7 Important Health Benefits of Ginger

Written by Suresh Nair, PhD

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a tropical flowering plant whose fragrant underground stem, or “rhizome” – known as ginger root or just ginger – has been widely used for centuries as a spice as well as an alternative medicine. Ginger is also widely used as a flavoring or fragrance in foods, beverages, soaps, and cosmetics.

Belonging to the same family (Zingiberaceae) as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, ginger is believed to have originated on the Indian subcontinent. Ginger was first exported to Europe in the 1st century AD and was reportedly used extensively by the Romans.

Ancient Sanskrit, Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts discuss the use of ginger for health-related purposes. In Asia, dried ginger has been used for thousands of years to treat stomach ache, diarrhea, and nausea.

Ginger Root Benefits
What Do Researchers Know About the Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is a potent aromatic herb and a good natural source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Just a few slivers of fresh ginger can be used to make a restorative tea. When ground to a paste or dry powder, it can be added to soups, sauces, marinades, and many other dishes to add both flavor and a pungent taste.

For cooking, fresh ginger root is usually best, but powdered ginger or ginger paste are both great alternatives that can be conveniently stored for long periods of time, as can ginger essential oil.

What Do Researchers Know About the Health Benefits of Ginger?

The main bioactive ingredient in ginger is [6]-gingerol – also known as just gingerol. It is chemically related to capsaicin (the main bioactive ingredient in chili peppers) and piperine (the main bioactive ingredient in black pepper).

Gingerol has been extensively studied and is known to potently neutralize harmful free radicals and help support healthy inflammation levels in the body.

However, more recent studies suggest that another bioactive family of naturally occurring compounds in ginger known as shogaols may have even more potent activity relative to gingerol and related compounds.

Modern day usage of ginger includes being used to ease nausea as a result of motion sickness, chemotherapy, and pregnancy; and to lower pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, among many other heath-related uses.

Ginger Health Benefit #1: Heals the Gut & Relieves Nausea

Ginger has a long and proven history of helping to ease stomach and gut ailments. In traditional herbal medicine it is known to aid digestion and promote the release of intestinal gas, while also calming and relaxing the stomach and gut.

Ginger also provides relief from morning sickness. For instance, research shows that taking one gram of ginger daily helps to reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, along with relieving morning sickness.

Further, it has been used successfully to counter nausea and GI upset after surgery or during chemotherapy.

Studies have also shown that ginger can effectively suppress symptoms of motion sickness (including seasickness) such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats.

Ginger also helps to stimulate emptying of the stomach without any negative side effects. Additionally, ginger prevents the growth of H. pylori – a type of bacteria in the digestive system which can cause ulcers in the lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine, and which sometimes leads to stomach cancer.

Ginger Health Benefit #2: Helps to Strengthen the Immune System

According to the ancient healing system of Ayurvedic medicine, ginger strengthens the immune system because it helps to break down toxins in the body’s organs, thereby cleansing the body’s lymphatic system.

In this way ginger prevents the accumulation of toxins in the body that increase susceptibility to infections, especially in the respiratory system.

Combining ginger oil and eucalyptus oil is said to be an effective remedy to boost immunity and improve breathing.

Ginger Health Benefit #3: Helps to Ease Pain & Support Healthy Inflammation Levels

Health Benefits of Ginger 2 Fights Pain and InflammationNumerous studies show that ginger helps with pain relief. In one study, participants were given either two grams of raw or heat-treated ginger supplements for 11 consecutive days. They then performed numerous elbow exercises with a heavy weight specifically designed to induce a moderate level of muscle injury.

Pain and inflammation levels were tested before the exercise and for three days afterwards. Both types of ginger gave good results, although raw ginger was slightly more effective, reducing exercise-induced pain by 25% within 24 hours.

Ginger’s ability to assist with pain relief is likely a result of its many potent compounds, including gingerol and shogaol.

Further, ginger extracts have been shown to prevent joint swelling in animal models by lowering levels of inflammation. Even non-gingerol components of ginger were able to enhance the activity of the better known gingerol.

In another study, nearly 250 patients with moderate to severe knee pain were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which they received ginger extract or a control twice daily for 6 weeks. At the end of the study, more patients in the ginger extract group experienced a moderate reduction in knee pain on standing relative to those in the control group.

