Health Benefits of Ginger

A person cutting fresh ginger root

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Ginger root has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Derived from the Zingiber officinale plant, ginger can be consumed raw or cooked. Its warm, spicy flavor makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like curries and soups, and teas.

In addition to its culinary uses, ginger root has been consumed for health purposes since ancient times. Ginger is widely used in traditional Asian medicine systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat a variety of ailments, from colds to arthritis

Ginger contains over 100 active compounds, including gingerols, shogaols, and paradols, which are thought to be responsible for its health benefits.

When taken as a supplement, ginger has been associated with a number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving outcomes in people with certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes.

Here’s everything you need to know about ginger supplements, including potential benefits, risks, side effects, and how to use ginger supplements safely. 

It May Help Reduce Inflammation and Cellular Damage

Ginger contains anti-inflammatory substances, including the phenolic compounds shogaols, gingerols, and zingerone. These compounds work by inhibiting certain proinflammatory pathways in the body, like the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway, and decreasing levels of inflammatory proteins such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Studies show that ginger supplements are effective for reducing markers of inflammation in the body such as IL-6, TNF-α, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). Supplementing with ginger may help reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis.  

A 2020 review of 109 randomized controlled trials—including eight that investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger—found that ginger supplements were effective for reducing pain and inflammatory markers in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A 2022 review also concluded that ginger supplements were effective for reducing symptoms of some inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

Ginger may also help reduce markers of oxidative stress, a condition that occurs when molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defenses, which leads to cellular damage. 

In a 2015 study in 41 people with type 2 diabetes, the participants who were supplemented with two grams of ginger powder per day for 12 weeks had significant reductions in blood levels of a biomarker of oxidative stress called malondialdehyde, compared to the control group.

It Could Protect Against Heart Disease 

Having elevated levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and certain blood lipids can increase your risk of developing heart disease. In addition to following a nutritious diet and leading a healthy lifestyle, consuming ginger may help protect against heart disease.

Studies show that people who consume ginger regularly in their diets have a lower risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease compared to people who don’t.

Plus, ginger supplements have been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors in people at a higher risk for developing heart disease, including people with diabetes. 

A 2018 review that included 10 studies on people with type 2 diabetes found that supplementation with one to three grams of ginger daily for six to 12 weeks led to significant improvements in their blood lipid profile and markers of short and long-term blood sugar control.

Another 2018 review of 12 studies found that ginger supplementation was effective for lowering triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. Interestingly, the researchers found that doses of ginger under two grams per day were more effective for reducing triglyceride and total cholesterol levels than higher doses.

It May Be Effective for People With Diabetes 

Supplementing with ginger may be a helpful way for people with type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar control and reduce their risk of heart disease. 

In a 2020 study that included 103 people with type 2 diabetes, the participants who supplemented with 1.2 grams of ginger per day for three months experienced a greater reduction in total cholesterol and fasting blood sugar levels compared to those who took a placebo.

A 2022 review also found that ginger supplementation led to significant reductions in fasting blood sugar, the long-term blood sugar control marker hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in people with type 2 diabetes compared to control groups.

It May Be Helpful for Treating Nausea 

Certain compounds found in ginger, like shogaol and gingerols, may help reduce nausea by stimulating the flow of saliva and gastric secretions, accelerating gastric emptying, and blocking the neurotransmitter serotonin from binding to certain receptors in the brain.

Ginger supplements have been shown to be effective for treating nausea in pregnant women as well as nausea related to chemotherapy and surgery.

For example, a 2022 review that included 13 studies found that ginger supplements significantly improved nausea in pregnant women compared to placebo treatments. The researchers found that ginger was more effective for reducing nausea than vitamin B6, which is another supplement commonly recommended to treat pregnancy-related nausea.

Ginger supplements appear to be safe during pregnancy, but pregnant women should always clear dietary supplements with their healthcare providers to ensure safety.  

It May Support Weight Loss

Although diet and physical activity are the most important factors in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, research suggests that ginger supplements may help encourage weight loss in some people. 

A 2019 review that included 14 studies found that supplementation with ginger significantly reduced body weight and waist-to-hip ratio in people with overweight or obesity. Waist-to-hip ratio is a measurement that compares your hip size to your waist size. A higher ratio indicates more abdominal fat, which is linked to increased disease risk.

Researchers think that ginger may help stimulate weight loss by enhancing fat burning, inhibiting fat absorption in the digestive tract, and reducing appetite. Although these findings are encouraging, more research is needed to understand how ginger impacts body weight and weight loss efforts.

