The Health Benefits of Ginger

By on April 1, 2008

ginger root

Brief History of Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is native to Asia, and Arabian traders brought it to Ancient Rome about 2000 years ago. Chinese herbalists have used ginger since the 4th century BC for treating nausea, cold, coughs and a variety of other ailments.

Ginger was introduced to the West Indies and Mexico by Spanish explorers where it now thrives. Ginger is used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for treating inflammation and rheumatism.

The largest producers of ginger are India, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Australia.

Nutrients in Ginger

Ginger is a good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper and vitamin B6. Ginger is a source of gingerol. a potent inhibitor of NO (nitric oxide) synthesis, which in plain language means it has powerful antioxidant capabilities.

Fresh and dry ginger are similar in their properties. The only difference is that fresh ginger is not so easily digested as the dried type.

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Ginger root, raw Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 80 kcal (333 kJ)
* Carbohydrates 17.77 g
Dietary fiber 2.0 g
* Fat 0.75 g
* Protein 1.82 g
* Vitamin B6 0.160 mg
* Folate (Vit. B9) 11 mcg
* Magnesium 43 mg
Phosphorus 34 mg
Potassium 415 mg
Manganese 0.229 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Ginger for Cholesterol Reduction

In cholesterol-fed rabbits treated with ginger, total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced and the atherogenic induct was reduced from 4.7 to 1.12.

The marked rise in body weights, glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids and phospholipids in serum of rats that followed 6 weeks of high-fat diet treatment were significantly reduced by extract of ginger treatment.

The effect of ginger powder on lipid levels was investigated in a double blind controlled clinical trial involving forty-five patients in the treatment group and 40 patients in placebo group. There was a significant reduce in triglycerides, cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL).

Ginger as an Anti Inflammatory

In the Ayurvedic system of medicine ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory drug.

Ginger suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, much the same way non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do, but without the undesirable side effects.

A common side effect of treating inflammation with modern drugs is that they can lead to ulcer formation in the digestive system. Ginger not only prevents the symptoms of inflammation, but it also prevents ulcers in the digestive tract.

Ginger for Arthritismangoes

Ginger extract has been shown to inhibit chemokine (inflammatory protein) expression, which may be useful for suppressing arthritic inflammation. A number of commercial preparations are marketed as arthritis treatments and contain 500 mg dried, powdered ginger rhizome.

At the Department of Rheumatology in Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 patients with gonarthritis (inflammation of the knee joint) showed a significant decrease in pain levels after 6 months of treatment with ginger extract.

A study reported more than 75 percent of patients receiving 3 to 7 g of powdered ginger daily for 56 days had a significant reduction in pain and swelling associated with either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.

Other studies have shown ginger to be effective in reducing inflammation and swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and muscular discomfort. 261 osteoarthritis sufferers received ginger extract or placebo in a 6-week double blind study. The group who took the ginger extract experienced a reduction in knee pain while standing and while walking.

In one clinical trial, extract of ginger and greater galangal extract significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

The World Health Organization (WHO) document (2000) reports that 5 to 10 percent ginger extract administration brought about full or partial pain relief, or recovery of joint function and a decrease of swelling in patients with chronic rheumatic pain and lower back pain.

Zinaxin, a highly concentrated extract of ginger, significantly reduced the knee pain in 247 patients with osteoarthritis.

A of combination ginger and Tinospora cordifolia showed better results for rheumatoid arthritis compared to other traditional medicines.

In Thailand, powdered ginger, together with cloves, are mixed with water and rubbed on the body for the relief of rheumatism.

Ginger as an Anti Fungal

In a study of 36 extracts from 29 plant species, ginger had evident anti fungal properties against a wide range of fungi, including strains that were resistant to synthetic anti fungals.

Ginger for Cancer Prevention

The active constituents in ginger are polyphenolic compounds called gingerols, and have been shown to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with the development of gastric and colon cancer.

Ginger for Motion Sickness

Ginger has been proved in a number of clinical studies to be an effective remedy for treating or preventing nausea, dizziness, and vomiting caused by travel or motion sickness.

