Herbal products have played a remarkable role to cure and prevent diseases from ancient times. The World Health Organization has reported that about 80% of world’s population still relies on natural products for medicinal purposes. South Asian people have been known to use ginger as a dietary spice for centuries but, due to the health benefits of ginger in treating various human ailments like rheumatic disorders, gastrointestinal problems and inflammatory conditions, it has been gaining considerable attention as a dietary supplement in North America and Europe.
Ginger is the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, a perennial plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, with bright green leaves, yellowish green flowers, and tuberous and fleshy rhizomes. Learn about the story of this botanical product, and the available scientific evidence regarding ginger’s proven effectiveness in preventing and treating a variety of pathologic conditions.
Table of contents
- How to consume it
- Benefits of ginger tea
- Conditions and diseases
- Combinations with other plants
- Side effects
- How to grow at home
A short history of ginger
Ginger has a long and well-documented history of both culinary and medicinal use throughout world history, especially in Chinese, Indian and Japanese medicinal care. Indians and Chinese are believed to have produced ginger as a tonic root for over 5000 years to treat many ailments, in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae, a plant family that includes cardamom and turmeric, and the rhizome is the main portion that is consumed. Ginger’s current name comes from the Middle English gingivere. In Greek, it was called ziggiberis, and in Latin, zinziberi.
Ginger was used as a spice and flavoring agent from ancient times in history. Over 2000 years ago, it was an important article of trade which was exported from India to the Roman Empire, where it was especially valued for its medicinal properties. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep. By medieval times, it was being imported in preserved form to be used in sweets. Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man, which became a traditional Christmas treat.
This plant is endemic to India and cultivated in South and South-East Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australia. It is reported that 100,000 tons of gingers are annually produced. Over the last few years, interest in ginger and the therapeutic effect of its bioactive components has increased, and scientific studies have been made to evaluate its pharmacological and physiological actions.
How to consume ginger
Ginger is a common cooking spice and can be found in a variety of foods and drinks. Ginger products are made from fresh or dried ginger root, or from steam distillation of the oil in the root. It can be found in many different forms: pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered or ground.
- Fresh ginger: Ginger is widely available as a fresh root in most grocery stores. Both mature and immature rhizomes can be consumed as a fresh vegetable. It has a strong pungent flavor, and it is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be added to main dishes, beverages, dessert, or salads.
- Dried ginger: Ginger can be dried and powdered to be used as a spice and can be added to numerous recipes, such as cookies, cakes, and curry mixes. The flavor is peppery and slightly sweet, with a strong and spicy aroma. The spice is produced from the mature rhizome, since as the rhizome grows, the flavor and aroma become much more active.
- Crystallized ginger: Crystallized ginger, also known as candied ginger, is made by boiling ginger in a sugar syrup and then coat it with granulated sugar. With a sweet and spicy taste, it can be eaten or used as an ingredient in baked goods. While the health benefits of ginger are preserved, the sugar content in crystalized ginger is greatly increased. Consumption of candied ginger should be moderate to avoid getting too much sugar since a diet high in sugar can raise the risk of cavities, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
- Pickled ginger: Also called Gari, or sushi ginger, is a common ingredient in Japanese food. It is considered an essential element in the presentation of sushi and is made by slicing young ginger very thin and pickling it in a solution of vinegar and sugar, where it acquires a pink color. This process is preferably made with young ginger because it is sweeter, tender and tends to turn slightly pink. More mature ginger generally won’t turn this shade of pink. Pickled ginger is usually meant to be eaten between bites of sushi to help cleanse the pallet.
- Ginger ale: Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. It was created around 1850, when Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary living in Ireland, carbonated his drink with soda water instead of yeast and began exporting the beverage to the United States. It is frequently used as a non-alcoholic substitute for champagne or beer. Although, many store-bought brands of ginger ale contain very few amounts of ginger, and may not provide the same health benefits as using the fresh herb.
- Ginger wine: Ginger wine is a fortified wine made from a fermented blend of ground ginger root and raisins. It was first produced in London, England, and nowadays it is produced and available worldwide. It is often fortified by being blended with brandy.
