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Top Ginger Supplement Benefits and Apothecary Advice

Most people are familiar with ginger as a fragrant, spicy condiment, but the benefits of ginger as a supplement go far beyond green juice and stir fry recipes. The spice comes from the rhizome, or rootstalk, of the perennial plant. Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, like turmeric

People have been supplementing with ginger medicinally since the beginning of recorded history1. As a flavoring ingredient, ginger goes back even further (before written history existed!). The culinary staple and medicinal remedy have the potential to treat arthritis, heart conditions associated with hypertension, the common cold, and nausea.

  • Native to: Asia
  • Common names: Ginger root
  • Habitat: Tropical climates, lover of heat and humidity
  • Therapeutic compounds: Volatile oils (zingiberene), gingerols, shogaols, paradols, flavonoids 

Ahead, stay tuned for beginner herbalist information: the benefits of ginger, dosage suggestions, side effects, and recipe inspiration.

Traditional and Modern Uses

The benefits of ginger span centuries. Scientific journals point to its use in Indian medicine (Ayurveda), Iranian Traditional Medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to historians2, ginger used to be a luxury good on trade routes. The Roman Empire valued ginger as an important trade item and export commodity. 

In folklore, people purportedly medicated with ginger for3:

  • Memory issues
  • Testosterone, estrogen, and fertility concerns
  • Digestion 
  • Nausea
  • Colds
  • Circulation 
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines

Modern research featuring ginger supplements shows promise. Ginger may be an effective part of an alternative treatment plan for many common ailments, in addition to some chronic diseases:

  • Digestion: A 2020 review of studies4 analyzed 43 clinical trials with ginger. The evaluated papers proved that ginger has properties which make it a digestive enhancer. This means it aids in the process of gastric emptying (food moving from the stomach to the lower digestive tract). Ginger may also benefit people with persistent indigestion based on earlier research from 20115.
  • Antiemetic (anti-nausea): Many studies have confirmed the anti-nausea benefits of ginger. It is widely recommended6 for alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with seasickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy.
  • Arthritis: In the same 2020 review of studies mentioned above, researchers analyzed the results of six different studies investigating the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). All six studies reported reduced pain in the participants who took ginger compared to the control group.
  • Asthma: In a study7 of patients with asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), ginger reduced the length of their stay in the intensive care unit, the need for mechanical ventilation, and asthmatic symptoms.
  • Menstruation: Studies show8 that ginger may help people with heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB). Formulations with ginger have the potential to reduce blood loss and pain associated with menstruation. 
  • Alzheimer’s: The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger might work as a multi-target-directed strategy for the complex disease mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s. Researchers have initial research findings9 from animal studies to suggest a positive correlation between ginger and reduced AD symptoms in rats with memory deficits. 
  • Cancer: Though it’s too soon to draw definite conclusions, ginger may reduce10 inflammatory signaling in some cancers, particularly cancers of the GI tract. Since we know that inflammation is one mechanism behind the development of cancer, ginger holds special value as part of an integrated treatment plan for chronic, inflammatory diseases. 

Scientists also know that ginger contains at least 115 beneficial compounds. Of these, gingerols are most abundant in fresh ginger, responsible for its characteristic spicy aroma and taste. Once dried, the benefits come from shogaols, a byproduct of gingerol dehydration. 

Dosing 

No standardized dosage recommendation for ginger exists, but studies in humans have featured doses in the 100mg-500mg range11 of powdered ginger in capsule form with favorable results. Ginger has GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status from the FDA at up to 4 grams12 a day. 

Is Raw Ginger Edible?

Ginger can be consumed raw, ground, or cooked, but its raw form is the spiciest. Ginger possesses a strong, pleasant aroma and spiced flavor. It’s a staple ingredient in kitchens all over the world, perhaps more so in Asian recipes. In its powdered form, ginger is a delightful ingredient for baking. 

Read next: Fermented Beet Powder Supports This One Crucial Molecule 

Potential Side Effects 

Studies13 suggest that ginger is safe for human consumption and poses few side effects. People who are pregnant are often advised to supplement with ginger to ward off nausea. At large doses, people may14 experience the following side effects from ginger:

  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild throat irritation 

Recipes for Your Apothecary

Familiarizing yourself with herbal remedies, like ginger, is essential to building a personal apothecary. One of the unique things about the ginger plant (or root, shall we say), is that it has a mild flavor. There are endless ways to consume the spicy root, so feel free to start with your favorite taste profiles and let your imagination do the rest! 

If you need inspiration for ways to incorporate ginger into your apothecary recipe book, here are some great examples (with our favorite ginger drinks):

  • Fresh ginger tea with lemon
  • Non-alcoholic turmeric and ginger shots
  • Decaf gingerbread lattes 
  • Carrot ginger soup
  • Ginger paste
  • Candied ginger 

Rather than supplementing with ginger alone, it might be advantageous to try blended formulas with multiple medicinal plants, such as herbs, veggies, fruits, and fungi. 

Pick up Purpose+, boil your water, cut up pieces of raw ginger root, and steep all of your plants for five to ten minutes. Together, the potent Ayurvedic herbs work to boost nitric oxide and help you get in a better physical and mental flow. 

With its spicy and sweet flavor, ginger is easy to incorporate into a variety of recipes. Both the raw and dried forms of ginger offer medicinal benefits, making ginger an essential ingredient in anyone’s apothecary.

Summary

Ginger is a powerful antioxidant with therapeutic benefits that have been recognized for thousands of years worldwide. Today, ginger is commonly used as a spice in recipes and a medicinal ingredient in supplements targeting digestion, nausea, headaches, and inflammatory pain.

Numerous clinical studies support ginger’s therapeutic actions. As one of the more accessible spices on the market, supplementing with ginger is great for beginner to advanced herbalists, or just about anyone who wants to experiment with plant medicine! 

 

Sources:
1 https://academic.oup.com/aob/article/105/3/443/91641
2 https://www.worldhistory.org/article/638/trade-in-the-roman-world/
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377061/
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016669/
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/
8 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25298352/
9 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23374025/
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/
11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/
12 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565886/
13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
14 https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger