Wei-Chen Tai, Yeh-Pin Chou, Yi-Chun Chiu, King-Wah Chiu, and Tsung-Hui Hu. “Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia.” World J Gastroenterol 17, no. 1 (2011): 105-10.|
|34.||↑||NIKAM, AJINKYA R., LOHIDASAN SATHIYANARAYANAN, and KAKASAHEB R. MAHADIK. “VALIDATION OF REVERSED-PHASE HIGH-PERFORMANCE LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY METHOD FOR SIMULTANEOUS DETERMINATION OF 6-, 8-, AND 10-SHOGAOL FROM GINGER PREPARATIONS.”|
|35.||↑||Khalil, Amira Mohammed Saed Mohammed, and Rasha Mohamed Gamal. “Honey with lemon Improves Children’s Nocturnal Cough and their Sleep Quality as well as Their Parents.” International Journal 3, no. 6 (2015): 143-152.|
|38.||↑||Maghbooli, Mehdi, Farhad Golipour, Alireza Moghimi Esfandabadi, and Mehran Yousefi. “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.” Phytotherapy Research 28, no. 3 (2014): 412-415.|
|39.||↑||Vukovic, Laurel. Echinacea/Cold Flu Fighters. Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2003.|
|40.||↑||Bode, Ann M., and Zigang Dong. “The amazing and mighty ginger.” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2011). But the classic you have to try remains a cup of ginger tea!|
Make Some Ginger Tea
If you want to start your day with some ginger tea, here’s a recipe you can use. Just simmer a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped ginger in 3 cups of water for around 10 minutes and strain. Add a little honey and you’ve got some delicious ginger tea.[ref]Vukovic, Laurel. Echinacea/Cold Flu Fighters. Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2003.
|42.||↑||Khan, Alam, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 26, no. 12 (2003): 3215-3218.|
|43.||↑||Chung, Lip Yong. “The antioxidant properties of garlic compounds: allyl cysteine, alliin, allicin, and allyl disulfide.” Journal of medicinal food 9, no. 2 (2006): 205-213.|
|44.||↑||Bode, A. M., and Z. Dong. “Chapter 7: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects 804 (2011).|
|46.||↑||Bone, Kerry. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs E-Book: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2003.|
|47.||↑||Ginger . University of Maryland.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.