Natural Health Remedies for You

Ginger Health Benefits

This pages focuses on ginger health benefits - Learn more about ginger and benefits of ginger root for various health problems such as nausea and dizziness caused by motion sickness, morning sickness, respiratory problems, and chronic pain.

What is Ginger?

Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger root is actually the underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale. It belongs to the plant family of Zingiberaceae - the same family as turmeric, cardamom and galangal.

Ginger has long been used in Asia for cooking as well as for treating various ailments. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste (less spicy than the old ginger rhizomes). They are often used to make ginger honey tea in Asia to treat sore throat and many people drink the tea at the onset of a cold.

Old ginger roots are much more fibrous and much less juicy. However, the juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and spicy and is often used as a spice in Indian and Chinese recipes to flavor dishes such as seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Ginger Benefits

The ginger rhizomes contain a mixture of compounds that are beneficial for our body in different ways.

One compound found in ginger is gingerol, which gives ginger its unique taste and spiciness. Gingerols appear to give digestive relief by inhibiting intestinal spasms. Gingerol can also reduce nausea caused by motion sickness or morning sickness during pregnancy and may also relieve migraine headaches. In addition, initial research has found that gingerols seem to be able to inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells.

Ginger also contains zingibain - a special kind of proteolytic enzyme that has the ability to chemically break down protein. Clinical studies have shown that proteolytic enzymes have anti-inflammatory properties, making ginger an effective herb for treating most kinds of arthritis.

In addition, the zingibain in ginger is antibacterial and antiviral. For this reason, ginger has long been used in Asia as a cold or flu remedy. It can also help people with food poisoning.

Ginger contains more than 12 antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals in the body that play a role in causing inflammation.


Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger is very versatile and can be used to treat a variety of ailments.

Some major ginger health benefits include:

  • Nausea: Ginger is antispasmodic and can calm an upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. It is useful for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, or those who have motion sickness. People suffering from nausea as a side-effect of chemotherapy can also benefit from the use of ginger.
  • Pain Relief: Ginger is a rubefacient, which means that when it is applied topically to the skin, it will cause blood to rush to the area causing redness. When this happens, it can bring relief to sore muscles, bumps, and bruises. When taken internally, ginger capsules can help relieve the pain and discomfort of a migraine or toothache.
  • Sore Throat: Because ginger is a rubefacient, it makes a great gargle for laryngitis or for sore throats.
  • Digestive Problems: Ginger can prevent the formation of, or causes the expulsion of gas. It can also be used to stop griping and cramping especially in the abdominal and intestinal area.
  • Arthritis: Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, it is a safe and effective herb to treat inflammation and pain caused by different forms of arthritis.
  • Colds and Flu: Ginger contains nearly a dozen antiviral compounds and is effective against both the common cold viruses (the rhinoviruses) and the flu viruses.
  • Angina: Ginger's antioxidant properties make it an effective herb for angina. Ginger lowers cholesterol and prevents platelets from sticking together. It also boosts the strength of heart muscle tissue.
Other ginger health benefits include relief for asthma and athlete's foot.


Ginger Health Benefits - Dosage

If you like the taste of ginger, you can use fresh ginger root or powder for cooking, tea, and honey drinks.

For ginger supplements, look for products that have a standardized dose of 20 percent (about 200 mg) gingerol.

Recommended dosage is 1 to 2 grams of powdered ginger, which is the equivalent of 10 grams (about 1 tablespoon) of fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons of ginger syrup, or 2 ml of ginger extract.


Ginger Side Effects

Ginger is generally considered a very safe herb.

Some people may develop a rash on the skin if ginger is applied topically.

Also, in powdered form, ginger is potent and taking too much powdered ginger may result in heartburn, bloating, gas, belching and nausea.

Ginger may also adversely affect individuals with gallstones.


Duke, J.A., Dr. Duke's Essential Herbs, (Rodale Books, 2000).
Duke, J.A., The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, (Mass Market Paperback, 2002).

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