How to incorporate ginger into your diet
Ginger can be found in the herbs and spices section of most grocery stores. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, while dried ginger powder should be kept in a sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place (10-15°C). At higher temperatures (23-26°C) the flavor compounds start to deteriorate, and ginger loses some of its taste and aromas.
Fresh ginger is available in two forms, young or mature. Mature ginger is the more widely available type and has a tough skin that should be peeled before use. The skin from fresh mature ginger can be peeled using a spoon or a vegetable peeler, and then it can be sliced, minced, grated or julienned.
Fresh ginger has a stronger aroma compared to ground ginger. This characteristic comes from the essential oils present in ginger, which are lost if it is processed and stored. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish also depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtle flavor, while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.
Here are a few quick tips on how to incorporate ginger into your diet:
- Chew on a slice of ginger root a few minutes before each meal. In addition to enhancing digestion, eating a small amount of ginger before each meal can decrease appetite;
- Add fresh ginger to a smoothie or juice;
- Make a fresh ginger lemonade, adding freshly grated ginger and lemon juice to a bottle of water;
- Add fresh or dried ginger to your homemade salad dressing;
- Add extra flavor and color to your rice side dishes by sprinkling grated ginger and seeds on the top;
- Use fresh or dried ginger to spice your foods as often as possible;
- Use fresh ginger root to make a tea;
Benefits of herbal ginger tea
Ginger tea is recognized as an old medicinal drink. There are several different ways in which ginger tea can help you to achieve optimal health and well-being:
- Helps to strengthen immunity, due to the high level of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins;
- Promotes sweating and helps to warm the body during cold weather;
- Improves gastrointestinal function (digestion, absorption, and elimination);
- Ginger’s antispasmodic action helps to alleviate stomach pain and may reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome;
- Helps the body absorb nutrients;
- Improves blood circulation;
- Reduces inflammation;
- Relieves menstrual discomfort;
To make ginger tea at home, simply slice 20-40 g of fresh ginger root and steep in a cup of boiling water. Allow the ginger to steep in hot water for 10 minutes. You can add a slice of lemon or a drop of honey to improve flavor. If it tastes too strong or spicy, you can simply dilute it with more hot water and honey. You can drink ginger tea two to three times a day, especially before meals, if you want to stimulate digestion.
Ginger isn’t supposed to be ingested in large amounts and is often added to other foods (unless it is taken as a supplement), so it won’t significantly impact daily calorie consumption or overall nutrition. Despite this, you still may be able to enjoy its nutritional benefits by using it in your recipes.
According to USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of ginger contain only 80 calories. Ginger is mainly composed of carbohydrates, and it is low in sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, containing numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds beneficial to health.
Nutritional value per 100 g of fresh ginger root
- Thiamine (B1) 0.025 mg
- Riboflavin (B2) 0.034 mg
- Niacin (B3) 0.75 mg
- Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.203 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.16 mg
- Folate (B9) 11 μg
- Vitamin C 5 mg
- Vitamin E 0.26 mg
- Calcium 16 mg
- Iron 0.6 mg
- Magnesium 43 mg
- Manganese 0.229 mg
- Phosphorus 34 mg
- Potassium 415 mg
- Sodium 13 mg
- Zinc 0.34 mg
Bioactive components of ginger
Ginger contains a large number of phytochemical constituents. Determining its active components is necessary to understand its mechanism of action and potential therapeutic effects. The proportion of each component in a sample of ginger depends on the country of origin, its growing place, commercial processor, freshness, and dryness.
Structure of -gingerol, believed to be the most abundant bioactive component of ginger root
At least 115 constituents in fresh and dried ginger have been identified by a variety of analytical processes. Gingerols are the major components of fresh ginger and responsible for their pungent taste, especially (6)-gingerol. However, the concentrations of shogaols, which are the primary gingerol dehydration products, are more abundant in dry ginger than in fresh ginger.
