Health Benefits of Ginger
There is probably some ginger in your kitchen cupboards, and if there isn’t, you will probably want to buy some after reading this.
It is one of those household spices that people take for granted, and kind of know that there are some health properties in there somewhere, but don’t look into it any further.
It’s just one of tens – if not, hundreds – of spices and other natural food items we have lying around that can significantly improve health and well-being.
However, instead of paying attention to these accessible goodies, many of us get pulled in by the marketing of this or that product and forget that they have shelves of excellent supplements at home, and for a fraction of the price.
Key Points and Benefits
- For Nausea, between 1 and 3g of ginger is effective, mostly for morning sickness, motion sickness, and less reliably but somewhat useful for chemotherapy and surgery related nausea
- 1 gram per day is a good daily dose for other applications
- Testosterone boosting comes via the powdered root and is another level which will necessitate a concentrated supplement extract, or else you’d have to eat something like 15 spoonfuls of Ginger root a day.
Here are some of the benefits of supplementing with Ginger. There are different ways to take it and different parts of the root which are better. We will get to that in the Usage and Dosage Guidelines later. For now, the pros:
- Appetite Suppression
- Increased Thermic Effect of Food (thermogenic fat burning effect)
- Prevention of Nausea (inc. Morning sickness during pregnancy, motion sickness and chemo-therapy induced nausea)
- Testosterone Boosting
- Increased Sperm Count, Quality, Motility and Ejaculate Volume
- Intestinal Health and Motility
- Improved Joint Health
- Reduced Osteoarthritis Symptoms
- Reduced Inflammation
- Decreased Muscle Soreness
- Anti-Cancer (colon)
- Increase in HDL (High Density Lipoprotein – aka “good cholesterol”)
- Reduction in LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein – aka “bad cholesterol”)
- Improved CognitionGinger
- Improved Memory in the Elderly
Ginger is the common name for the root portion of Zingiber officinale Roscoe. It contains over a dozen bioactive compounds, including Quercetin, Kaempferol, Green Tea Catechins, Naringenin and Curcumin (Turmeric) – the last one explains the yellow colour of the ginger rhizome.
Ginger has to be one of the oldest traditional eastern medicines. Thankfully, many of the benefits are have not been lost on recent generations.
It is widely known that it helps alleviate nausea and that there is some benefit to the cardio-vascular system, but the other heap of positives, and information such as how much to take might not be so prevalent.
Ginger can be consumed in a few ways, including:
- Fresh and Grated
- Liquid extract
- Powdered extract (typically in capsules of supplements)
- Syrup form
- Crystallized form (often used to make real Ginger Ale)
Rhizome is the vertical aspect of the root and typically amounts to 1g of ginger extract per 1 teaspoon of it grated.
There are many health benefits to consuming ginger on a daily basis. However, the likelihood of getting all the benefits – testosterone boost included – from using the fresh product in a variety of ways is low. It may also get old, quickly.
If you are particularly interested in pursuing the Ginger route (excuse the pun) then a supplement containing concentrated powdered extract is probably the most hassle-free method.
We will expand on this in the next section.
Usage and Dosage Guidelines
The part of the root most people use is the rhizome, the vertical part.
Given the number of ways it can be consumed, a dosage of 1g ginger extract can be a time consuming thing to obtain, or a simple two-second operation.
Keep in mind the following – which are perhaps both extremes of the effort spectrum – before we tackle the next problem:
- 1g Ginger Extract from a capsule supplement containing 1g powdered extract (or more).
- 1g Ginger Extract from 4 cups of tea, each made with half teaspoons of grated ginger, steeped for up to 10 minutes.
Now, take note that to achieve the anti-nausea effect, you will need up to 3g extract.
And, to get the Testosterone boost, you’re looking at 14 grams! – See you in the supplement aisle.
Is Ginger Safe – Are There Side Effects?
Up to and including the 14g per day for testosterone boosting, there are no major side effects reported.
The only one of note is a potential, but mild, gastrointestinal discomfort which seems to be unpredictable and can start from 1 gram upwards.
People of average weight would be able to take in excess of 16 grams per day for well over a month and experience no side effects.
Ginger should not be taken alongside other blood thinning medication due to its anti-coagulant properties.
Conclusion and Recommendations
If you’re into making teas and home-brew ginger ale with crystallized extract then by all means, go ahead. It cannot hurt to supplement your intake this way.
For the more direct approach, we’d recommend using a supplement which will contain a concentrated extract.
1 to 3 grams per day seems to be the average dosage for most of ginger’s effects. The testosterone boost, while it’s an interesting result from the the clinical trials, it might not be the simplest way to achieve this.
Having said that, one clinical study showed that the increased androgenic activity from the equivalent of 320mg/kg bodyweight (that’s about 22 grams for a 150 lb / 68 kg person) could shrink testicles. That’s an effect rarely noted outside anabolic steroid use.
Good luck scoffing that much though.
Scientific Support for Ginger
Please read the following if you wish to know more about the studies and specific benefits / health properties of ginger.
Reliable at 1-3g of ginger for morning sickness and motion sickness (seasickness tested mostly).
Trends show a positive effect on post-operation nausea and chemotherapy related nausea but not to the same extent as morning and motion sickness.
Borrelli F et al. Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstet Gynecol. April 2012 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15802416]
Chaiyakunapruk N et al. The efficacy of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Jan 2006 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16389016]
Smith C et al. A randomized controlled trial of ginger to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. April 2004 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15051552]
Nanthakomon T, Pongrojpaw D. The efficacy of ginger in prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting after major gynecologic surgery. Oct 2006 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17725149]
Willetts KE et al. Effect of a ginger extract on pregnancy-induced nausea: a randomised controlled trial. April 2003. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14712970]
Inflammation, Pain, Muscle Soreness (inc. Colon Cancer risk)
Ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation to about the same degree as aspirin or ibuprofen
2g a day of fresh grated root even works in one study to reduce risk of colon cancer (brought on by inflammation in the colon).
Zick SM et al. Phase II study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colon mucosa in people at normal risk for colorectal cancer. Nov 2011 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21990307]
Zahmatkash M, Vafaeenasab MR. Comparing analgesic effects of a topical herbal mixed medicine with salicylate in patients with knee osteoarthritis. July 2011 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22308653]
Black CD et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. April 2010 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20418184]
Fat Burning and Appetite Suppression
Ginger increases the thermic effect of food, which basically refers to the energy and metabolism increase food provides. One can infer that this boosts overall calorie burn compared to that of eating without it.
The appetite suppressive effect is independent of this.
Mansour MS et al. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study. Oct 2012 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538118]
Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, Blood Lipid Profile
From this study it appears ginger has an overall beneficial effect on blood lipid profiles. In the long term this could translate to improved cardio-vascular health.
Alizadeh-Navaei R et al. Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial. Sep 2008 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18813412]
Testosterone, associated Hormones, Seminal Health
While the dose would have to be quite high – 14 grams per day – to boost testosterone, the results cannot be ignored, leading one to wonder if the androgenic agent responsible has been isolated for performance enhancement purposes.
Waleed Abid Al-Kadir Mares, Wisam S. Najam. The effect of Ginger on sement parameters and serum FSH, LH and Testosterone of infertile men. 2012 [http://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=71548]