12 Health Benefits of Ginger: Effect on Nausea and the Brain

Medically Reviewed on 7/21/2022
12 Health Benefits of Ginger
The antioxidants in the ginger root can help you relax and unwind after a busy day.

Ginger has a long history in medicine as a natural treatment for gastrointestinal issues. It can be used in many forms (fresh, dried, powdered, or crystallized) and can be consumed as a capsule, beverage, or extract.

While it is safe to consume ginger daily, the recommended daily intake should not exceed 3-4 grams. Pregnant women should limit consumption to no more than 1 gram per day. Never give ginger to children under 2 years old.

The more common ways that ginger is used medically include:

  • Tea: For nausea consume 4 cups (950 mL) of ginger tea, which can be made by steeping sliced ginger in hot water.
  • Supplements: Ground ginger supplements should contain 100% ginger without any fillers or other additives.
  • Crystallized ginger: Crystallized ginger is often used by pregnant women with morning sickness. However, some options may contain high levels of added sugar
  • Essential oil: Studies show that inhaling ginger essential oil can help reduce postoperative nausea.

12 health benefits of ginger

  1. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: Ginger steeped in hot water and boiled with tea leaves has been used as a standard cure to relieve nausea and vomiting brought on by pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends the consumption of ginger in moderation to curb pregnancy-associated nausea.
  2. Chemotherapy-induced nausea: Results from two separate studies in adults who took powdered ginger root three times a day reported lesser severity of nausea. In these studies, participants began their ginger supplement three times a day along with standard antinausea pills about three days before starting chemotherapy.
  3. Antidepressant action: The essential oils present in ginger (gingerol) have direct interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the mood-enhancing hormone. Thus, contributing to the antidepressant effects of ginger.
  4. Laxative and carminative action: Especially when taken along with warm water, ginger improves intestinal motility and relieves constipation. Ginger tea with added lemon helps relieve flatulence, bloating, and dyspepsia symptoms.
  5. Joint pain relief: Some laboratory and animal studies have found that ginger extracts can reduce the production of several chemical substances (including leukotrienes and prostaglandins) that promote joint inflammation. The extracts can be ingested or topically applied. However, large-scale studies are needed to confirm this claim.
  6. Stress relief: The antioxidants in the ginger root can help you relax and unwind after a busy day. The serotonin-gingerol interactions may have a role here.
  7. Protection of brain cells: Ginger is high in antioxidants. The antioxidants help tone down the immune dysregulation in the brain cells and free-radical-induced brain cell damage that is responsible for the onset of diseases, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
  8. Antioxidant action: Ginger can help prevent diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and other metabolic disorders due to its ability to combat oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and age-induced cell degeneration.
  9. Cure for hangovers: Ginger ale is often touted as the best cure for a hangover. Many swear by ginger ale to relieve the hangover symptoms, such as dizziness, headache, body pain, and nausea.
  10. Blood thinner: Ginger contains compounds called salicylates that may prevent blood clot formation and act as blood thinners. These compounds are similar to aspirin. However, studies have not revealed a significant blood-thinning effect of ginger or its supplements.
  11. Remedy for irritable bowel syndrome: The active gingerols act as an antispasmodic and improve bowel function. A recent small study demonstrated benefits in both the ginger and placebo groups with irritable bowel syndrome.
  12. Antidiabetic effect: Studies suggest that ginger can improve insulin sensitivity. It can promote glucose entry in the cells, thereby lowering blood glucose levels.


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5 side effects of ginger

  1. Heartburn: Excess ginger can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and cause heartburn.
  2. Intolerance and allergy: Some people develop allergies to ginger skin or rhizomes and may experience mouth pain, burning, and itching.
  3. Increased tendency to bleed: An extension of its blood-thinning effects, too much ginger in those who already take warfarin or heparin may result in bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and blood in stools.
  4. Drug-ginger interactions: Ginger may lower blood sugar especially if taken with sulfonylurea drugs, which can raise the risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. The same goes for blood pressure drugs because ginger can potentiate their effect, leading to a higher risk of low blood pressure.
  5. Skin rashes: Topical application of ginger extracts for pain relief may cause skin rashes.

4 ways to use ginger in your diet

  1. Ginger tea: Take one cup of peeled and finely chopped ginger, add it to two cups of boiling water, let it simmer for about six minutes, and strain. Enjoy the tea with a spoonful of honey or agave.
  2. Ginger ale: Known as granny’s recipe, this is made by mixing grated ginger, whey, water, and sugar in a mason jar and allowing it to ferment for about a week. Consume as a spoonful a day for its probiotic action. Make sure to store the ale in an airtight container. If you see fungal growth in the container or it smells strange, throw it away. Add some carbonated water to your ginger tea and sip it at leisure.
  3. Ginger sauce: Sauté in some ginger at high flame and add some spring onion, soy sauce, fresh garlic, and salt. Add some arrowroot powder and blend to make a sauce. Add any stir fry vegetable or chicken chunks to this sauce to make a side dish.
  4. Ginger supplements: These are available in the form of capsules, powders, and oil. It is advisable to check with your healthcare provider before you start any supplement or make any long-term diet changes.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/21/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Ginger for nausea: Does it work? https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/expert-answers/ginger-for-nausea/faq-20057891

Lim S, Moon M, Oh H, Kim HG, Kim SY, Oh MS. Ginger improves cognitive function via NGF-induced ERK/CREB activation in the hippocampus of the mouse. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Oct;25(10):1058-65. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25049196/

Ginger. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/complementary-and-alternative-treatments/types-of-complementary-treatments/ginger/

Brain food essentials: Ginger. https://neurotrition.ca/blog/brain-food-essentials-ginger