The major constituents in ginger rhizomes are carbohydrates, ranging from 50% to 70%. The concentration of lipids is 3% to 8% and includes free fatty acids, triglycerides, and lecithin. Oleoresin provides 4% to 7.5% of pungent substances as gingerol, shogaol, zingerone, and volatile oils. Volatile oils are present in 1% to 3% concentrations and consist mainly of sesquiterpenes, beta-bisabolene, and zingiberene. Numerous monoterpenes are also present. Amino acids, raw fiber, ash, protein, phytosterols, vitamins, and minerals are among the other constituents. Here is a short list of the main phytochemical constituents of ginger:
- Phenolic compounds: Shogaols, paradols, and gingerols;
- Sesquiterpenes: Bisapolene, zingiberene, zingiberol, sesquiphellandrene, and curcurmene;
- Vitamins: Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, vitamin-A, vitamin-C, and vitamin-E;
- Others: 6-Dehydrogingerdione, galanolactone, gingesulfonic acid, zingerone, geraniol, neral, and gingerglycolipids;
Medical problems where ginger helps
Ginger has been proven to carry a variety of powerful therapeutic and preventive effects and has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of hundreds of ailments. Like many medicinal herbs, much of the information has been passed on by word of mouth with poor scientific evidence to support the claims. However, in the last few years, scientific investigations have focused on the bioactive components of ginger and its therapeutic effects. In the last years, several studies have shown evidence for the effectiveness of ginger as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, as well as a protective agent against other conditions.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation which leads to substantial bone destruction with consequent inflammation, pain, and debility. It is estimated that about 1% of people all over the world are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, which exerts a significant impact on the quality of life. Although a considerable number of drugs are prescribed for managing the pain and slowing the progression of arthritis (such as NSAIDs or corticoids), its undesirable side effects frequently force the patients to look for complementary and alternative medicine.
Ginger has traditionally been used by patients who have rheumatoid arthritis as an alternative medicine in many countries. Findings from animal studies indicate potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity by ginger, through the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, which is the key to inflammation. In a study, ginger and ibuprofen both showed similar anti-inflammatory activities, indicating ginger as a potential anti-inflammatory agent that can be applied to reduce pain and inflammation arising from arthritis.
Antitumor activity of ginger and its constituents has been demonstrated in several in vitro and animal experiments. Apoptotic cell death and antiproliferative effects caused by gingerol, paradol, and shogaol have been demonstrated in mice and human cell lines. Furthermore, tumor promotion is linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, and the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of ginger could play a role in cancer prevention. However, anticancer data on ginger has only been evaluated in vitro and in animal models; so far, no human trials with the use of ginger in cancer have been published yet.
Ginger and its metabolites appear to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract, which is related to its wide use in ancient history as an antiemetic. Recently, human clinical trials have examined ginger’s medicinal effects related to motion sickness, postoperative, and chemotherapy related nausea, considering it an effective nonpharmacological option to relieve these symptoms. However, the mechanism of action by which ginger might exert these effects is still unclear. The beneficial effect in nausea and vomiting is supported by studies that have shown increased gastric emptying after ingestion of ginger root, probably caused by the peripheral blocking of receptors involved in smooth muscle contraction in the gastrointestinal tract by gingerols and shogaols contained in ginger.
Concerning its antiemetic properties, ginger acts peripherally, within the gastrointestinal tract, by increasing the gastric tone and motility due to anticholinergic and antiserotonergic actions. It is also reported to increase gastric emptying. This combination of functions explains the ability of ginger to relieve symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as dyspepsia, abdominal pain, and nausea, which is often associated with decreased gastric motility.
According to the ancient practice of Ayurveda, consuming ginger root can help keep weight under control. Ginger is nearly calorie-free and its effects on digestion make it a possible aid in the weight-loss process. Being a thermogenic agent, it raises body temperature and helps boost metabolism and calorie burning. Some studies suggest that consuming ginger after a meal may reduce feelings of hunger and, therefore, decrease overall calorie intake. Another research suggests that taking a combination supplement containing ginger and other ingredients twice daily for eight weeks, combined with a balanced diet, reduces body weight, fat mass, waist and hip circumference. It is still not clear if ginger is the single cause for the weight loss; therefore, more research is needed to confirm these promising results.
Ginger has been used for centuries in the treatment of respiratory illnesses. Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation and hypersensitivity of airway smooth muscle cells to different substances that induce spasms. Components of ginger rhizomes are reported to contain potent compounds capable of suppressing allergic reactions and might be useful for the treatment and prevention of asthma or other allergic diseases.
