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Ginger: What It Is & Why It's So Good For You [10+ Benefits]
Ginger is the root of the plant Zingiber officinale.
For many centuries, it has been used either as a spice or as an herbal remedy.
As one of the oldest and most commonly used natural remedies, ginger has numerous health benefits and is super versatile to use, despite lack of nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
In this article you'll find answers to many of the common and uncommon questions about ginger and the amazing health benefits it can provide.
We go through more than 14 different scientifically backed health benefits of ginger and also a side-effect that you need to be aware of.
We regard ginger to be one of the most important foods to include in ones diet and we hope that after you've read this article you'll add it to yours as well.
Table of Contents
What Is Ginger?
Ginger is a perennial plant that grows primarily in Asia and is frequently used in cooking, perfumery, and herbal medicine to treat a variety of conditions such as arthritis, indigestion, colitis, nausea, and more.
The ginger is quite pungent in its taste. Not everyone is fond of the taste, but luckily is the ginger quite versatile, so even if you don’t like the taste you might find some useful way to eat it, just for the health benefits.
For over 5000 years, Chinese medicine has recommended the use of ginger to help cure and prevent several health problems.
In China, it's well known to promote energy circulation, increase our body's metabolic rate, as well as maintaining and enhancing our body's health and vitality.
One of the more common popular traits of ginger is that the root has few calories.
Ginger root is often very easy to find in most supermarkets, both fresh and in dried form.
If you have a hard time getting hold of fresh ginger, we recommend this Certified Organic Ginger Root Powder #ad that's available through Amazon.
It has no additives, it's just ginger!
What Does Ginger Mean?
Ginger’s current name comes from the Middle English gingivere, but this spice dates back over 3000 years to the Sanskrit word srngaveram, meaning “horn root,” based on its appearance.
In Greek, it was called ziggiberis, and in Latin, zinziberi.
Ginger does not grow in the wild and its actual origins is uncertain.
What Is Ginger Good For?
Ginger isn’t really known for the number of vitamins it contains, but rather the effect it has on your body directly.
It contains small amounts of vitamins C and E that’s hardly noticeable. The only nutrient in ginger worth mentioning is potassium.
Ginger has a wide range of reported health benefits for those with
- Muscular aches
- Sore throat
- Infectious diseases
Ginger contains up to 3% volatile oil, ◳ mostly monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids.
Ginger also contains many bioactive components, like gingerol and shogaol. ◳ The compound 6-gingerol, which exist in large amounts in raw ginger, has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities.
Ginger is packed with antioxidants
The presence of oxidative stress is associated with numerous diseases which often is put forth to explain the effects and health benefits of ginger.
This is because ginger has a lot of antioxidant properties.
The antioxidant properties in ginger are believed to exert a variety of remarkable pharmacological and physiological activities.
Although ginger is considered to be safe, the lack of a complete understanding of its mechanisms of action suggests caution in its therapeutic use. In other words, don't overdo it.
What Are The Health Benefits Provided By Ginger?
Ginger can alleviate nausea
The most common and well-established use of ginger throughout history is probably its utilization in alleviating symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
Ginger has long been proclaimed for its anti-nausea properties. ◳
There are studies that report ginger to be even more effective than anti-nausea medications.
One of the most beneficial trait is that ginger doesn't produce the same side effects as those medications.
Researchers have reviewed the benefits and dangers of herbal treatment of liver and gastrointestinal distress many times.
Several controlled antiemetic drug. ◳
Ginger relieves motion sickness
Ginger is a known effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
Ginger root is commonly recommended for preventing sea sickness or motion sickness.
In studies, ginger has proven to be superior to medication used to treat motion sickness ◳ and nausea.
If you get motion or sea sick easily, I recommend you try ginger.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are due to the reduction of prostaglandin production and the inhibition of leukotriene production.
They are substances that play a leading role in chronic inflammation.
Ginger has also been found to have analgesic effects, as it can relieve swelling and pain, especially in joints.
Ginger contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances known and is a natural powerful painkiller. ◳
It appears to reduce inflammation in a similar way to aspirin and ibuprofen.
