What are the Health Benefits of Ginger?

Susan Grindstaff

Ginger is most often used in a dried, ground form that is usually available in the spice section of grocery stores. Though most people associate ginger with cooking and spicy foods, the health benefits of ginger are believed to be numerous. It is a favorite of many herbal practitioners, and can be purchased in capsule form at most health food stores. The primary health benefits of ginger are believed to be its anti-inflammatory properties and gastrointestinal relief.

Ginger extract is made from raw ginger and can be used to settle the stomach.
Ginger extract is made from raw ginger and can be used to settle the stomach.

Double blind studies seemed to indicate that ginger might be effective in relieving several types of stomach distress. In addition to gas relief, ginger may also reduce nausea, especially in conditions such as seasickness and motion sickness. The results of the studies seemed to indicate that many symptoms associated with these condition were significantly diminished when using ginger as a treatment. In addition to nausea relief, ginger apparently relieved symptoms such as cold sweats, headache, and vertigo.

Ginger is available in capsule form.
Ginger is available in capsule form.

An April 2005 issue of the medical publication "Obstetrics and Gynecology" reported that ginger brought measurable relief of vomiting in women who were pregnant. Roughly 70% of the women who participated in the study experienced a marked decrease in occurrences of vomiting, and the severity of the episodes. The study also found that ginger may be safer than many of the anti-vomiting medications commonly prescribed during pregnancy. The study quoted in the magazine claimed that ginger did not cause any difficulties with the pregnancies or deliveries, and did not appear to have any adverse effects on the fetus. It is generally accepted that no two pregnancies are the same, so women should probably consult with their own physician before taking any medication or supplements.

Ginger, which is served with sushi, aids in digestion.
Ginger, which is served with sushi, aids in digestion.

Another study reported in the medical journal "Osteoarthritis Cartilage" highlighted the health benefits of ginger in association with pain and swelling due to arthritis. The study involved 29 patients, and more than 75% of them responded well to treatment using ginger. According to the study, arthritic swelling and pain were both significantly reduced. Most researchers believed that the anti-inflammatory health benefits of ginger are due to compounds called gingerols.

Ginger tea or raw ginger helps soothe an upset stomach.
Ginger tea or raw ginger helps soothe an upset stomach.

The research devoted to the health benefits of ginger is somewhat slim, and may not be conclusive. People who suffer gastrointestinal problems or inflammation may want to check with their physicians for professional advice. There does not appear to be any known serious side effects associated with ginger, but people who are already taking medication for their condition should be sure that ginger would not cause any dangerous interaction.

A ginger capsule may help reduce the urge to vomit.
A ginger capsule may help reduce the urge to vomit.
Ginger root, popular in Japanese and other Asian cuisines, can be sliced, diced, grated, powdered or pickled.
Ginger root, popular in Japanese and other Asian cuisines, can be sliced, diced, grated, powdered or pickled.

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Discussion Comments

ddljohn

My mom must have been aware of ginger's health benefits because it was a staple treatment she used whenever my brother and I got sick as kids.

If we had an upset stomach, she would make ginger tea for us with honey. If we caught a cold or had a fever, we would take baths with ginger powder in it. It would make us sweat and our fever would go down right away.

I guess I'm really lucky to have been introduced to ginger and its benefits so early. I'm definitely going to put it into use when I have kids.

SteamLouis

Ginger is so great for morning sickness. I ate ginger candies all throughout both of my pregnancies and it provided a lot of relief for my morning sickness. And it tastes pretty good too!

Just recently my sister was having motion sickness because of an ear infection. She said she couldn't ride the subway anymore because of it and that's how she goes to work. I sent her some ginger candies right away. She started having them before she got on the subway and during. It treated her nausea really well.

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