Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Holidays menu Go to Holidays
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

Health benefits of ginger

Siski Green / 16 July 2020

Ginger has been used as a herbal remedy since ancient times, and recent research has found it to be effective against nausea and also helps you feel more full after a meal.

Ginger root and powder
Traditional Chinese medicine has valued ginger as a tonic for digestion

This spice which is used in everything from curries to carrot cake to tea comes from a powerful medicinal plant, a delicious and useful food to keep in your kitchen cupboard.

What is ginger used for?

Ginger is mainly for treating nausea, vomiting and indigestion, but it is also used for those with osteoarthritis and other inflammatory disorders, as well as a weight loss aid.

What’s the history of ginger?

Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family which also includes turmeric and cardamom. It’s the root that is actually used to make the spice – but all plants in this family also have flowers. It has been used by the Chinese since ancient times, and by the first century it had arrived in Europe.

What’s the best way to take ginger?

You can use the dry spice in meals, grate fresh ginger for meals and into tea, use it as an oil (gingerol) and it’s even used in cosmetics.

For those undergoing chemotherapy or suffering with nausea after surgery ginger has proven effective, along with pregnancy-related nausea. It’s recommended you take 1 or 2 grams of ginger to combat nausea. You might want to take this in the form of a supplement, but there are also various lozenges, biscuits and other forms that would also work.

Need to talk to a GP from the comfort of your own home? Saga Health Insurance customers can talk to a qualified, practising UK GP 24 hours a day by phone. Find out more about our GP service.

Does ginger really work?

It’s effective against nausea, so much so that research published in the Journal of Travel Medicine found that it was as effective as common over the counter meds too.

According to research published in the Journal of Pain, study participants diagnosed with osteoarthritis who took 2 grams of ginger endured less pain than those who took a placebo when doing elbow exercises. The ginger used was both raw and heat treated, both were effective.

There is some evidence too, published in medical journal Metabolism that ginger intake may help you feel fuller after a meal, so may be a useful aid when trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Study participants took 2g of ginger.

Where can I get ginger?

Ginger in powdered spice form is available in supermarkets, along with fresh ginger (in root form or in a jar). Ginger supplements are available in healthfood shops and online too. You’ll also find ginger travel sickness pastilles, and lozenges in chemists too.

How long does ginger take to work?

If you’re planning travel, take your ginger supplements or lozenges etc at least 30 minutes beforehand. For other long-term conditions such as arthritis you should start to see effects at and past six weeks.

What are the side effects of taking ginger?

Most people can take ginger without any problems, but some might experience abdominal discomfort and if too much is taken, there can be other issues such as central nervous system depression or cardiac arrhythmias so avoid taking more than 4g per day.

Are there any contraindications when taking ginger?

If you are taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet meds you should consult your GP before taking ginger in any amounts greater than you would find in a normal meal (ie less than 1g).

Need to talk to a GP from the comfort of your own home? Saga Health Insurance customers can talk to a qualified, practising UK GP 24 hours a day by phone. Find out more about our GP service.


Saga Magazine is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site or newsletter, we may earn affiliate commission. Everything we recommend is independently chosen irrespective of affiliate agreements.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.