Ginger can be used to treat rheumatic diseases
Ginger might be able to treat a wide range of diseases through immunonutrition (eating nutrients which influence immunity) and anti-inflammatory responses.
For example, in gout as a rheumatic disease of joints, 6-shogaol has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects ◳ and can be used as a curative agent.
Ginger relieves muscle aches and pain
For many athletes, ginger is their best friend.
If you experience muscle soreness regularly, ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the pain that so many active people have become accustomed to.
Ginger is a great food to incorporate with injury recovery and physical therapy because it can help increase the range of motion and lower pain.
Daily supplementation with ginger reduced muscle pain ◳ caused by exercise. I recommend you read the study!
Ginger promotes good digestion
Ginger is used to treat different forms of stomach and digestion-related issues.
It can assist with digestion, thereby improving food absorption and avoiding possible stomach ache.
It also boosts your immune system
Your diet plays a large role in strengthening or weakening your immune system.
Ginger has shown that it possesses effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens.
Therefore, it’s quite possible that ginger can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial disease. ◳
Ginger can be used to fight cancer
Adding ginger to your diet can help prevent new cancer cells from forming and can also destroy active ones.
6-gingerol causes cell death
According to a study on the compound 6-gingerol, showed results that 6-gingerol induces apoptotic cell death in some cancer cells.
The death mechanism in the study were identified and showed that 6-gingerol not only initiated cell cycle arrest but ultimately caused cell death. ◳
Consuming ginger is also beneficial for people who are already on cancer treatments since ginger has been known to prevent the toxic effects of cancer drugs.
In a study with 744 cancer patients, ginger supplementation at a daily dose of 0.5 g-1.0 g significantly reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea. ◳
Ginger can prevent stroke and heart disease
Lifestyle is much more important than many physicians care to admit.
There was a cohort study ◳ made among 43,685 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 71,243 women from the Nurses' Health Study, which concluded that poor lifestyle choices accounted for more than half of the stroke patients.
Restriction of sodium
SVN, Stroke and Vascular Neurology, published an article 2018 about diet for stroke prevention. ◳ They pointed out that sodium intake is a problem for people in China. Most of their sodium intake comes from soy sauce.
Restriction of sodium intake has the potential to improve blood pressure control, particularly in patients with higher blood pressures.
One conclusion of was that people should be encouraged to use light soy sauce in limited quantities and increase other approaches to flavoring food, such as ginger.
Gingerol in Ginger can be used for treatment of CVD
In a study made on gingerol ◳ demonstrated results which may in the future form the basis for the design of more potent synthetic gingerol analogues with similar potency to aspirin as platelet activation inhibitors.
This has a potential value in cardiovascular disease treatment.
Ginger reduces blood pressure
Studies show that ginger can reduce blood pressure ◳ and may be as effective as some of the more typically used medications.
Ginger used in cold and flu prevention
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia.
When nausea accompanies an illness, ginger root warms chills, fights infection and alleviates stomach distress. Ginger contains nearly a dozen anti-viral compounds.
Scientists have isolated several chemicals ◳ in ginger that have specific effects against the most common family of cold viruses, the rhino viruses.
Some of these chemicals are remarkably potent in their anti-rhino virus effects.
Other compounds in ginger, like gingerols and shogaols, help relieve cold symptoms because they reduce pain and fever, suppress coughing and have a mild sedative effect that encourages rest.
Several herbs, including osha, yarrow and ginger, help to avert colds when taken at the first sign of infection.
Ginger alleviates cough
Ginger is a natural antiviral.
If you’re suffering from common respiratory diseases such as a cough, ginger aids in expanding your lungs and loosening up phlegm because it's a natural expectorant that breaks down and removes mucus.
Ginger can help you cope with the flu
If you're coming down with the flu ◳, you may also get some help from ginger.
Fresh ginger of high concentration could stimulate mucosal cells that possibly contributed to counteracting viral infection.
Fresh, but not dried, ginger is effective against human respiratory syncytial virus.
For another natural remedy for fighting the flu which is backed my research, check out our article about Elderberry Syrup.
