Ever been sick?
Then it’s very likely you’ve reached for a ginger-ale or ginger tea, but what is it that makes this spicy root one of the most widely used herbal remedies?
The use of ginger originated in southeast Asia but has been widely cultivated across the world for at least 2,000 years. The rhizome (underground stem) is most known for being a warming spice, a digestive aid and a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Besides being a delicious addition to cuisines, ginger is available as a fresh root, in powder form and as a supplement and essential oil.
Ginger Benefits & Research
Scientists believe that inflammation is involved in nearly every chronic disease, so controlling inflammation is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle.
Research also shows that ginger’s power is far reaching in many forms of inflammation:
- A 2001 study showed that ginger oil helped reduce knee pain in people with osteoarthritis.
- A 2013 study found that ginger (and cinnamon) decreased muscle soreness in women athletes who took ginger or cinnamon daily
- A 2009 study concluded that ginger was as effective at relieving pain from menstrual cramps as ibuprofen.
- A 2014 study showed that ginger reduced the severity of migraine headaches as well as the migraine medication Sumatriptan
Besides inflammation, ginger is also a digestive and immunity superstar. Other benefits include:
- Digestive remedies – nausea, motion sickness, indigestion, H. Pylori
- Stimulates metabolism by increasing thermogenesis
- Broad-spectrum antibacterial
- Diabetes – effects on insulin release and action, and improved carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
+ over 40 pharmacological actions
How to take Ginger
Ginger is widely available in grocery stores as a fresh root or powder and is a great addition to meals; you can slice it up or sprinkle the powder on veggies, meats and marinades. It pairs especially well with garlic–which has many health benefits as well. As a fresh root, it will last in the freezer for months, or in the fridge for many weeks. The powder form will last for at least 6 months as well. For therapeutic purposes, you may want to use more concentrated doses and/or supplements.
However you take ginger, always make sure it’s organic as you don’t want to be ingesting chemicals along with the root.
Since the typical person only absorbs about 40-60% of the nutrients from food, and closer to 90% from liquid, adding ginger to juice is a great way to get all the benefits of ginger and a high dose of vitamins and minerals from the other vegetables. To juice ginger, start with a quarter inch slice or less — it is very potent. Also be careful not to add too much fruit as you don’t want too much sugar. As a reminder – always be sure to drink juice on an empty stomach to avoid indigestion.
Drinking tea is one of the most traditional ways to take herbs. To make a tea, thinly slice a 2 inch knob of the raw root, or a few teaspoons of powder in water and let it boil for 10-15 minutes. You can drink the tea 2-3x/day or as needed for nausea/digestive/immune support. The fresh root will have more of a well-rounded flavor and the powder will be a bit more on the spicier side. You can even experiment a bit and mix it with cinnamon or peppermint for additional health benefits and a delicious treat!
You can also take a dropper bottle of ginger that’s been extracted in either alcohol or glycerin. Usually, the recommended dose is a full dropper, mixed with a few ounces of water 1-3x/day or as needed. Herb Pharm and Gaia are both trustworthy brands.
Ginger is also available as an essential oil. If taking the essential oil, you’ll want to make sure that it’s an oil that is meant for consumption (not all are) and you’ll want to take a very small amount, usually no more than a drop a day; essential oils are extremely concentrated. It may be a good idea to consult a licensed aromatherapist or practitioner when ingesting essential oils.
There are also some supplements that can be effective, just be sure to always look for organic brands and be mindful of any additives that may be used. Taking a capsule as needed before meals may help with digestion and before traveling may help with motion sickness. For long-term benefits, take a few capsules a day between meals or consult with a practitioner for the correct dosage for you.
Drug Interactions & Side Effects of Ginger
For most people, ginger is safe and doesn’t cause any adverse side effects. In larger doses, some people have reported stomach discomfort, heartburn and diarrhea. It is also possible — though extremely rare– to have an allergy to ginger. If you experience hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, stop using and talk to a health professional.
With anything new, it’s always a good idea to start small and work your way up to ensure the herb or supplement will work for you.
Studies found that ginger could be beneficial for nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. However, some experts worry it may increase the risk of miscarriage in dosages over 1,500 mg. If you are pregnant, please consult with your doctor about taking ginger and any other herb.
Generally safe, ginger may interact with drugs that slow blood clotting, lower blood sugar and lower blood pressure as ginger may increase the effects of these drugs to a dangerous level. Please consult a doctor if you are on medications.
Ginger + CBD
Many people use CBD for its incredible anti-inflammatory effects so combining ginger and CBD is a powerful combination against inflammation and any pain or diseases caused by inflammation. To ensure maximum quality and effectiveness, our Inflammation Support CBD formula uses organic essential oils of ginger, turmeric, and black pepper along with 600 mg of CBD oil, available in THC-free or Whole Plant formulas. Find out how the power of Turmeric + CBD can work for you.