How to Take Ginger 

Ginger is available in many forms, such as capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid supplements. When you take ginger depends on what you’re hoping to treat. For example, in the 2020 study that found that ginger supplements were effective for reducing blood sugar and cholesterol in people with diabetes, the participants were instructed to take two ginger capsules per day, one 30 minutes before breakfast and the other 30 minutes before lunch.

Many studies that have investigated the effects of ginger on human health have used divided doses, meaning smaller doses of ginger were taken multiple times per day.

In addition to taking ginger supplements, ginger can also be consumed in its fresh or dried form by adding it to recipes and beverages like teas and smoothies. 


Typical doses of ginger used in research studies range from one to three grams per day. However, higher and lower doses have also been used to treat various health conditions. 

Keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to ginger supplements. For example, a 2018 review found that doses of ginger that provided under two grams per day were more effective for reducing triglyceride and total cholesterol levels than doses exceeding two grams.

If you have questions related to ginger dosing, it’s best to contact a qualified healthcare provider for advice. They can recommend an effective and appropriate dose of ginger based on your health history and what you’re hoping to treat.

Is Ginger Safe?

Ginger appears to be safe, even when taken in high doses of up to four grams per day. 

However, ginger may lead to side effects when taken in larger doses. For example, ginger supplements may cause digestive symptoms like diarrhea, heartburn, and acid reflux when taken in doses exceeding six grams per day. 

Some research suggests that taking high doses of ginger may also affect your body’s ability to clot blood, which can increase the risk of excessive bleeding. This is why people who are undergoing surgery, people with bleeding disorders, and those taking blood-thinning medications should generally avoid consuming large doses of ginger. Keep in mind that research in this area is conflicting, with some studies finding that ginger has no effect on blood clotting. More research is needed to understand the risks of ginger supplementation for those undergoing surgery or those with bleeding disorders.

Ginger supplements should be avoided by people who have gallstones, as ginger has been shown to stimulate bile acid secretion, which can increase the formation of gallstones.

Lastly, even though many studies suggest that ginger supplements are safe and effective for reducing nausea during pregnancy, you should always consult your healthcare provider before taking a ginger supplement if you’re pregnant. They can help you decide whether ginger supplements are a safe choice for your specific health needs.  

Potential Drug Interactions

Like many other dietary supplements, ginger has been shown to interact with several commonly prescribed medications, such as: 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): When used alongside certain anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, ginger may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Blood thinners: Although research is conflicting, ginger may inhibit blood clotting, which may increase bleeding risk.
  • Diabetes medications: People using blood sugar-lowering medications should speak with their healthcare provider before taking ginger supplements, as ginger has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. 
  • Immunosuppressive drugs: Ginger may increase or decrease blood levels of certain immunosuppressive drugs, such as tacrolimus and cyclosporine.

Even though ginger has a strong safety profile, it may interact with several medications. If you’re currently taking one or more medications, speak with your healthcare provider before adding ginger supplements into your routine. 

What to Look For

When picking out a ginger supplement, you’ll want to choose a product from a trusted brand that adheres to strict safety and quality guidelines. 

Whenever possible, purchase supplements from manufacturers that hire third-party labs to test their products for purity and potency, which helps improve supplement safety.

Keep in mind that you can also increase your consumption of ginger by adding more fresh or powdered ginger to your diet. Try adding freshly ground ginger into smoothies, soups, and dressings and using powdered ginger to flavor recipes like baked goods and soups. Additionally, fresh or powdered ginger can be combined with other spices like turmeric and cinnamon and enjoyed as a hot or cold tea. 

Can You Take Too Much Ginger 

Taking ginger in doses of up to four grams per day appears to be safe and well-tolerated. Most studies have shown that ginger supplements providing one to three grams of ginger per day may be helpful for conditions like arthritis and diabetes.

Health experts advise against exceeding four grams per day as doses higher than this are more likely to cause side effects like diarrhea and heartburn.

Side Effects of Ginger

Ginger may cause the following side effects, especially when taken in doses exceeding four grams per day:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn 
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Abnormal heart beat 
  • Low blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms after taking a ginger supplement, stop taking the supplement and contact a healthcare professional for advice.

A Quick Review

Ginger contains a variety of compounds that have therapeutic effects in the body.

When taken as a supplement, studies show that ginger may benefit those with health conditions like type 2 diabetes and arthritis and may be helpful for reducing nausea and inflammation. What’s more, ginger supplements could help protect against heart disease and may encourage weight loss in certain populations.

Ginger supplements are relatively safe, but they aren’t appropriate for everyone. If you’re interested in taking a ginger supplement, consider speaking with your healthcare provider first. They can help you decide whether a ginger supplement is a good choice for your specific health needs.

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