We go through the research of elderberry syrup and also give a cautionary warning for those who consumer elderberries regularly.
Caution: Ginger is diuretic
Ginger acts as a diuretic, so if you don’t keep yourself properly hydrated you might find that you dehydrate more quickly.
Be sure to drink extra water to account for your ginger intake.
Do not overdo your ginger consumption.
It has a lot of health benefits but the mechanisms of how it actually does som of the amazing things it does is not fully known.
What Is Ginger Tea Good For?
Originating from Asia, ginger tea has been widely acknowledged as one of the most popular herbal teas.
Ginger tea, which is made from the root, is known for its medicinal properties.
It has the same health benefits and properties that we describe above.
One of the known ginger tea benefit is that its regular use helps to treat cold symptoms.
This is one of the reasons that ginger tea bags are bought so frequently.
Consumption of ginger tea also helps to relieve sore throat and blocked sinus opening.
Make the tea yourself
It’s very easy to make a ginger tea yourself. You make it by cutting a few pieces of ginger root and steeping it in boiling water.
You can even grate it and have it on top of your tea.
It's a diaphoretic tea, meaning that it will warm you from the inside and promote perspiration.
It's also good when you don't have a cold and just want to warm up!
Ginger tea is a digestive aid
One of the health benefits of ginger tea, is that can contribute to better digestion.
Ginger tea is a great way to calm indigestion or reduce stomach pain.
It does this by relaxing muscles in the gut which then in turn secret digestive juices that neutralizes your stomach acids.
If you feel full, it can help to speed up the breakdown of the food as well.
If you want to buy some high quality ginger tea instead of making it yourself I recommend this certified organic ginger tea #ad that's available through Amazon.
The tea is made from premium ginger root from India and packaged in California.
And as an added bonus, if you don't like the product, they'll buy it back from you. So it's a risk free way of trying out ginger tea.
What Are Ginger Chews Good For? (With Video)
Ginger chews is candy that's usually made from fresh ginger, cane sugar, vegetable oil, and potato starch.
Ginger chews are made from pieces of real ginger root, which means they contain its natural active ingredients.
A basic ginger chew consists of a slice of ginger root that's been boiled in water and sugar to soften it and then coated in sugar.
Be extra careful with the amount of added sugar
When buying ginger chews remember to be aware of the sugar. It’s never good to eat too much sugar.
Check the label on the chews you buy to see how much sugar they contain.
One major brand reports its ginger chews have 4 to 5 grams of sugar per chew.
If you eat 6 chews, you consume about the same amount of sugar as in a can of sweetened soda.
If you're interested in buying some I recommend these individually packed all natural ginger chews #ad that are available through Amazon.
They are soft and chewy with a nice balance between strong and sweet. Highly recommended!
Ginger chews beats regular candy
Ginger chews are not high in calories, containing only about 20 calories per piece.
They can also be conveniently stored in a purse, bag, in your car or pocket for easy access whenever you want something healthy to chew on.
It beats regular candy any day!
If you want to make it yourself, it’s quite easy. All you need is three ingredients!
Can you lose weight with ginger chews?
Consuming ginger or ginger chews may help you manage your weight.
Studies have shown that those who consume ginger may experience weight loss ◳, even without other changes in the diet.
Although the mechanism is not fully understood, it may be related to the fact that epinephrine levels rise after ginger has been consumed.
Epinephrine is a hormone that causes a rise in metabolism, fast heart rate, rapid breathing, and increase of perspiration.
Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline and when higher amounts produces in the body, the metabolism rises, contributing to weight loss.
Be careful, don't overdo it
Little is known regarding ginger and metabolism or metabolites.
Evaluating the bioactivity of ginger is necessary for completely understanding its mechanism of action and potential therapeutic effects.
Although many consume food-derived supplements today with little knowledge of their activity or safety, more attention needs to be given to addressing these issues.
What Does Ginger Look Like?
The name “ginger root” suggests what part of the plant we use.
It’s the brown root system running underground between sprouts.
