By Garry Messick
Although mainly associated in the West with sugary snacks such as gingerbread, ginger snaps, and ginger ale, ginger has been a staple of Eastern cuisine and traditional medicines for hundreds of years.
As used in foods and beverages, ginger is the root of a flowering plant that originated in Southern Asia, and was one of the first spices exported from that region to Europe.
Studies have established a number of significant health benefits that can be derived from ginger in the form of supplements and extracts. A few examples follow.
Research has found that ginger fights certain types of cancer. A study found that ginger can help treat ovarian cancer by destroying cancer cells through apoptosis or programmed cell death.1
Research suggests ginger, through a polyphenol it contains called gingerenone A, helps suppress obesity and inflammation of fat tissues.2 In another study, ginger was considered alongside orlistat, a medication used for treating obesity. Results showed that, in rats fed a high-fat diet, ginger compared favorably against orlistat for reducing body weight and improving lipid profiles.3
A human study showed ginger oil self-massaged into afflicted knees by osteoarthritis sufferers led to significant pain reduction.4 The study authors recommend this practice as a complementary method to standard medical treatment.
- Cancer Research. 2006;66(8 Supplement):1058-.
- Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017;61(10).
- Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013;17(1):75-83.
- Res Theory Nurs Pract. 2017;31(4):379-92.