The 10 main benefits of ginger 

Ginger is a widely used plant worldwide. According to the European Pharmacopoeia, the active part of the plant consists of the rhizome (underground stem) of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, which contains at least 15 ml of essential oil per kg of dried plant.

History of ginger

In China, ginger has been known about since at least the Zhou dynasty (eleventh century BC to around 221 BC)2, while in India its use dates back over 3,000 years. It was one of the first plants exported from the east to the west. In addition, Pliny the Elder, the first century AD Roman writer and soldier, cited the properties of ginger in his work ‘Natural History’1

The first description of ginger was provided by doctor, pharmacologist and botanist Dioscorides in his masterpiece On Medical Material. Published in the first century AD, Dioscorides describes over 600 plants in the work’s five volumes. The author gives ginger the following characteristics2:

’Ginger is a peculiar plant, growing for the most part in Trogodytica and Arabia: the green part of it is used for many purposes, just as we use rue, boiling in drinks and mixing into boiled dishes. It is small rootlets, like the roots of the cyperus, whitish, peppery tasting, and fragrant. Ginger can be usefully eaten, and often mixed into sauces. It has the virtue of being warming and digestive. It softens the belly slightly and is profitable for the stomach. It resolves impediments the obscure sight and is blended into medicines against poisons. In short, it has almost the strength of pepper.’

Benefits of ginger

Since it was first discovered, ginger has been used as a natural plant to alleviate gastric problems5. These uses gave rise to multiple scientific studies that have confirmed its contribution to the immune system and its antioxidant properties.

Ginger has ten science-backed properties: 

  1. Support for the immune system3.
  2. It contributes to vascular health and helps maintain a healthy heart4
  3. Aids digestion5
  4. Provides relief during travel sickness6
  5. Helps to maintain joint and bone health7
  6. Helps to improve vitality8.
  7. Helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels9
  8. Has important antioxidant properties10
  9. Ginger helps control inflammatory response11
  10. Maintains respiratory tract health12.

1. Support for the immune system

Ginger root contributes to the body’s natural defences, supporting the body’s defence1. In addition, because of its activity within the inflammatory cascade13, ginger helps control the body’s response to inflammation11.

In ancient cultures, doctors focused on herbs to support the body’s immune system. Today, many societies use ginger and ginger products for immune system support3.

2. Cardiovascular health

On cardiovascular health, some scientific evidence supports the protective role of ginger in cardiovascular function14, which in turn helps maintain a healthy heart4

Research has indicated that ginger can be beneficial in reducing obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors, such as body fat mass, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and insulin resistance15.

3. Supports digestion

Ginger has been used for a range of different conditions, including those affecting the digestive tract. Data shows that this plant contributes to the normal functioning of the intestinal tract, to physical well-being, as well as healthy stomach function during early pregnancy5.

A recent study has shown that ginger accelerated gastric emptying and stimulate antral contractions in healthy volunteers and patients with functional dyspepsia16. In conclusion, ginger accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral contractions in healthy volunteers17.

These effects could be beneficial in groups of symptomatic patients.

4. Travel sickness relief

According to ESCOP (the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy), ginger can be indicated for nausea and vomiting caused by kinetosis, colloquially known as traveller sickness, because it usually occurs when travelling18. Ginger aids normal stomach function during travel6.

Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for motion sickness. However, its mechanism of action is unknown. It is also recommended for the nausea often experienced in pregnancy, but always under medical prescription18. This is because it contributes to normal stomach function during early pregnancy5.

Some studies have focused on investigating whether ginger could help to counteract the nausea associated with sickness by decreasing the development of gastric arrhythmia and elevated plasma vasopressin19.

5. Joint mobility

Joints are other parts of the body where ginger has been shown to have benefits. This plant contributes to joint mobility and prevents any stiffness that may be experienced on first waking in the morning7.

One study showed that a highly purified and standardised ginger extract had a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of knee joint wear20.

