1. Helps Treat Nausea and Morning Sickness
Used historically as a natural remedy for sea sickness and morning sickness, ginger is perhaps most well-known for its ability to treat nausea and vomiting.
One review looked at the results of 12 studies composed of 1,278 pregnant women and found that ginger was effective at decreasing symptoms of nausea with minimal risk of side effects.
Plus, another study from the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that ginger helped reduce severity of nausea in patients receiving chemotherapy.
2. Fights Fungal Infections
Fungal infections cause a wide variety of conditions, from yeast infections to jock itch and athlete’s foot. Fortunately, ginger helps kill off disease-causing fungi due to its powerful antifungal properties.
A 2016 test-tube study found ginger extract to be effective against two types of yeast that commonly cause fungal infections in the mouth. Another test-tube study measured the antifungal effects of 29 plant species and found that ginger was among the most effective at killing off fungus.
3. Protects Against Stomach Ulcers
Several studies have found that ginger could help prevent the formation of stomach ulcers, which are painful sores that form in the lining of the stomach and cause symptoms like indigestion, fatigue, heartburn and abdominal discomfort.
In fact, one 2011 animal study showed that ginger powder protected against aspirin-induced ulcers by decreasing levels of inflammatory proteins and blocking the activity of enzymes related to ulcer development.
4. Eases Menstrual Pains
Unfortunately, symptoms like pain, period cramps (dysmenorrhea) and headaches are commonly associated with menstruation for many women. While some turn to over-the-counter medications to provide symptom relief, natural treatments like ginger can be just as useful at easing menstrual pain.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicines showed that ginger reduces menstrual pain as effectively as drugs like ibuprofen and mefenamic acid. Another study in 2009 had similar findings, reporting that it decreased both the intensity and duration of pain.
5. May Inhibit Cancer Growth
One of the most impressive effects of ginger is its anti-cancer properties thanks to the presence of a powerful compound called 6-gingerol. A 2018 study found that ginger derivatives, in the form of an extract or isolated compounds, exhibit relevant antiproliferative, antitumor, invasive and anti-inflammatory activities.
Test-tube studies show that this spice’s components may be effective in blocking cancer cell growth and development for ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. However, more research is needed to determine how well it can inhibit cancer and how it may translate to humans.
6. Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar and Fight Obesity
Research shows that ginger helps promote normal blood sugar. That means it may be helpful for reducing negative symptoms associated with high blood glucose levels, such as frequent urination, headaches (including migraines) and increased thirst.
According to one 2018 study, it can improve lipid profiles and benefit glucose control, insulin sensitivity and glycosylated hemoglobin to reduced fasting blood sugar of type 2 diabetes.
In one 2015 study, ginger supplementation actually reduced fasting blood sugar by 12 percent and improved long-term blood sugar control by 10 percent.
A 2021 study conducted on mice found that ginger also has anti-obesity effects and may play a role in modulating development of adipocytes (fat tissue). When mice were fed a high-fat diet, ginger supplementation significantly reduced weight gain, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and hepatic steatosis (liver fat) without altering food intake.
It’s believed to have this effect due to its ability to fight oxidative stress and inflammation that interfere with metabolic health.
7. Relieves Joint and Muscle Pain
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, adding ginger into your diet could help treat both muscle pain and arthritis-related joint pain, including from osteoarthritis.
One study showed that daily consumption resulted in moderate to large reductions in muscle pain caused by exercise-induced muscle injury. Another study found that ginger extract helped decrease knee pain and the need for pain medication in individuals with osteoarthritis.
8. Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
From producing bile to manufacturing hormones, cholesterol is essential to overall health. However, high levels of cholesterol can build up in the blood, causing blockages and increasing your risk of heart disease.
One of the biggest benefits of ginger is its ability to naturally lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides to reduce your risk of heart problems.
A study conducted at Babol University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that ginger capsule supplementation (3 g/day in 3 divided doses) was able to significantly reduce bad LDL cholesterol and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol compared to a placebo.
An animal study also showed that ginger was nearly as effective in lowering cholesterol (improving cholesterol markers) as atorvastatin, a drug commonly prescribed for high blood cholesterol.
9. Supports Brain Function
Neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s have been linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in the brain. With its wealth of antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is believed to play an important role in the health of your brain.
Several animal studies have found evidence that ginger extract could help protect against brain aging and cognitive decline. Not only that, but a 2012 study also found that ginger extract helped improve cognitive function and attention in middle-aged women.
10. Helps Fight Bacterial Infections
In addition to its antifungal properties, ginger boasts the ability to fight off bacterial infections as well, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia and bronchitis.
According to one test-tube study, the compounds found in this spice could help inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria that cause gum disease. Another test-tube study showed that ginger extract was effective against several strains of drug-resistant bacteria as well.
11. Eases Inflammation
Although inflammation can be a normal, healthy immune response to injury and infection, chronic inflammation is believed to be a major contributor to conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.
One review in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine noted that ginger extract may help inhibit the synthesis of certain markers of inflammation. According to a 2020 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, there’s evidence demonstrating a significant impact of ginger in lowering circulating inflammatory mediators, including C-reactive protein (CRP), hs-CRP and TNF-α levels.
There is also a possibility that ginger benefits include preventing blood clots (thus reducing risk of heart attack) due to its natural acids that thin the blood, but studies so far are inconclusive.
12. Promotes Proper Digestion
One of the most powerful ginger benefits is its ability to support digestive health and prevent problems like dyspepsia, a common condition of impaired digestion characterized by symptoms like pain, heartburn, fullness and discomfort.
According to a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, ginger helps speed up the emptying of the stomach by 25 percent compared to a placebo in people with indigestion. Another study even found that taking ginger capsules with a meal actually doubled the speed of gastric emptying.