It’s no secret that ginger is incredibly good for you, and tasty too. But, maybe you didn’t know to what extent! With these 9 health benefits of ginger, this spice will be a staple in your kitchen, if it isn’t already.
A Bit Of History
It’s no wonder ginger is so well loved and is the most widely cultivated herb in the world. The world has known for millennia how much it can help all sorts of diseases and ailments (1).
- The earliest known record of using ginger is 5000 year old greek literature.
- Did you know Confucius, back in 500 B.C., in his writings, claimed he could never be without ginger?
- Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Indian healing practices claimed ginger is a gift from the gods.
- 5th Century Chinese sailors used ginger to prevent scurvy.
- Ginger, either by itself or in combination with other herbs, plays a part in over 50% of ALL traditional herbal remedies.
- Numerous ancient medical texts and literature, including A Thousand And One Nights, rave about its qualities as an aphrodisiac
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger contains a chemical called gingerol. It is related to capsaicin and piperine (2). This chemical is what gives ginger its spicy, warming quality.
Ginger is a good source of Vitamin C, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, and Potassium.
Ginger is also a vasodilator. This means that it increases the diameter of blood vessels, which can increase body temperature very slightly due to increased circulation.
9 Health Benefits of Ginger For Your Body And Mind
#1 Relieves Nausea
This has been one of ginger’s primary purposes throughout history. Ancient Chinese texts even claimed it helped with hangovers.
Ginger reduces the symptoms of many issues that cause nausea and vomiting. It has been proven effective against dizziness, motion sickness, and chemical upset due to chemotherapy and anesthesia. It is also a favorite to help with morning sickness and flu symptoms. Just one gram a day can help reduce nausea and vomiting (2)
Related: Yoga poses to cure nausea
#2 Boosts Metabolism
When taken internally, studies have shown that ginger can increase metabolism by 2-5%. Other studies, mainly done on animals, have shown that applying a concentrated ginger extract externally can boost metabolism up to 20%!! (3) Like most things, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. An overdose of ginger is considered to be 1g per pound of body weight (so, A LOT…).
#3 Strengthens the Immune System
There are a number of ways ginger helps the body this way. Ayurvedic research claims that ginger can break down and reduce toxins in the body, clearing and cleaning the lymphatic system. This happens because of the antioxidant levels that ginger contains as well as its anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, studies have shown that ginger activates T-cells. T-cells are the white blood cells capable of destroying viruses, bacteria, tumors, and cancer. (7)
#4 Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal and healthy response to an injury. But if an injury is not present, chronic inflammation can be a sign of other issues such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more. Studies have shown that ginger may help reduce that inflammation.
#5 Supports Brain Function
Many studies have been done with very positive results on the increase of brain function with the use of ginger. These studies have been successful with chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which have an element of chronic inflammation in brain tissues. Also, ginger can be used to improve general cognitive decline as we age. (5)
#6 Helps Balance Blood Sugar
It’s not known specifically what it is about ginger that helps to balance blood sugar levels, but it works! In recent studies, test participants with Type 2 diabetes took 3 capsules containing 1g of ginger in addition to their regular medications. Within 8 weeks these participants saw their blood sugar decreased significantly (6)
#7 May Lower Cholesterol
More research needs to be done before this is an official claim, but researchers are looking into how ginger benefits health of cholesterol levels and the heart in general. One study was done using the same method as above, 3 capsules containing 1g of ginger in people with high cholesterol. By the end of the study participants that took ginger had seen lower levels of cholesterol. (9)
Ginger is amazing for digestion! Gut health has been a growing issue for many people in the world. Ginger can relieve symptoms of IBS by relaxing the intestines and can also prevent and relieve heartburn and indigestion!
Did you know some people absorb as little as 10% of the nutrients in their food? Ginger also helps with nutrient absorption. This is a key component to healing a leaky gut (8) That might be the most amazing of the health benefits of ginger!
#9 Improves Libido
Remember that bit earlier about how ginger is a vasodilator? This is the key element as to why ginger has the ability to improve libido in both men and women!
Fresh Ginger Vs. Dried Ginger
Is one form better than another? Dried ginger is more potent because when ginger is dried or cooked with, gingerol becomes dehydrated and forms shogoals. Shogoals are about twice as strong as gingerol. That being said, it is not necessary to use dried to get excellent results.
Ginger can be used fresh or dried in your cooking, taken in capsule form, or used externally with essential oil. It is one of the safest herbs for a wide variety of conditions. The health benefits of ginger are so numerous, this wonderful, tasty, easy to use spice won’t let you down!
- Whitney, Martha. History of Ginger. Dr Christopher’s Herbal Legacy
13 April 2018 http://www.herballegacy.com/Whitney_History.html
- 5 Top Health Benefits of Ginger. Organixx.
13 April 2018 https://organixx.com/top-health-benefits-ginger/
- Bond, Owen. Does Ginger Burn Fat. Livestrong.
18 July 2017 https://www.livestrong.com/article/440604-does-ginger-burn-fat/
- Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence International Journal of Preventative Medicine
4 April 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
- Link, Rachel. 12 Major Benefits of Ginger for Body and Brain. Dr. Axe.
16 May 2018 https://draxe.com/10-medicinal-ginger-health-benefits/
- Ginger Shown To Lower Blood Sugar . Prevention Magazine.
10 April 2014 https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a20470863/ginger-shown-to-lower-blood-sugar-in-diabetics/
- Hall, Danielle. Ginger and the Immune System. Livestrong.
14 August 2017. https://www.livestrong.com/article/359341-ginger-the-immune-system/
- Gunderson, Melissa. 5 Ways Ginger Benefits Digestion. Gut Health Project.
9 June 2016. https://www.guthealthproject.com/5-ways-ginger-benefits-digestion/
- Yacoub, Jamie. Ginger for Lower Cholesterol. Livestrong
14 August 2017 https://www.livestrong.com/article/381680-how-much-ginger-root-can-you-take-in-a-day/