Ginger

As it turns out, adding a little spice to your life can have amazing health benefits! For years, ginger has been used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve digestive upset including lack of appetite, nausea, digestive spasms, indigestion, and gas.

A large body of current research supports this use, showing through a number of studies that ginger helps to calm nausea, motion sickness, and even vertigo.

Additional research suggests ginger may also have beneficial effects on symptoms of diabetes and obesity.

  

AVAILABLE RESEARCH

Digestive Upset

This book looks at the medicinal uses of a wide array of plants, including ginger. The section discussing ginger includes that ginger soothes and helps relieve gastric and intestinal pain.

Finley Ellingwood, M. D. "American materia medica, therapeutics and pharmacognosy." (1919).

This book discusses herbal medicine and herbal therapeutic systems, including how ginger can help soothe digestive upset and act as a cough suppressant. 

Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and practice of phytotherapy. Modern herbal medicine. Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

This book features information on 80 medicinal plants and their uses. It includes a discussion about how Ginger has been used to “help relieve digestive upset including lack of appetite, nausea, digestive spasms, indigestion, dyspepsia, and flatulent colic (carminative).”

Bradley, P. (2006). British herbal compendium. Volume 2: a handbook of scientific information of widely used plant drugs. British Herbal Medicine Association.

Digestion Aid

This research investigates the in vitro influence of 14 different spices, including ginger, on the activities of digestive enzymes. It was found that ginger had the highest stimulation effect of all spices on digestive enzyme activity. The study concludes that the in vitro influence of ginger has “a beneficial stimulatory effect on digestion through stimulation of lipase.”

Ramakrishna Rao, R., Platel, K., & Srinivasan, K. (2003). In vitro influence of spices and spice‐active principles on digestive enzymes of rat pancreas and small intestine. Food/Nahrung47(6), 408-412.

This paper investigates edible plants that have “a significant body of research supporting the claims that they have a digestive action, with particular emphasis on clinical data.” The author states that the most important of these digestion-enhancing plants are ginger, peppermint, and fennel, amongst others.

Valussi, M. (2012). Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. International journal of food sciences and nutrition63(sup1), 82-89.

Nausea

In this double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study, thirteen volunteers with a history of motion sickness underwent circular vection (spinning). It was found that pre-treatment with ginger not only reduced nausea, but also “prolonged the latency before nausea onset and shortened the recovery time after vection cessation.” Based on these results, the authors posit that “ginger may act as a novel agent in the prevention and treatment of motion sickness.”

Lien, Han-Chung, et al. "Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection." American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 284.3 (2003): G481-G489.

In this trial of the efficacy of powdered ginger root, thirty women were given a ginger supplement over a four-day period, then an alternative medication for a following four-day period. “A significantly greater relief of [nausea] symptoms was found after ginger treatments compared to placebo.” Subjectively, 70.4% of women said they felt better during the four days in which they took the ginger. 

Fischer-Rasmussen, Wiggo, et al. "Ginger treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum." European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 38.1 (1991): 19-24.

This study tested the effect of powdered ginger on seasickness by measuring the sea sickness symptoms of new naval cadets who ingested either ginger or a placebo. The results showed that “ginger root reduced the tendency to vomiting and cold sweating significantly better than placebo did.” Additionally, fewer nausea and vertigo symptoms were reported by participants after ingesting ginger root.

Grøntved, Aksel, et al. "Ginger Root Against Seasickness: A Conctrolled Trial on the Open Sea." Acta oto-laryngologica 105.1-2 (1988): 45-49.



ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

Expectorant and Cough Suppressant

This book discusses herbal medicine and herbal therapeutic systems, including how ginger can help soothe digestive upset and act as a cough suppressant.

Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and practice of phytotherapy. Modern herbal medicine. Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

Anti-Diabetic

This research in this paper “was carried out to identify the effect of ginger supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in diabetes mellitus.” In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, participants received capsules containing either 3g of ginger powder or 3g of the placebo substance. The results of the study demonstrated that daily supplementation of ginger powder is helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes, as it reduced fasting blood sugar and HbA1c and improved insulin resistance indices.

Mozaffari-Khosravi, Hassan et al. “The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 22,1 (2014): 9-16. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.017 

There is a growing body of literature that uncovering ginger’s beneficial effects on diabetes. This paper is a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials of the efficacy of ginger for Treating type 2 diabetes. The analysis found that ginger supplementation significantly lowers blood glucose concentration. The authors conclude that “when combined with dietary and lifestyle interventions it may be an effective intervention for managing Type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

Daily, James W., et al. "Efficacy of ginger for treating Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials." Journal of Ethnic Foods 2.1 (2015): 36-43. 

Obesity  

The purpose of the following randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to evaluate the effect of ginger consumption on obesity symptoms over 12 weeks. The results showed that consumption of ginger improved several metabolic features of obesity and decreased BMI. 

Ebrahimzadeh Attari, Vahideh et al. “Changes of serum adipocytokines and body weight following Zingiber officinale supplementation in obese women: a RCT.” European journal of nutrition vol. 55,6 (2016): 2129-36. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1027-6