Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on December 01, 2022
Certain chemical compounds in fresh ginger help your body ward off germs. They’re especially good at halting growth of bacteria like E.coli and shigella, and they may also keep viruses like RSV at bay.
Keeps Your Mouth Healthy
Ginger’s antibacterial power may also brighten your smile. Active compounds in ginger called gingerols keep oral bacteria from growing. These bacteria are the same ones that can cause periodontal disease, a serious gum infection.
The old wives’ tale may be true: Ginger helps if you’re trying to ease a queasy stomach, especially during pregnancy. It may work by breaking up and getting rid of built-up gas in your intestines. It might also help settle seasickness or nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Soothes Sore Muscles
Ginger won’t whisk away muscle pain on the spot, but it may tame soreness over time. In some studies, people with muscle aches from exercise who took ginger had less pain the next day than those who didn’t.
Eases Arthritis Symptoms
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. That may be especially helpful for treating symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. You might get relief from pain and swelling either by taking ginger by mouth or by using a ginger compress or patch on your skin.
Curbs Cancer Growth
Some studies show that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of some cancers like colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancer. But much more research is needed to see if this is true.
Lowers Blood Sugar
One recent small study suggested that ginger may help your body use insulin better. Larger studies are needed to see if ginger could help improve blood sugar levels.
Eases Period Pains
Got menstrual cramps? Ginger powder may help. In studies, women who took 1,500 milligrams of ginger powder once a day for 3 days during their cycle felt less pain than women who didn’t.
A daily dose of ginger may help you battle your “bad” or LDL cholesterol levels. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol an average of 30 points.
Protects Against Disease
Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, compounds that prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA. They may help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy aging.
If you live with chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia, ginger could bring some relief. Ginger before meals may make your system empty faster, leaving less time for food to sit and cause problems.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
1) Allyso / Getty Images
2) FlamingoImages / Thinkstock Photos
3) Antonio_Diaz / Thinkstock Photos
4) Ridofranz / Thinkstock Photos
5) Alejandros_FX / Thinkstock Photos
6) man_at_mouse / Thinkstock Photos
7) Vitapix / Thinkstock Photos
8) diego_cervo / Thinkstock Photos
9) designer491 / Thinkstock Photos
10) Kirstypargeter / Thinkstock Photos
11) decade3d / Thinkstock Photos
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials: “Inhibitory effect of Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale extracts on clinically important drug resistant pathogenic bacteria.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology: “Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines.” Phytotherapy Research: “Antibacterial activity of -gingerol and -gingerol isolated from ginger rhizome against periodontal bacteria,” “Acute effects of dietary ginger on muscle pain induced by eccentric exercise.” Benzie, I., Wachtel-Galor, S., Herbal Medicine, 2nd edition, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, 2011. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Ginger.” Jundishapur Journal of Chronic Disease Care: “The Effect of Ginger on Pain and Satisfaction of Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis.”
American College of Rheumatology: “The Effect of Ginger Therapy On Symptoms of Osteoarthritis: An Open Pilot Study.”
International Journal of Preventative Medicine: “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence.”
Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: “The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients.” BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine: “Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial.” Clinical & Medical Biochemistry: “Effects of Ginger on LDL-C, Total Cholesterol and Body Weight.” FEBS Letters: “Calorie restriction and prevention of age-associated chronic disease.”
World Journal of Gastroenterology: “Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia.” European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: “Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans.”