Some evidence supports a protective role of ginger in cardiovascular function. Ginger has gained interest for its potential to treat various aspects of cardiovascular disease, and in vitro and animal data have established its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiplatelet, hypotensive, and hypolipidemic effects. In several studies, administration of ginger extract resulted in a significant antihyperlipidemic effect: plasma triglyceride and cholesterol levels were substantially decreased, suggesting that moderate consumption of ginger might help improving lipid metabolism.
Ginger has been proposed to have antidiabetic effects by controlling blood sugar levels. Keeping blood glucose levels in check also has a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic you feel throughout the day. Supplementation with a ginger extract has proved to cause a significant reduction in fructose-induced elevation in lipid levels, body weight, hyperglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia associated with insulin resistance. These results suggest that ginger might be a valuable aid in managing the symptoms of diabetes.
Dysmenorrhea is characterized by low abdominal or pelvic pain occurring before or during menstruation, and it is highly prevalent among women of reproductive age. In addition to pelvic pain, some women with dysmenorrhea may also experience low back pain, nausea, vomiting, and changes in bowel habits.
Ginger is one of the most commonly used natural products among women to treat pain in dysmenorrhea. Research shows that taking 1500 mg of ginger in three divided doses daily for the first three days of menstrual periods can reduce menstrual pain severity and other symptoms. Another study shows that taking 250 mg of ginger extract four times daily for three days at the beginning of the menstrual period reduces pain symptoms in as many as 62% of people.
The exact mechanism of action of ginger in pain relief remains to be elucidated; however, evidence suggests that the constituents of ginger have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Furthermore, preclinical research shows that ginger suppresses the synthesis of prostaglandin (through inhibition of the cyclooxygenase enzyme) and leukotrienes, which are involved in dysmenorrhea pathogenesis.
Dysmenorrhea is conventionally treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral contraceptive pills. Some reviews suggest that, as a pain treatment, ginger has a superior safety profile to NSAIDs, characterized by fewer gastrointestinal side effects and renal risks. Given the safety profile and preliminary evidence of efficacy, ginger may be appropriate to relieve pain in women with dysmenorrhea who cannot or prefer not to use conventional medications.
The common cold is one of the most frequent minor illnesses in the world, and it is primarily associated with rhinoviruses. There is currently no treatment for the common cold and therapies focus mainly on symptom relief, encouraging plenty of fluids and rest. Although drugs are widely used, they have important side effects and contraindications.
Ginger can be effective in providing relief in colds or respiratory problems. Common cold symptoms may include nasal congestion, acute cough, and a sore throat. The aromatic compounds found in ginger (gingerols, shogaols and zingerone) provide medicinal qualities able to ease cold symptoms and promote a quicker recovery.
Ginger is known to inhibit airway contraction and inflammation and also works as an expectorant, helping to stimulate the secretion of mucus. It has an anti-inflammatory property that reduces the inflammation in the throat and chest caused by a cough. Chewing fresh ginger root or drinking ginger juice or tea can also soothe the scratchy pain and irritation of a sore throat.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system, which typically begins with subtle and poorly recognized failure of memory and slowly becomes more severe and, eventually, incapacitating. Recent studies have emphasized potential benefits of ginger in Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that ginger phytochemicals can help slow down the loss of brain cells and attenuate β-amyloid-induced oxidative cell death, which leads to Alzheimer’s disease progression. Additionally, some studies done on animals suggest the antioxidants and other powerful compounds found in ginger can fight inflammatory responses that occur in the brain and protect against the decline of brain function.
Because of its toning and antioxidant properties, both ingesting ginger and applying it topically have beneficial effects on the skin. Studies have shown that topical ginger extract can improve the structure and function of the skin and reduce the formation of skin wounds. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage and protect against skin damage and aging, promoting smoothness and evenness in skin tone. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action helps to prevent skin infection and inflammation that appears on skin conditions such as acne. The major component of ginger, gingerol, promotes new blood vessel formation in the inflamed and damaged skin with a reduced vasculature. People can experience the benefits of ginger on the skin by eating ginger in foods, drinking ginger tea, consuming ginger supplements or using a ginger-infused skin care product.
Combination with other natural ingredients
Before doing so, here is a fun-to-watch, nice infographic.
