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Health Benefits of Ginger

What Should I Know About Ginger?

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Updated May 16, 2014

Health Benefits of Ginger
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What Is Ginger?

For thousands of years, herbalists have used the root of the ginger plant to relieve stomach troubles. With its natural anti-inflammatory effects, ginger is also a common remedy for inflammation-related health problems like rheumatoid arthritis.

Health Benefits of Ginger

A number of studies have supported ginger's stomach-soothing effects. In addition to easing post-surgery nausea and vomiting, the herb appears to reduce motion sickness and morning sickness. What's more, a 2009 study of 644 cancer patients found that taking ginger supplements decreased post-chemotherapy nausea by 40%.

Related: Ginger for Nausea.

Ginger may also help alleviate chronic pain, possibly by lowering your levels of hormones that induce inflammation. A study published in 2005, for instance, suggests that ginger could lessen pain more effectively than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

In lab tests, scientists have showed that ginger extract may slow the growth of colorectal and ovarian cancer cells, as well as protect against Alzheimer's disease. However, scientists have yet to confirm these findings in studies on humans.

Ginger Tea

Sipping ginger tea can help calm an upset stomach, as well as ease congestion when you've got a cold.

Learn how to make ginger tea.

More Ginger Recipes

You can also whip up your own crystallized ginger and ginger ale (both of which can treat nausea and motion sickness), or add fresh ginger to your soups and stir-fries.

Ginger in Supplement Form

If you're going to take ginger in supplement form, look for ginger capsules or powders at your health food store or an online shop that specializes in herbal remedies.

Side Effects

Since ginger acts as a blood thinner, it's important to discontinue use at least two weeks before surgery and let your doctor know you've been using the herb.

In some cases, ginger may cause heartburn.

Sources:

Ernst E, Pittler MH. "A randomized controlled trial of ginger to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy." Obstetrics and Gynecology 2004 103(4):639-45.

Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. "Ginger--an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions." Journal of Medicinal Food 2005 8(2):125-32.

Kim DS, Kim DS, Oppel MN. "Shogaols from Zingiber officinale protect IMR32 human neuroblastoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from beta-amyloid(25-35) insult." Planta Medica 2002 68(4):375-6.

L. Ryan, C. Heckler, S. R. Dakhil, J. Kirshner, P. J. Flynn, J. T. Hickok, G. R. Morrow. "Ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients: A URCC CCOP randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 644 cancer patients." Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009 27:15s.

Lee SH, Cekanova M, Baek SJ. "Multiple mechanisms are involved in 6-gingerol-induced cell growth arrest and apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells." Molecular Carcinogenesis 2008 47(3):197-208.

Phillips S, Ruggier R, Hutchinson SE. "Zingiber officinale (ginger)--an antiemetic for day case surgery." Anaesthesia 1993 48(8):715-7.

Rhode J, Fogoros S, Zick S, Wahl H, Griffith KA, Huang J, Liu JR. "Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells." BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007 20;7:44.

Smith C, Crowther C, Willson K, Hotham N, McMillian V. "Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials." British Journal of Anaesthesia 2000 84(3):367-71.

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