In a clinical trial subjects were subjected to a rotating chair while blindfolded under controlled conditions to induce motion sickness. It was found that ginger was significantly more effective in reducing motion sickness than the antihistaminic dimenhydrinate and a placebo.

There is evidence to suggest that powdered ginger is more effective than Dramamine for motion sickness.

Ginger for Morning Sickness

Double-blind crossover studies showed that 1 g/day/4 days powdered ginger diminished or eliminated symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (severe form of morning sickness)

In a double-blind randomized crossover trial, 1 g/day of ginger was effective in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness and did not appear to have any side effect or adverse effect on pregnancy.

A survey has found that whereas 55 percent of sources recommended ginger as being safe and effective in pregnancy, 16 percent stated that ginger should not be used in pregnancy due to its potential to cause miscarriage.

References:
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Borrelli F, Capasso R, Aviello G, Pittler MH, Izzo AA. Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Apr;105(4):849-56. PMID: 15802416.
5. Fischer-Rasmussen W, Kjaer SK, Dahl C, Asping U. Ginger treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum. 1: Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1991 Jan 4;38(1):19-24. PMID: 1988321.
6. Ficker CE, Arnason JT, Vindas PS, Alvarez LP, Akpagana K, Gbéassor M, De Souza C, Smith ML. Inhibition of human pathogenic fungi by ethnobotanically selected plant extracts. Mycoses. 2003 Feb;46(1-2):29-37. PMID: 12588480.
7. Ficker CE, Smith ML, Susiarti S, Leaman DJ, Irawati C, Arnason JT. Inhibition of human pathogenic fungi by members of Zingiberaceae used by the Kenyah (Indonesian Borneo). J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Apr;85(2-3):289-93. PMID: 12639754.
8. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8. PMID: 11710709.
9. Wigler I, Grotto I, Caspi D, Yaron M. The effects of Zintona EC (a ginger extract) on symptomatic gonarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Nov;11(11):783-9. PMID: 14609531.
10. Phan PV, Sohrabi A, Polotsky A, Hungerford DS, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger extract components suppress induction of chemokine expression in human synoviocytes. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Feb;11(1):149-54. PMID: 15750374
11. Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders. Med Hypotheses. 1992 Dec;39(4):342-8. PMID: 1494322.
12. Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and rheumatic disorders. Med Hypotheses. 1989 May;29(1):25-8. PMID: 2501634.
13. Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32. PMID: 16117603.
14. Mahady GB, Pendland SL, Yun GS, Lu ZZ, Stoia A. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and the gingerols inhibit the growth of Cag A+ strains of Helicobacter pylori. Anticancer Res. 2003 Sep-Oct;23(5A):3699-702. PMID: 14666666.
15. Langner E, Greifenberg S, Gruenwald J. Ginger: history and use. Adv Ther. 1998 Jan-Feb;15(1):25-44. PMID: 10178636.
16. Lien HC, Sun WM, Chen YH, Kim H, Hasler W, Owyang C. Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Mar;284(3):G481-9. PMID: 12576305.
17. Qian DS, Liu ZS. [Pharmacologic studies of antimotion sickness actions of ginger] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1992 Feb;12(2):95-8, 70. PMID: 1498536
18. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Spices. James A. Duke

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3 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    December 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I just found the benefits of ginger thanks to Dr. Oz. I have been suffering for about a year with chronic inflammation mainly affecting my feet. I started to steep fresh ginger and powdered ginger in water and noticed the difference within a day. I went from waking up in the mornings where it took me about 20 steps before it was tolerable to walk to now being active and even fitting in walking for my exercise. So I am now going to share that information with my readers on my blog. I like your site and will be back. I am always wanting to learn more about food that have health benefits opposed to medications. Thanks for the information.
    Jennifer

  2. June

    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Just came across your ginger seeping advice. Not sure what you mean though. After you seep the ginger in water, do you soak your feet or drink it? Thanks.
    June

  3. Pingback: NAZAHERBAL » Blog Archive Ginger

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