Other studies investigate the potential effects of ginger on pain and inflammation associated with certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis11, 21.

6. Helps to improve vitality

Ginger consumption helps to increase energy8 and is very useful in cases of fatigue. This is because it has stimulating and invigorating properties that contribute to fatigue resistance8.

During a controlled trial, ginger-separated moxibustion was observed to act on symptoms of fatigue and depression, and on sleep quality in people with chronic fatigue22. This is an important benefit, since fatigue is in many ways linked to sleep quality and depressive states in people who suffer from it22.

7. Maintains healthy blood sugar levels

Ginger helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels9. The results of various research studies have shown that ginger could reduce fasting blood glucose and haemoglobin A1C levels in patients with diabetes23.

8. Antioxidant properties

The balance between the oxidation process and the concentration of antioxidants is very important to the health of the body.

Scientific evidence shows that ginger has strong antioxidant properties in vitro and in vivo. The results indicated that ginger extract had significant uptake of superoxide radicals and lipid peroxidation24.

People who took ginger extract continuously tended to increase their blood levels of antioxidant enzymes and decrease their oxidative stress blood levels. This result could confirm the antioxidant activity of ginger22.

9. Regulates inflammatory response

Ginger has been shown to help regulate inflammatory response11. Thanks to this action, consuming ginger helps promote the normal balance of inflammatory hormones11.

This inflammatory response happens because fresh ginger contains gingerol. This bioactive component is the reason several studies have referred to its many beneficial health effects, including anti-inflammatory effects25.

Scientific studies have confirmed that taking 4 g of ginger can promote the recovery of muscle strength after intense exercise15, thanks to its contribution to regulating inflammatory response. 

10. Respiratory tract health

Ginger also maintains bronchial health and maintains optimal secretions in the respiratory tract12. It also maintains the health of the respiratory tract and supports the normal functioning of the airways, natural breathing and maintains optimal immunological balance in the respiratory tract12

Strength studies performed on the smooth muscle of human airways show that ginger could relax pre-contracted airways, depending on the dose26.

Ginger recipes 

Thanks to its aroma, taste and texture, ginger can be used to make everything from infusions to cookies, and even dishes like ginger chicken or sushi. 

Ginger Infusion Recipe

Making a ginger-based infusion is quick and simple. Where powdered ginger is used to make the infusion, the recommended dose for adults is 0.5-2 g/day in a single intake or divided into several intakes. If consumed to avoid sickness and vomiting, it is advisable to consume 30 minutes before starting the journey27.

However, if ‘raw’ ginger is being used, chop the ginger into thin sheets before leaving it to stand for about 20 minutes in boiling water. After this step, allow the hot infusion to cool for a few hours and add small ice cubes. 

Ginger Chicken Recipe

These ingredients are for making ginger chicken for six people:

  • 1 kg boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 15 g fresh chopped coriander
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 400 ml skimmed coconut milk
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1l chicken broth

How to prepare: 

  • Cut each chicken thigh into 2 or 3 large pieces, then place in a bowl with the ginger, garlic, chilli powder, half the coriander, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir well, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinade until ready to cook. For the best flavour, do this in the morning or, better still, the night before.
  • Peel and cut the onions into quarters, then chop them very finely in a food processor; for a curry you want the onion very fine. Heat the remaining oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes until smooth. Add the turmeric and cook for 1 more minute, stirring well.
  • Add the chicken mixture with the marinade and cook over a high heat until the chicken browns. Pour in the coconut milk, add the chilli and broth, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes until chicken is tender. Add the remaining coriander, before serving with pilau rice, a bowl of mango chutney (we like Geeta’s mango chutney), and some poppadoms or naan bread.

