Main Health Benefits of Ginger
- Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Reduces motion sickness
- Improves digestive disorders and reduces discomfort from heartburn, reflux, bloating and diarrhoea
- Lowers inflammation and relieves joint and muscle pain
- Reduces migraine pain
- Supports immunity during infections
- Supports brain function
- Improves cardiovascular health and function
- Eases menstrual pain
- Improves blood circulation around the body and brain
Other common names
What is The History of Ginger?
Ginger is one of the oldest, most popular and most versatile of spices. Known as the ‘universal medicine’ in Ayurveda, ginger has been indispensable to Indian and Chinese medicine, and cuisine since antiquity and it was one of the earliest spices to reach the West.
Ginger became so important in British food and medicine that not only the spice but also the plant was transported to Australia on the First Fleet. In the early 19th century Chinese immigrants to Australia also brought with them ginger plants. Chinese sailors chewed ginger to prevent sea sickness and it was widely used in Ancient China to treat arthritis.
A close relative of turmeric (Curcuma longa) ginger has been widely studied with positive results for a variety of issues making it one of the more accepted herbs in Western medicine.
Ginger contains a volatile oil and resin known collectively as oleoresin which contains sesqueterpines, such as zingiberene, and pungent phenolic components such as gingerol, shogaol and zingerone. Among them, the gingerols and shogaols are considered as the major bioactive constituents of fresh and dried ginger, respectively. It is interesting to note that one of the main constituents – gingerol - exhibits a biologic activity profile similar to that of curcumin.
Ginger powder is also a good source of the following vitamins and minerals - phosphorus (168mg/100g), magnesium (214mg/100g), potassium (1320mg/100g), manganese (33.3mg/100g), zinc (3.64mg/100g), iron (19.8mg/100g) and niacin (9.62mg/100g).
Targets and Mechanisms of Action
- Shows an anti-emetic effect by reducing stomach contractions and increasing intestinal system activity
- Prevents nausea and vomiting by having an inhibitory effect on 5-HT serotonin receptors in a way similar to anti-emetic drugs. Some of gingers constituents - 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol and galano-lactogen - have anti-serotonin-3 (5HT3) effects
- Provides significant reduction in nausea and vomiting for morning sickness, postoperative nausea and vomiting, chemotherapy induced and anti-retroviral induced nausea and vomiting.
- Ginger powerfully enhances the anti-emetic effects of the anti-nausea drugs granisetron and dexamethasone when taken during chemotherapy
- Reduces nausea and vomiting in HIV patients undergoing anti-retroviral treatments
- Reduces motion sickness by preventing the development of gastric dysrhythmias (electrical activity in the stomach) and the elevation of plasma vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone)
- Accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral (stomach cavity) contractions
- Inhibits the biosynthesis of prostaglandins
- Has pharmacological properties similar to novel classes of dual acting NSAIDs
- Can inhibit arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism through both the cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) pathways and have notably fewer side effects than conventional NSAIDs
- Is as effective as mefenamic acid (an NSAID) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhoea (period pain)
- Clinical studies have found ginger to be as effective as many pain pharmaceuticals and no significant differences found in relief, stability or aggravation of symptoms
- Showed to be as effective as Ibuprofen in the management of postsurgical complications including pain
- Provides symptomatic relief in rheumatoid arthritis and may also provide total relief by stopping bone destruction
- Effective for the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis - shown to be effective in reducing pain on movement, handicap and knee circumference in patients with inflammation of the knee joint
- Relieves pain, accelerates wound healing and patients have earlier oral intake of medicines and food which ensures they recover rapidly and leads to shorter hospital stays
- Is as effective as Novafen (a strong analgesic) at relieving pain in girls with primary dysmenorrhoea
- Treating symptoms of dysmenorrhoea with ginger is superior to muscle relaxation exercises
- Provides reductions in pain and improvement on functional status in migraines
- Works as a brain tonic to enhance cognitive function
- Shows statistically significant improvements in attention, cognitive processing and working memory, including speed of recall and quality of memory
Anti-Proliferative and Anti-Cancer Activity
- Shows distinctive anticancer activities when examined for its antiproliferative activity against acute monocytic leukemia cells
- Both in vitro and in vivo anti-cancer activity has been demonstrated for whole ginger extract in the management of prostate cancer. Whole ginger extract exerts significant growth inhibition and death inducing effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells
- In cancer cells, ginger is able to disturb cell cycle progression, impair reproductive capacity, modulate cell cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induce caspase driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis (cell death) in human prostate cancer cells
- Ginger interferes with the colonisation of cells by enterogenic (gut) bacteria thus reducing diarrhoea and reducing bacterial load
- Displays one of the highest anti-adhesion activities against Campylobacter jejuni
- Modulates obesity through various potential mechanisms including increasing thermogenesis, increasing lipolysis, suppression of lipogenesis, inhibition of intestinal fat absorption and controlling appetite
- Significantly improves fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin and insulin sensitivity
- Reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels as well as causing a reduction in low density lipoprotein levels and an increase in high density lipoprotein levels