Health Benefit of Ginger #4: Helps to Lower Cholesterol Levels

According to the results of a 2008 clinical trial of 85 people with high cholesterol, taking three grams of ginger powder daily in three divided doses caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol).

In other words, ginger demonstrated a significant lipid-lowering effect.

Health Benefit of Ginger #5: Helps to Ramp Up Metabolism

Ginger may increase thermogenesis in the body – when the body burns stored up fat to create heat – with beneficial effects on overall metabolism and fat storage.

Research suggests that consuming thermogenic ingredients such as ginger may boost metabolism by up to 5 percent and increase fat burning by up to 16%. According to a recent review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, ginger may protect against many of the consequences of metabolic syndrome, one of which is weight gain.

Health Benefit of Ginger #6: Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial looking at the effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar of 41 participants showed that 2 grams of ground ginger supplement taken daily for 12 weeks reduced their levels of fasting blood sugar by an impressive 12%, on average.

Health Benefit of Ginger #7: Helps to Support Memory

Ginger has been shown to help support memory, along with other brain functions. One study examined the benefits of ginger extract on various aspects of brain function in 60 middle-aged, healthy women. These women were randomly assigned to receive either ginger extract or control once daily for 2 months.

These participants were evaluated for memory and brain function at three different time points – before starting the study, after one month, and after two months. Ginger extract, reported the study researchers, “enhances both attention and cognitive processing capabilities, with no side effects.”

10 Recipes That Use Fresh Ginger

If you’re inspired to add more fresh ginger root into your cooking, check out these 10 healthy and delicious recipes:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Blueberry Turmeric Smoothie
  2. Chaga Chai Tea Recipe
  3. Creamy Turmeric Spice Tea
  4. Golden Carrot Turmeric Smoothie
  5. Gut Repair Shake
  6. Hot & Sour Shiitake Soup
  7. Quick & Tasty Bone Broth Mushroom Miso Soup Recipe
  8. Raw Hemp Butter, Ginger, Turmeric Spice Soup
  9. Spicy Kale Vitamin Smoothie
  10. Wheatgrass Lassi

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Suresh Nair, PhD
Suresh Nair, PhD, is a health writer who has written hundreds of informative blog posts, long articles, and eBooks on alternative health and nutrition since 2010. With a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from UPenn and having been a laboratory scientist for 17 years, his content is always thoroughly researched and has a sound scientific basis. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

Article Summary

  • Ginger is a potent aromatic herb and a good natural source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.

  • 7 important health benefits of ginger:

    • Heals the gut and relieves nausea, and can help prevent ulcers that sometimes lead to stomach cancer.
    • Helps to strengthen the immune system.
    • Helps to ease pain and promote healthy inflammation levels, especially involving joint pain.
    • Helps to lower cholesterol levels.
    • May increase thermogenesis in the body, with beneficial effects on metabolism and fat storage.
    • Supports healthy blood sugar levels.
    • Supports memory and brain function.

Reader Interactions


  1. Great article, I have been drinking or eating ginger, for well over a year . I had digestive problems and believe drinking ginger tea really aided in my healing.

      • Hi Chiquita! Ginger tea is super easy to make. You simply steep some freshly grated ginger in boiling water for a few minutes, strain, and then add honey to sweeten to taste. Enjoy!

        • I leave the freshly cut ginger in the water after seeping and chew on them after I drink my tea, it is refreshing and once you get over the heat of the ginger you will be able to eat it raw, so so helped my cold as well

      • There is also ginger tea in individual packs. All you have to do is add hot water. Should be available in your local grocery store.

        • this is true, but I find buying organic ginger root, you get a better flavor and strength of the ginger not to say you know what exactly you are drinking.

  2. Yes, ginger is my number 1 tea I consume on a daily basis. Ginger in cooking and salads. Fresh ginger and pineapple delicious. I promote healthy eating and lifestyle to friends and family, some think I’m strange because I don’t eat takeaway food. Only fresh organic. ☺

  3. I have been using ginger root for over 5 years and it aides the flue process. My kids already know once they are feeling the symptoms ginger root is the remedy. Add as much as you can handle to chicken soup and amazing flavor n results. When bloated boil it and drink away. Bad bacteria in the stomach goes away. Be consistent don’t give up. Natural remedies take longer than over the couner medicine, May be used as often as posible. No harm at all.

  4. What’s is best way to consume ginger? Eating raw, cooked with your food, herbal tea, boiled in water? I find that with our compromised digestive systems, I cannot be sure what works anymore.

