Ginger and Gut Health Benefits

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Ginger Root has a long history in many cultures. The Ancient Indians used ginger as a physical cleanser, to treat digestive ailments, and as a spiritual healer. Greeks used to wrap a piece of ginger in bread and eat it after a long meal to help with digestion and alleviate indigestion.

In England, they added ginger to beer, creating a tonic to ease nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Perhaps the most well-known culture to use ginger has been the Chinese, whose history of use goes back as far as 3000 B.C.

They have given ginger its traditional role as a remedy for heartburn, nausea, motion sickness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and stomach cramps. They believe ginger is such a powerful herb, which is why it is featured in many Chinese foods.

Today ginger is still relied on to help control nausea and ease digestion.

Ginger and Gut Health

Ginger and Ginger Root Production

Ginger root originates from Southern China, but can be grown in the subtropics and tropics of Asia.

In addition to China, today it is cultivated in Jamaica, Brazil, Nigeria, and the tropical areas of the United States.

For best quality, the ginger root that is being cultivated for medicinal purposes is allowed to mature for 8 to 9 months before being harvested.

After harvesting, the leaves are removed and the root is washed, peeled, and cut. The pieces are then left in the sun to dry.

After drying, the ginger is either ground into a powder or the oil is extracted to be used.

Nausea and Ginger

Perhaps the most well-known use of ginger root is its ability to relieve nausea associated both with an upset stomach and motion sickness.

Unlike other anti-nausea medications, ginger root will not cause any drowsiness because it works directly on the digestive system.

Most anti-nausea medications block the message from the brain, whereas ginger goes directly to the stomach to ease the problem.

Ginger root’s ingredients work to neutralize stomach acids that may be causing stomach irritation. They also increase the secretion of digestive juices to help better digest foods that are already in the stomach.

This combination greatly aids the digestive process providing relief from and preventing nausea.

Gas, Indigestion and Ginger

Ginger root increases secretions from the mouth and stomach. Both of these actions help to sooth the entire digestive tract, so there is no irritation.

Gas and indigestion are often caused by irritation of the lining of the digestive tract. Once soothed by ginger, the result is a relief from any gas and indigestion one may be experiencing.

Ginger and Gut Health

Ginger as an Anti-Inflammatory

The gingerols that are found in ginger are very powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, which help relieve joint pain associated with arthritis.

The gingerols inhibit the production of nitric oxide, which is responsible for arthritis. Once the production of nitric oxide is reduced, so is the irritation on the joints providing much needed relief.

Immune Booster

Ginger is thought of as a “hot” spice, which means it produces a warming effect on the human body. It is this warming effect that produces sweat, which provides an increased immunity.

The sweat glands produce a compound called dermicidin which once delivered to the skin provides protection against infection. This compound fights off any infection that may come in contact with the skin.

Summary of Ginger Benefits

  • Ginger root is effective in relieving nausea associated with an upset stomach and motion sickness.
  • The increased digestive secretions that ginger root produces eases gas and indigestion.
  • Ginger root’s ability to reduce nitric oxide provides relief from joint pain associated with arthritis.
  • Ginger root’s ability to make you sweat provides increased immunity against skin infections.

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Written and Medically Reviewed By

  • Chelsea Cleary, RDN

    Chelsea is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) specializing in holistic treatment for chronic digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), SIBO, and Crohn’s disease. She educates patients on how they can heal themselves from their conditions by modifying lifestyle and dietary habits.

  • Julie Guider, M.D.

    Dr. Julie Guider earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. She completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia. She completed her general gastroenterology and advanced endoscopy fellowships at University of Texas-Houston. She is a member of several national GI societies including the AGA, ACG, and ASGE as well as state and local medical societies.