Ginger and turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are both rhizomes in the Zingiberaceae family. Using both ginger and turmeric as spices in recipes provides a way to season a variety of foods without adding sodium or extra fat. Although they are used in many different types of cuisines for their spice and flavor, practitioners of traditional medicine also recommend turmeric and ginger due to their health benefits and ability to prevent illness.
Turmeric and ginger both have antioxidant and inflammatory properties, as well as ability to relieve stomach and digestion-related symptoms. They can be combined to make an herbal tea that will act as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems, inflammatory conditions, and several other disorders.
Ginger and lemon
Both ginger and lemon are popular inclusions in energy drinks. Both ingredients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent fluid retention and promote detoxification of the body. Ginger improves digestive functions and helps to normalize sugar levels, while lemon brings a high content of vitamin C. Combining these two ingredients can boost your immune system and make a great addition to a healthy diet. You can create a vitamin and anti-oxidant rich natural drink by simply combining ginger with some tablespoons of lemon juice to make a tea or lemonade with revitalizing effects.
Ginger and honey
A combination of ginger and honey can be an effective and inexpensive method of relieving symptoms of a sore throat and other respiratory system conditions. Both are anti-inflammatory agents and, while ginger can boost up the immune system, honey helps soothing an irritated throat. If you have a sore throat due to a cough, cold or allergies, a warm infusion of ginger with honey may help relieve irritation. However, while it may be helpful for reducing some minor inflammation, if a sore throat persists or if you have other symptoms, talk to your doctor to rule out an underlying condition.
Ginger and green tea
Ginger is often combined with green tea due to their high antioxidant properties. Green tea acts as an antioxidant and a natural anticancer agent. It also boosts your metabolism and, due to the presence of caffeine, is mildly stimulating and improves attention and concentration. Ginger can be added to green tea to create a refreshing and powerful drink with remarkable benefits.
Ginger and pineapple
Ginger and pineapple is a popular combination in juice recipes for warmer weather due to its fresh and tropical flavor. Besides being an excellent way to keep cool in the summer, it also has important medicinal values. Pineapple juice is low in calories, free of fat and low in sodium. It is also rich in fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, manganese, and bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme with strong anti-inflammatory effects. Along with ginger, it can reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles associated with arthritis. Pineapple contains a high concentration of manganese, which is essential in developing strong bones and connective tissue. Its high vitamin C and antioxidant content provide great immune system support against infection and diseases. The digestive properties of ginger are enhanced due to the high fiber content in pineapple.
Side effects and safety recommendations
The medicinal use of ginger has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor. However, ginger is considered to be safe in culinary quantities and as a food supplement in recommended doses. You should take into consideration that there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and this kind of supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of adulteration.
The use of ginger is usually safe when done with moderation and in short-term. The recommended daily dose reported in clinical trials is 250 mg to 1 g, 3 to 4 times daily. However, larger doses of ginger carry the potential for adverse reactions. Do not use different formulations of ginger (such as tablets, liquids, and others) at the same time, since using different formulations together increases the risk of an excessive dose.
Adverse reactions reported are uncommon and include mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort. Some women have reported increased menstrual bleeding while taking ginger. Topical application of ginger is usually safe, but it might cause skin irritation.
Before using ginger, ask a doctor, pharmacist, or another healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product in the following conditions:
- Pregnancy: The use of ginger during pregnancy is controversial. Although there aren’t definitive concerns with respect to developmental safety of ginger root, considering the minor clinical benefit in nausea and vomiting, its use is not recommended in pregnancy, due to the possible consequences for adverse foetal development.
- Breastfeeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking ginger if you are breastfeeding. It is not known whether ginger passes into breast milk or if it could have adverse consequences to a nursing baby. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this product without medical advice.
- Diabetes: Ginger might increase insulin levels or lower blood sugar. As a result, your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
- If you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder: The use of ginger might influence the blood coagulation process.
