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“A Little Ginger Never Injure…”

The use of ginger dates back 5,000 years when the people of ancient China and India grew the spice specifically for medicinal purposes.  Is it possible that the ancients of old knew that ginger possesses multiple biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and anti-nausea effects, among many more according to The National Institue of Health?  Ginger is also “respiratory-protective” and known for empowering the immune system.

The healing properties of ginger are mostly the results of the activities of the two phytochemical compounds, gingerols and shogaols.  The herb is best known for its reputation to relieve nausea and other digestive issues.   Working as an oncology Dietitian, I can remember recommending ginger tea to help alleviate nausea in some of the patients receiving chemotherapy. However, ginger is becoming more popular these days due to its ability to enhance the immune system.

The abundant supply of antioxidants found in ginger is primarily responsible for the positive effects on the immune system.   As a result, a new trend is currently circulating of drinking a wellness beverage, known as Ginger Shots.   The act of drinking ginger beverages is a 5,000-year practice in that the Chinese and Indians were drinking ginger in the form of a tonic back then to treat many of their illnesses. What exactly can the Ginger Root contribute to our healthcare needs today

Evidence-based research indicates the use of fresh ginger may help protect the respiratory system from one specific respiratory virus in human cells (HRSV) infection note, not COVID-19.  Yet, research does how ginger provides some protection to the respiratory system.   In 2013, a study seeking evidence to show how many people use ginger as an herbal medicine today.  Many believe ginger will help when experiencing a cold or flu and choose natural remedies over pharmaceutical.    The study result shows 69% of the participants in the study use ginger as a form of herbal medicine to treat their cold or flu illness. Thus, the use of herbal medicine is still actively accepted.  Consequently, evidence-based data show the anti-inflammatory gingerols, and shaogals in ginger root do help to relieve a sore throat quickly and kill rhinoviruses the direct culprits which cause colds. 

Other evidence-based health benefits of ginger are:

  • Ability to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain
  • Effective against inflammation, osteoarthritis, and rheumatism
  • Provides relief from nausea/indigestion/gas
  • Ginger compounds: gingerols suppress proliferation of human cancer cells
  • Improves cardiovascular health: decrease cholesterol
  • It improves blood pressure in combination with medication.
  • Helps regulate glucose response with Diabetes
  • Assist with Weight Loss

 What are Ginger Shots? Most likely includes the same ingredients found in the tonics made thousands of years ago.  Ginger shots are grated/juiced fresh ginger, fruit juice (apple, lemon) or vegetable (juiced), and a sweetener, often time manuka honey.  A shot is equivalent to 1 ounce or one teaspoon.  The juice is taken in the amount of a shot each day.   I must caution you that ginger consumption in concentrated amounts may cause a drop in blood glucose resulting in hypoglycemia.  Also, high levels of ginger will act as a blood thinner, if you are taking Warfarin/Coumadin, please consult with your Primary Care Physician before adding ginger shots to your daily routine.

Ginger is safe overall; remember all things in moderation. Ginger is an excellent spice and ginger beer as my Caribbean friends periodically provide is a delightful treat. Just keep in mind, “A Little Ginger, Never Injures.”