  5. Thank you. I will try ginger as i am desperately looking for answers to vertigo…scans and therapy not much help. I can go for weeks “normal” then out of nowhere it comes again the only warning sign i get is my hearing in one ear intensifies..then the spinning and vomiting..grrr

    • I have heard even from men that this vertigo recipe really helps. Get good quality essential oils.
      In a 10 ml. roller bottle mix 10 drops each of Frankincense, Rosemary, Ginger, Copaiba and Ylang Ylang. Top it off with liquid Fractionated Coconut Oil. You can use it several times or as needed a day. I would suggest putting it on base of neck, ear pulse points or bottom of feet because skin pores are larger there. Good luck

  6. I use powdered ginger root mixed with plain yogurt.
    It has really helped my digestion improve.
    I don’t get any stomach aches or discomfort as
    I use to. Great Herb !

  7. I was in kenya and had the worst sore throat of my life. Restaurant suggested their ginger tea. I drank it went to sleep for two hours and woke up with all my symptoms gone. Ginger tea is for me!

  8. Hello,
    Ginger is excellent adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. Helps with digestion, pain and healing to name a few. Add some turmeric, and it is a one-two punch! Best wishes

  9. Yes it is great, I have been using ginger for a while now, i have it in my apple cider vinegar & lemon every morning, and grate it onto salad and other food i cook.

  10. One of my favorite daily gingers is fresh ground with a little lemon juice in s big glass of water first thing in the morning!

  11. The medical profession do not realise the power of these things they cannot patent them – when people have operations they get warfarin given to them and they are told they must take it. I was taking ginger tea at the time, which also thins the blood, what happened is the scar tissue inside my knee didn’t heal because the blood was so thin! Thin blood is a good thing normally and ginger helps with this!

    • I peel aged fresh ginger which is what you usually find at the grocery store (of course I always get organic) although I am not super picky about this especially if grating; then I will just peel it the best I can, especially knobby thick ends. Most aged ginger does have quite a thick skin. If you can find really fresh unaged ginger then the skin will be much thinner and no need to peel. It’s also not quite as strong tasting so I just use more. I usually find this in the fall at my farmer’s market; I buy lots and store in my freezer. Some people prefer the aged as it is stronger. I like the unaged for raw use better.

  12. What is necessary is some specific guidelines regarding “how much” and “how often”. I use five slices steeped in hot water with a touch of lemon juice and honey, but how often and is five slices adequate.

  13. It’s interesting that you talked about how ginger can reduce the number of toxins that accumulate in your body. I have been looking for ways to stay healthy this year. I can see how it would be smart to eat more ginger because everyone else in my family is sick right now.

  14. Dear Readers, Ladies and Gentlemen, as a medicine doctor and a master of science in biology, who apart from several other medical specializations, have specialized in the complementary medicine, have right to state: among other remedies derived from plants, the ginger has well proved its top position as a therapeutic specific. It is, however, the professional specialist responsibility to supervise and control reaction his/her patient’s organism to it.
    All cofactors has to be taken into account of effectiveness and eventual adverse effects, depending on patient’s particular and individual health disorder /-s conditions.

  15. I have been suffering from acid reflux and always have a sore throat. I once decided to take ginger spice with hot water and drink it. Ever since that day, I have never had any stomach acid problems. once I feel the sore throat symptoms, I drink my cup of ginger spice with hot water and symptoms immediately vanish. At winter I would have flue after flue but ever since I started drinking ginger I don’t have any flue.

    • That sounds painful, Nomhamha! But we agree, ginger is an amazing spice that has numerous health benefits. We’re glad to hear you’re feeling better now!

  16. Great article! I love ginger very much, but I used it only as a seasoning. But now I have been using ginger as a tea for a year now and even making tsuats. Candied ginger are especially loved by children as a delicacy.

  17. I thought I was getting a cold so I had some tea maid and I put 2 teaspoons of my ginger I cook with in it and heated it up and drank it and went to sleep awhile and I seem to feel better ,

    • Sounds wonderful, Victoria. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. We’re glad you feel better now!

  18. I find through a small trial that I drank Canada Dry Ginger ale and it improved my bladder function and I slept better
    The can of ginger ale said it was 100% ginger so I take it perhaps once a day.
    So far it seems to work Ok.

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