Several medications are known to interact with ginger. If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use ginger without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Anticoagulant or Antiplatelet drugs
Ginger may potentiate the effects of anticoagulants, platelet inhibitors, and thrombolytic agents, possibly increasing the risk of bleeding. In patients who have used or ginger supplements prior to receiving anticoagulation, antiplatelet or thrombolytic therapy, the potential for an interaction should be considered. Close clinical and laboratory observation for hematologic complications is recommended. Patients should be advised to promptly report any signs of bleeding to their physician, such as pain, swelling, headache, dizziness, weakness, prolonged bleeding from cuts, increased menstrual flow, vaginal bleeding, nosebleeds, bleeding of gums from brushing, unusual bleeding or bruising, red or brown urine, or red or black stools.
Medications that influence blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, or other NSAIDs, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, warfarin, and others.
Medications for high blood pressure
Ginger might reduce blood pressure in a similar way to some medications for blood pressure and heart disease. Taking ginger along with these medications might cause your blood pressure to drop too low or cause an irregular heartbeat.
Some medications for high blood pressure and heart disease include nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, felodipine, amlodipine, and others.
Ginger might decrease blood sugar, and diabetes medications are also used for the same purpose. Consequently, taking ginger along with antidiabetics might cause your blood sugar to drop too low and the dose of your medication might need to be changed. It is recommended to talk to your doctor and monitor your blood sugar carefully.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride, glyburide, insulin, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, chlorpropamide, glipizide, tolbutamide, and others.
Other herbal products or health supplements
Take caution when using ginger together with other herbal or health supplements that can also affect blood clotting, including Angelica sinensis (Dong Quai), capsicum, clove, Danshen, garlic, Ginkgo biloba, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, poplar, red clover, saw palmetto, turmeric, and willow.
Take caution when using ginger together with other herbal or health supplements that can lower blood sugar, including alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.
There is no concrete evidence that fresh ginger offers more health benefits than ginger supplements. Although you can get ginger naturally from foods, you may opt to take a ginger supplement to achieve optimal benefit from its properties or to help with ailments like nausea or indigestion.
Optimal doses of ginger have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely depending on the manufacturer so, before taking a ginger supplement, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Read below to find out more about some ginger supplements available on the market:
Solgar Ginger Root Extract Vegetable 60 Capsules
Distributed throughout the world in over 60 different countries, Solgar has been innovating and producing fine quality nutritional supplements since 1947, to provide consumers with top-quality, innovative, science-based nutritional supplements to support their total health and well-being.
Product description: Solgar Ginger Root Extract Vegetable is a full potency supplement for alleviating occasional motion sickness. It is suitable for vegetarians and free of corn, yeast, wheat, and dairy products and is formulated without the use of preservatives, artificial flavors or colors.
Suggested use: As an herbal supplement for adults, take one capsule up to three times daily, preferably at mealtimes or as directed by a healthcare practitioner. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medication or have a medical condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking any dietary supplement. Keep out of reach of children.
Naturactive Ginger 30 Capsules
Initially created in 1988 by Pierre Fabre under the name of Plantes & Médecines, the Naturactive brand has remained true to its original mission: to provide drugs and health products whose active ingredients come from natural sources. Available in pharmacies for over 25 years, the Naturactive phytotherapy line offers a total of 78 plants and natural products. The herbal medicines come primarily in the form of dry extracts in capsules.
Product description: Naturactive Ginger 30 Capsules is a food supplement containing ginger rhizome, which is known for its stimulating action on digestion. It acts on the stomach lining and allows to reduce the sensations of discomfort and helps to fight nausea and vomiting.
Suggested use: Take two capsules per day with a large glass of water. Before travelling, it is recommended to take two capsules the day before at separate times of the day. Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Arkopharma Arkocaps Ginger 45 Capsules
Founded in 1980 in France by Dr. Max Rombi, Arkopharma is a pharmaceutical laboratory specialized in the area of phytotherapy, natural medicine, and dietary supplements. Present in more than 60 countries, Arkopharma is the European leader in phytotherapy and nutritional supplements, offering natural medicines intended for treatment and prevention of several health conditions.
Product description: Arkopharma Arkocaps Ginger 45 Capsules is a supplement that promotes and helps healthy digestion. It makes journeys more pleasant and helps to avoid motion sickness.
Suggested use: 2 capsules in the morning and at midday during the meals with a large glass of water.