It grows as a tropical perennial with green shoots (they almost resemble bamboo, a related rhizome) with lance-shaped leaves and stalks of white or yellow flowers.
The ginger plant has an ability to grow up to one meter in height.
Cultivated mainly in tropical countries, Jamaican ginger is regarded as the best variety for culinary use.
According to Chinese tradition, dried ginger tends to be hotter than fresh.
How To Choose Ginger?
The root should be fresh looking, firm, smooth and free of mold with no signs of decay or wrinkled skin.
Mature ginger has a tough skin that requires peeling.
Fresh ginger can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks if it's left unpeeled.
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over dried since it’s superior in flavor and contains higher levels of the active component gingerol.
If choosing dry ginger, keep it in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark dry place for no more than six months.
What You Can Do With Ginger
Ginger is used in numerous forms, fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, candied or powdered.
You can make a hot tea, some ginger chews, have it in juices and smoothies, or in your food.
Ginger is commonly pickled in sweet vinegar, which turns it into a pink color. This form is common and popular with sushi.
Ginger can be eaten both raw and prepared. Ginger does not loose its health benefits when cooked.
Instead, it becomes somewhat easier for the stomach to absorb the beneficial contents when cooked.
The flavor can be described as peppery and slightly sweet, with a strong and spicy aroma.
Ginger Is Easy To Grow Yourself
Ginger is easy to grow, but you need to create the conditions for it.
It takes at least 10 weeks for a root to develop into crop yields.
During that time, it needs warmth and light. Ginger cannot withstand frost.
I recommend you grow ginger in a pot, this way you'll be able to move it inside if the weather turns cold.
The roots of the tubers grow shallow, so the pot does not have to be deep. Common flower soil, urn soil or planting soil works.
Choose an organic root to start growing your own ginger
You can actually buy a ginger root from the grocery store.
Organic is the easiest to succeed with, because the non-organic roots can sometimes have been treated with substances that the root can’t grow or mold during storage.
Water through the soil before planting. Push down the tuber two-thirds into the soil, but leave the top of the soil above ground.
Before the plant gets sprouts it can stand on a dark spot, but as soon as the little green buds show themselves, it wants to have a lot of light.
Conclusion: Ginger Is Absolutely Amazing!
Ginger has many health benefits. It seems to be a true healer.
The compounds it contains are not vitamins or minerals that we usually talk about, but other substances as gingerols and shogaols.
These substances have proven their effectiveness in treating several different illnesses, for instance nausea, cold and flu, motion sickness and potentially as a treatment of cancer.
Ginger has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities.
The ginger is quite pungent in its taste, and is perhaps more common in Asian cuisine.
Even though you might not be accustomed to eating ginger I hope that this article has proved to you that it's worth adding to you diet!
It’s not hard to start making a cup of ginger tea now and then or try to spice up your cooking with ginger.
Good luck and remember, don't overdo it!
Frequently asked questions about ginger
Is ginger good for you?
Yes, ginger has for centuries been used as a herbal remedy. Studies show that ginger can alleviate nausea, relieves motion sickness, works anti-inflammatory, relieves muscle pains, prevents colds and boosts your overall immune system. Ginger might also be used to fight cancer and prevent strokes and heart disease.
Are ginger chews good for you?
Yes, IF the ginger chews contain real ginger and not too much sugar! Normally ginger chews are made from pieces from real ginger root, which means that they contain its natural beneficial nutrients. You can make the chews yourself, it’s not hard. All you need is ginger, water and sugar. That way you know for sure what they contain.
How to make a ginger tea?
It's very easy to make a ginger tea yourself. You make it by cutting a few pieces of ginger root and steeping it in boiling water. Then just strain them out. Or you can grate ginger directly in your cup with hot water. You can also in both scenarios squeeze some fresh lemon to get it just right. One of the health benefits of ginger tea, is that it can contribute to better digestion.
Can I grow ginger myself?
Yes, if you can provide the right conditions for it. Ginger needs warmth and light. You can even buy a ginger root in your grocery store that you put in a pot. Two-thirds of the root goes in the soil. With some luck and care you’ll soon see some little green buds on the top of the root.