1) Ginger Reduces Inflammation
According to a large analysis of 9 clinical studies, ginger strongly reduces the inflammation marker CRP in the blood. The dose ranged from 1 to 3 g per day, supplemented over 2-3 months [ R].
It seems to be the pungent components in ginger, also known as oleoresins, that have the strongest anti-inflammatory effects based on animal and cellular studies.
One of ginger’s pungent components blocked a pathway ( NF-?B ) that reduces the activity of inflammatory genes in immune cells [ R ].
Like NSAIDs (aspirin and Advil), ginger blocks the inflammation- and pain-causing COX enzymes. This way, ginger reduced the production of inflammatory chemicals (called
leukotrienes and prostaglandins ) in cells and test tubes [ R, R , R].
Ginger stopped the release of inflammatory cytokines in immune cells. It could reduce the important inflammation-causing TNF-alpha , as well as IL-1 beta [ R ].
Some other ginger benefits listed below — such as reducing pain, cramps, and arthritis — are also tightly linked to this key anti-inflammatory activity.
2) Ginger is a Natural Painkiller
Ginger is an effective and safe natural painkiller , according to a review of 7 studies that focused on athletes (SR of RCTs). A ginger dose of roughly 2 g/day may modestly reduce muscle pain from heavy exercise if taken for at least 5 days [ R ].
Ginger worked as well as the popular painkiller diclofenac (an NSAID also known as Voltaren) in a study of 43 people (RCT). The participants took a ginger extract (340 mg) for 4 weeks. Unlike diclofenac, ginger didn’t damage the stomach lining or cause digestive discomfort [ R].
3) Ginger Helps with Menstrual Cramps
Ginger reduced PMS and menstrual pain in 6 trials (RCTs). It was much more effective than placebo and as effective as a painkiller commonly used for menstrual cramps (mefenamic acid, an NSAID) [ R , R].
All studies used the powdered form of ginger at 750 mg-2,000 mg/day. It was most commonly used during the first 3 days of menstruation.
4) Ginger May Help with Osteoarthritis
Ginger improved the osteoarthritis symptoms in some studies. In one large study of 261 people with osteoarthritis (DB-RCT), a standardized ginger extract could reduce the symptoms over 6 weeks. The extract was safe and caused only mild stomach upset [ R].
In another study of 75 people with osteoarthritis (DB-CT), ginger was effective only short-term, but the benefits were not sustained. The discrepancy could also be due to the different ginger extracts used. More research is needed to determine if ginger alone can help people suffering from osteoarthritis [ R, R ].
5) Ginger May Help with Allergies and Asthma
Ginger is probably better for people with Th2 dominance .
Zerumbone, an active ingredient in ginger, enhanced the Th1 and reduced the Th2 response in mice with allergic asthma. It decreased the production of various Th2 immune substances, helping rebalance the
immune system and reduce allergies. Ginger-treated mice had asthmatic symptoms, mucus, and lung inflammation [ R].
Additional animal studies validate this traditional ginger use. Ginger helped improve asthma symptoms by suppressing the Th2 immune response and airway inflammation in mice. It could even affect the activity of genes that perpetuate Th2 dominance, possibly with long-term benefits [ R , R].
Ginger relaxed the airways under asthmatic attack in a tissue study [ R].
6) Ginger Helps with Eczema
6-Shogaol, a ginger compound, reduced eczema in mice. TNF-alpha plays a role in eczema symptoms, such as redness and skin eruptions. Interestingly, eczema is a mixed Th2/Th1 condition, and ginger managed to keep all inflammatory immune substances and pathways under control [ R ].
For example, TNF-alpha, which is typically a Th1 substance, is high in people with eczema. Eczema is an example of a Th2 condition with some Th1 characteristics. Ginger can reduce TNF-alpha levels, along with other Th2 products. So eczema is still more Th2 dominant, which helps to explain these beneficial effects of ginger on eczema overall [ R] .
7) Ginger Protects the Stomach
Ginger increased protective prostaglandins in the stomach lining in 43 osteoarthritis patients who used NSAIDs long-term (RCT). NSAIDs cause stomach damage by reducing prostaglandins in the stomach, which otherwise help maintain healthy stomach mucus. Since this is a big issue with long-term NSAIDs use, ginger could be a safe and effective alternative [ R ].
Cellular studies confirm that ginger reduces stomach damage. Antioxidants in ginger blocked the growth of stomach-ulcer-causing H.Pylori , mainly by fighting free radicals [ R].
8) Ginger Helps with Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is a popular natural remedy for morning sickness during early pregnancy. And according to a review of 6 studies (RCTs),
about 1 g/day reduces morning sickness five-fold if used for at least 4 days in a row [ R , R].
The effects of ginger on nausea are linked to the vagus nerve , the activation of which is usually beneficial. However, over-activating some serotonin receptors (5HT3) in vagus nerve pathway to the gut causes nausea and vomiting [ R].
Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting probably by blocking excess serotonin and vagus nerve activation in the stomach and gut , based on tissue and cellular studies. Many chemotherapy drugs cause nausea by increasing gut serotonin, which ginger may help safely counteract [ R , R].
HIV medications also cause nausea. Ginger (1 g/day) given before the medications improved both mild and severe nausea in a study of 105 HIV positive people after 2 weeks (RCT) [ R , R].
9) Ginger Reduces Stomach Discomfort
Ginger has a long history of use for digestive disorders. It can both increase gut flow to boost digestion and alleviate painful stomach spasms [ R ].
Ginger helps with indigestion. In 126 people with indigestion (DB-RCT), a combination of ginger and artichoke improved digestion, nausea, bloating, and stomach pain after 4 weeks [ R].
It increased stomach emptying in a study of 24 healthy people (DB-RCT). Each person took 1,200 mg of ginger in capsule form before a meal [ R ].
Ginger improved digestion, increased antioxidant enzymes, and reduced cortisol in rats with irritable bowel syndrome [ R].
Most active components in ginger enhanced digestion in animal studies. Since ginger has over 100 active components, some of them could also relax the gut in animal studies, which could help with painful stomach spasms [ R, R , R].
Ginger probably doesn’t help with gallbladder issues. It didn’t have any effect on the gallbladder in a small study of 19 people (DB-RCT) [ R].
10) Ginger Protects the Liver
Ginger Protects from Drugs and Heavy Metals
Ginger (500 mg/day) helped protect the liver from toxic antituberculosis drugs in a study of 60 people with tuberculosis (RCT) [ R].
Ginger helped slow down aging-related liver damage in old rats. It was compared to alpha-
lipoic acid , which had even stronger effects [ R ].
Ginger may protect from the detrimental effects of heavy metals and drugs on the liver . It protected both the liver and kidneys against cadmium toxicity in poisoned rabbits and from aluminum toxicity in rats. It also prevented liver damage and scarring from painkillers such as piroxicam in mice [ R , R, R ].
Ginger Helps with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Ginger (2 g/day) greatly improved liver health, reduced liver enzymes, inflammatory cytokines, and improved insulin resistance in 44 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease after 12 weeks (DB-RCT) [ R ].
Ginger essential oil prevented liver disease and maintained healthy lipid levels in obese mice fed a high-fat diet. It also improved fatty liver disease and high triglycerides in rats by “turning off” fat-producing liver genes [ R, R].
1) Ginger Reduces Inflammation