Lamberts Ginger Capsules
Established in 1982, Lamberts Healthcare is the UK’s leading supplier of specialist dietary supplements to Practitioners and Pharmacists who use nutrition and herbs in healthcare. Lamberts offer an extensive range of over 150 products including vitamins, minerals, herbs and multiple formulas, amino acids, digestive aids and fish oil. Lamberts product range is unique, made to full Good Manufacture Practice standards, and sold through practitioners or pharmacies over 39 countries around the world. The products are formulated to offer relevant potencies and are supported by a valid scientific rationale.
Product description: In this product, each one of the ginger capsules provides 24 mg of gingerols and it takes over 14 g of fresh ginger root to produce the amount of concentrated extract. The dark rich, concentrated ginger paste is dissolved into sunflower oil and supplied in capsules. Using this method ensures that the active constituents such as the gingerols and zingerone are preserved.
Suggested use: 1 gelatin free capsule per day. This product is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
Please notice that these approximate prices have an oscillatory characteristic according to the distributors and the date at which this article was written. Please consult several retailers before purchasing a ginger supplement brand of your choice.
How to grow ginger at home
Besides making a beautiful addition to your house, growing ginger at home allows you to always have a fresh and organic ginger root on hand. Each ginger plant can grow up to three feet high and produce 2-5 sections of ginger, which can be harvested year-round. After a ginger root is broken off from the main plant, it is washed and dried in the sun and, once is dried, it can be used for cooking or medicinal purposes. Follow these steps to learn how to grow ginger easily.
You will need
- A whole ginger root (preferably from an organic source)
- A container for your plant
- Well-draining potting soil or a mix of potting soil and sand
How to do it step by step
- Site selection – Ginger grows in warm and humid climates. If you live in the tropics, plant after the last spring frost, or at the start of the wet season. If you reside in a climate with a short growing season, you can grow the plant indoors. Choose a site that provides plenty of light, including 2 to 5 hours of direct sunlight. Protection from strong winds is also recommended.
- Soil preparation – The best soil for ginger is loose, loamy, and rich in organic matter. Loamy soils allow water to drain freely, which will help prevent the rhizomes from becoming waterlogged. Thick mulch can also provide nutrients and retain water.
- Preparing the ginger – A good source of ginger for planting is fresh rhizomes from another grower. If you are buying ginger from a store, soak the rhizomes in water overnight because they are sometimes treated with a growth retardant. Before planting, cut the ginger rhizome into 1- to 1½-inch pieces, and set them aside for a few days to allow the cut surface area to heal and form a callus. Each piece should be plump with well-developed growth buds, or eyes.
- Planting – Plant bits of seed rhizomes weighing 20-30 g each. If growing the ginger in pots, choose a container at least 12 inches (30cm) deep, and plant the rhizomes with the growth buds pointing upward. They can be planted whole or in smaller pieces with a couple of growing buds each. The shoots emerge in 10-20 days, and ginger plants can grow to about 2 to 3 feet tall.
- Fertilizing – If the soil is less than ideal, add a slow-release organic fertilizer at planting. Ginger roots benefit from fertilizer containing high levels of phosphorus. Ginger requires three to four fertilizer applications during the growing season.
- Watering – Irrigation is given at varying intervals of 4 – 10 days as and when required. Do not allow the plants to dry out while they are actively growing, but avoid overwatering as well. In dry areas, mist or spray plants regularly, since ginger likes humid climates.
- Harvesting – When ginger is fully mature, the leaves turn yellow, and the pseudostems begin to dry. Ginger can be harvested by digging up the entire plant. The crop is ready for harvesting in about eight to ten months, depending on the maturity of the variety.
Should you consider consuming more ginger?
Although often consumed for culinary purposes, ginger is often consumed to treat a variety of conditions. Ginger is considered as a safe herb for human consumption and one of the more commonly used herbal supplements worldwide.
In the past few years, the long and established medicinal use of ginger through history has stimulated scientific research to assess the health benefits of ginger and its use as a complementary and alternative medicine. Ginger is now recognized as a natural product of choice for nausea and vomiting, and several ginger supplements can be found on the market as antiemetic and carminatives, without the side effects of other antiemetic medications. Lastly, compounds derived from natural sources can be a safe and inexpensive alternative to maintain internal balance and promote well-being.