Ginger is the rhizome of a plant native to Asia. It is used in different forms, including fresh and dried, but also in juice or oil. Among the active substances present in ginger, we find gingerols, responsible for its smell and aroma, and shogaols.
In terms of health, ginger is mainly used to relieve nausea and vomiting. Let's learn more about the benefits of ginger, and how to incorporate it into our diet.
Ginger for Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger has been studied for its effect on different types of nausea and vomiting. A first study, published in 2018, looked at the effectiveness of ginger on postoperative nausea and vomiting. The results of the meta-analysis of ten randomized controlled trials including 918 participants suggest that ginger would reduce the severity of postoperative nausea and vomiting. In 2019, a second study evaluated the effects of ginger on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. This study did not find an association between ginger and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Finally, a third study, published in 2020, compared the effects of ginger on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy with a placebo and vitamin B6. The results of the meta-analysis of thirteen studies involving 1174 subjects show that ginger is significantly more effective than placebo in improving the general symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, in relieving the severity of nausea, but not in reducing the vomiting. However, the results do not observe a significant difference between ginger and vitamin B6. Therefore, more studies are needed.
Ginger and Menstrual Cramps
In 2020, a study looked at the effectiveness of different plants, including ginger, in treating primary dysmenorrhea, pain occurring during menstruation. Nine studies involving 647 participants were included. At the ginger level, the results show a significant reduction in pain intensity in the experimental group compared to the control group. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.
Ginger and type 2 diabetes
A study published in 2019 evaluated the effect of ginger supplementation on fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Eight randomized trials involving 454 participants with type 2 diabetes were included in this analysis. Participants were assigned either to a group receiving treatment with ginger (1600 to 4000 mg per day) or to a control group. Fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin were measured at baseline, before ginger supplementation, and then at follow-up (8 to 12 weeks). The results showed no significant difference in fasting blood sugar levels between the start and end of follow-up in participants who consumed ginger as well as in the control group. However, the results showed a significant improvement in HbA1c between the start and end of follow-up in participants in the group receiving the ginger treatment. Finally, no significant difference was observed in HbA1c among participants in the control group.
In conclusion, this study suggests that ginger consumption could have an impact on glycemic control, especially in the long term, in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Ginger and osteoarthritis
A meta-analysis published in 2015 evaluated the effectiveness of ginger for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Five trials, involving a total of 593 patients, were included in the review. The results show that ginger has only moderate efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Ginger in the kitchen
In cooking, ginger is used both fresh and dried and can be used in the composition of both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some ideas for cooking with ginger.
In salad dressings, marinades and broths
Ginger is a spice that enhances the taste of a multitude of preparations. Try it in your salad dressings, marinades and broths.
Ginger can be used to flavor fruit compotes, cakes, biscuits, muffins, granolas (seeGranola Chai from Isabelle Huot), etc. Indeed, it is one of the spices that go into the composition of the famous gingerbread and traditional spice cookies.
Finally, ginger can simply be used to make an infusion. Just add a few slices of fresh ginger to a teapot, then let them steep for a few minutes in boiling water before serving and enjoying.
- Tóth, B., Lantos, T., Hegyi, P., Viola, R., Vasas, A., Benkő, R., Gyöngyi, Z., Vincze, Á., Csécsei, P., Mikó, A., Hegyi, D., Szentesi, A., Matuz, M., & Csupor, D. (2018). Ginger (Zingiber officinale): An alternative for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. A meta-analysis.Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology,50, 818. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2018.09.0077
- Xu, Y., Yang, Q., & Wang, X. (2020). Efficacy of herbal medicine (cinnamon/fennel/ginger) for primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.The Journal of international medical research,48(6), 300060520936179. https://doi.org/10.1177/0300060520936179
- Crichton, M., Marshall, S., Marx, W., McCarthy, A.L., & Isenring, E. (2019). Efficacy of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in Ameliorating Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting and Chemotherapy-Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review Update and Meta-Analysis.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,119(12), 20552068. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2019.06.009
- Hu, Y., Amoah, A. N., Zhang, H., Fu, R., Qiu, Y., Cao, Y., Sun, Y., Chen, H., Liu, Y., & Lyu, Q. ( 2020). Effect of ginger in the treatment of nausea and vomiting compared with vitamin B6 and placebo during pregnancy: a meta-analysis.The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 110. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2020.17127144
- Huang, F.Y., Deng, T., Meng, L.X., & Ma, X.L. (2019). Dietary ginger as a traditional therapy for blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis.Medicine,98(13), e15054.https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000015054
- 11. Bartels, E.M., Folmer, V.N., Bliddal, H., Altman, R.D., Juhl, C., Tarp, S., Zhang, W., & Christensen, R. (2015). Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis and cartilage, 23(1), 1321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2014.09.0244