Ginger’s unique aroma and taste have made it a staple of Asian cuisine for centuries, but what is equally notable about this wonderful spice is what it can do beyond your taste buds. Ginger is one of many herbs and spices that have a long tradition of being used for health support. Now modern science is showing that this ancient favorite still has plenty to offer. With many useful nutrients packed into a small package, just a little bit of ginger in your life may go a long way.
Soothe What Ails You
The most common use for ginger is to support digestive health. By keeping things running smoothly, you are less likely to encounter issues like nausea, loose bowel movements and upset stomach. But what exactly is behind these problems? Although there is no common answer, one potential issue is delayed emptying of the stomach during digestion. Ginger can help in this regard.* In one study, ginger reduced the amount of time it took to empty the stomach in people with indigestion. (1)
There are a lot of ways that you can take your ginger. Ginger tea, ginger as a spice, ginger oil, and even ginger supplements. One nice thing about ginger supplements is that they can combine ginger with other ingredients that can support your health. Enzymedica’s Digest™ Pregnancy is a great example, bringing together digestive enzymes and organic ginger to help with healthy digestion during pregnancy. Along with sea sickness and certain medical treatments, pregnancy is one of the more common situations where nausea may pop up.
How can one little root do so much? Science shows that in the body, ginger helps lower amounts of intestinal gas, while soothing and relaxing the overall digestive tract. In many cases, digestive issues are caused not by what you eat, but by your normal processes being disrupted. By using products like ginger to support your natural digestive functions, you eliminate some potential issues.
Relief comes in many different forms. Soothing stomach discomfort is one thing, but in some cases, a good workout may leave you feeling a little worse for wear. Ginger may help you in this regard.* In one study, people performing elbow exercises took ginger after their workouts. Over an 11-day period, they reported significantly less muscle discomfort. Don’t think of this as an immediate fix, more of something to complement your recovery routine after a heavy workout. (2)
Ginger may have other applications for body support as well. Your joints are an important part of your daily life and functions, but for various reasons, they can have issues. These can range from symptoms like stiffness to major discomfort. Studies showed that after taking ginger, those with joint issues reported feeling less discomfort. (3)
Another area where ginger has been tested is during menstruation, an issue that women deal with all too often. Ginger powder proved to be helpful here as well, especially when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period. (4)
Digestion and discomfort are the two most studied uses for ginger. However, there may be applications in other health areas as well.
One of ginger’s primary active ingredients is called gingerol, and we are learning more about it each day. For example, it may serve as a nice natural complement to your body’s immune functions.* Studies have shown that gingerol may help contribute to the health of the gums.* A little ginger while you brush your teeth? It may be worth a try. (5)
One study showed potential use for heart support as well.* More studies are needed here, but the potential is definitely something to be excited about. (6)
Whether you want to use a ginger supplement or plan on having a hot cup of tea, know that you are using one of the rare herbal remedies that not only has a long history of use, but studies to back up its effectiveness. Keep this in mind the next time you stock up your spice rack.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease.
1. Hu, M.-L., Rayner, C. K., Wu, K.-L., Chuah, S.-K., Tai, W.-C., Chou, Y.-P., & Hu, T.-H. (2011). Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG, 17(1), 105–110. http://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105
2. Black, C.D., Herring, M.P., Hurley, D.J., & O'Connor, P.J. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J Pain. 2010;11(9):894-903.
3. Altman, R.D., & Marcussen, K.C. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001;44(11):2531-8.
4. Ozgoli, G., Goli, M., & Moattar, F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(2):129-32.
5. Park, M., Bae, J., Lee, & D.S. Antibacterial activity of -gingerol and -gingerol isolated from ginger rhizome against periodontal bacteria. Phytother Res. 2008;22(11):1446-9.
6. Alizadeh-Navaei, R., Roozbeh, F., Saravi, M., Pouramir, M., Jalali, F., & Moghadamnia, A.A. Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial. Saudi Med J. 2008;29(9):1280-