Health Benefits of Ginger

by Joyce Kopcik


As a child, whenever I would have an upset stomach, my mother would give me ginger ale and soda crackers.  I never realized, growing up, that it was the ginger, in the ginger ale, that helped me recover.  As an adult, I have kept ginger ale in my refrigerator, to have if I was nauseous, seasick, or just felt like my digestive system needed a boost.

Ginger comes from the same family as turmeric and cardamom and has been used for medical purposes in China for over 2,500 years.  If you search for ‘health benefits of ginger’, you will find many possible benefits.  Many of these benefits have not been sufficiently researched, having had few scientific studies with only small test groups, but they are worth mentioning.  If you feel they may help, please do more research about your particular concern and the best method to consume ginger for its treatment.  As with any new treatment, your doctor should be consulted before use.

Benefits of ginger may include:

Improved digestive health: ginger taken before meals enhances gastric emptying, helping to control stomach pain, bloating and gas.

Nausea treatment: nausea caused by seasickness, surgeries, morning sickness and chemotherapy treatments, or just an upset stomach, can often benefit from ginger use, especially when taken as a dietary supplement.

Inflammation reduction: osteoarthritis and muscle soreness from exercise may be helped because of the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.  Arthritis pain may be relieved by taking ginger by mouth or as a compress or patch on the skin.

Improved oral health: active ingredients in ginger (gingerols) help keep oral bacteria from growing and help prevent periodontal disease.

Heart health: ginger may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduce damage to arteries.  In one study, 5 grams of ginger per day for three months significantly lowered LDL cholesterol.

Menstrual cramps:  one study suggests the 1500 mg of ginger powder once a day for three days may help relieve cramps.

General health: ginger contains antioxidants which may reduce the risk of many diseases, including certain cancers, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs.

Ginger may be consumed as a fresh root, ground ginger, ginger capsules or ginger tea, chews or oil.

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