Ginger Cookie Recipe

These ingredients are for making ginger and chocolate cookies:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking cocoa
  • 1 and 1/4 tsps of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 7 ounces of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup coarse sugar

How to make: 

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until soft and fluffy (around 5 to 7 minutes). 
  • Fold in the molasses, water and ginger root. 
  • Combine the flour, cocoa, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, then gradually add to creamy mixture and mix well. 
  • Fold in the chocolate. 
  • Cover and refrigerate until easy to knead (approximately 2 hours).

Ginger consumption around the world

Ginger consumption tends to increase in the winter months, but it is being used more and more at all times of year because of its extensive benefits.

Ginger has seen one of the highest growths in production and consumption in recent years. Proof of this is the over 4 million tonnes of the plant produced worldwide in 201928

The main exporting countries of ginger are India, China, Thailand and Peru. Peru has grown in the global ginger market in recent years to become the fourth global exporter of this plant, whose demand experienced a strong rebound in 2020 because of the increase in the consumption of healthy foods.

How to consume ginger

In capsules, powders or as essential oil, the benefits of ginger can be obtained in a variety of formulas.

Ginger can be used as a spice and in infusions of 0.5 g to 2 g daily. In addition, if ginger is consumed to prevent kinetosis (travel sickness), it should be consumed 30 minutes before starting the journey.

Organic ginger

All Anastore products made from ginger are organically grown and are manufactured according to GMP standards. GMPs are the good manufacturing practice guidelines in force in the European food industry.

Sources

  1. ‘Natural History’, Guy Serbat
  2. Dr. med. Dipl. oec. troph. Uwe Siedentopp Ahnatalstraße 5. D-34128 Kassel, Alemania. Elsevier. 
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  10. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA validation (ID 4200).
  11. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA validation (ID 2066).
  12. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA validation (ID 2868).
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  14. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7.
  15. Anh NH, Kim SJ, Long NP, Min JE, Yoon YC, Lee EG, Kim M, Kim TJ, Yang YY, Son EY, Yoon SJ, Diem NC, Kim HM, Kwon SW. Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 6;12(1):157. doi: 10.3390/nu12010157. PMID: 31935866; PMCID: PMC7019938.
  16. Hu ML, Rayner CK, Wu KL, Chuah SK, Tai WC, Chou YP, Chiu YC, Chiu KW, Hu TH. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan 7;17(1):105-10. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105. PMID: 21218090; PMCID: PMC3016669.
  17. Wu KL, Rayner CK, Chuah SK, Changchien CS, Lu SN, Chiu YC, Chiu KW, Lee CM. Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;20(5):436-40. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e3282f4b224. PMID: 18403946.
  18. Barbara Toth, Tamás Lantos, Péter Hegyi, Réka Viola, Andrea Vasas, Ria Benkö, Zoltán Gyöngyi, Áron Vincze, Péter Csécsei , Alexandra Mikó, Dávid Hegyi, Andrea Szentesi, Mária Matuz, Dezsö Csupor. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): an alternative for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. A meta-analysis.
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  20. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8. Doi: 10.1002/1529-0131 (200111)44:113.0.co;2-j. PMID: 11710709.
  21. Al-Nahain A, Jahan R, Rahmatullah M. Zingiber officinale: A Potential Plant against Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis. 2014;2014:159089. doi: 10.1155/2014/159089. Epub 2014 May 27. PMID: 24982806; PMCID: PMC4058601.
  22. Lin YF, Zhu JF, Chen YD, Sheng JL, He JJ, Zhang SY, Jin XQ. [Effect of ginger-separated moxibustion on fatigue, sleep quality and depression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomized controlled trial]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2020 Aug 12;40(8):816-20. Chinese. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20190722-k0001. PMID: 32869588.
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  25. Hwang YH, Kim T, Kim R, Ha H. The Natural Product 6-Gingerol Inhibits Inflammation-Associated Osteoclast Differentiation via Reduction of Prostaglandin E₂ Levels. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 16;19(7):2068. doi: 10.3390/ijms19072068. PMID: 30013004; PMCID: PMC6073224.
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  28. Food and Agriculture Organitation of the United Nations.