Ginger supplement root extract health benefit, side effect, dosage, medicinal uses for nausea, osteoarthritis
September 22 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant that grows in India, China, Mexico, and several other countries. The underground stem is the active part used. This herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of inflammation and rheumatism and is used in China and some Western countries as a treatment for nausea, including nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Benefits and medical uses

Antioxidant property
Ginger significantly lowered lipid peroxidation by maintaining the activities of the antioxidant enzymes -- superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in rats. The blood glutathione content was significantly increased in ginger fed rats. Similar effects were also observed after natural antioxidant ascorbic acid (100 mg/kg, body wt) treatment. The results indicate that ginger is comparatively as effective as ascorbic acid as an antioxidant. Ginger also protects tissues from radiation damage. You may also consider other supplements with antioxidant benefits such as curcumin and acai berry supplements.


J Nutr Biochem. 2015. Prevention of allergic rhinitis by ginger and the molecular basis of immunosuppression by 6-gingerol through T cell inactivation. The incidence of allergies has recently been increasing worldwide. Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated hypersensitivity is central to the pathogenesis of asthma, hay fever and other allergic diseases. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and its extracts have been valued for their medical properties including antinausea, antiinflammation, antipyresis and analgesia properties. In this study, we investigated the antiallergic effects of ginger and 6-gingerol, a major compound of ginger, using a mouse allergy model and primary/cell line culture system. Our results demonstrate that 6-gingerol suppresses cytokine production for T cell activation and proliferation, thereby not causing B cell and mast cell activation and resulting in prevention or alleviation of allergic rhinitis symptoms.


Andrology (Los Angeles). 2015. Treatment with a combination of ginger, L-citrulline, muira puama and Paullinia cupana can reverse the progression of corporal smooth muscle loss, fibrosis and veno-occlusive dysfunction in the aging rat. An oral combination of ginger, muira puama, Paullinia cupana and L-citrulline seems to be as effective as daily PDE5 inhibitor therapy in either delaying or reversing the onset of the histological and functional characteristics of aging related erectile dysfunction.

Blood sugar and cholesterol management
Anti-diabetic and hypolipidaemic properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Br J Nutrition. 2006.
An aqueous extract of raw ginger was administered daily (500 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) for a period of 7 weeks to streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. The STZ-injected rats exhibited hyperglycemia accompanied with weight loss, indicating their diabetic condition. At a dose of 500 mg/kg, raw ginger was significantly effective in lowering serum glucose, cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels in the ginger-treated diabetic rats compared with the control diabetic rats. The ginger treatment also resulted in a significant reduction in urine protein levels. In addition, the ginger-treated diabetic rats sustained their initial weights during the treatment period. Moreover, ginger decreased both water intake and urine output in the STZ-induced diabetic rats.

Blood thinner
Gingerols, the active components of ginger, represent a potential new class of platelet activation inhibitors. Administration of 50 gm of fat to 30 healthy adult volunteers decreased fibrinolytic activity from a mean of 64 to 52 units. Supplementation of 5 gm of ginger powder with fatty meal not only prevented the fall in fibrinolytic activity but actually increased it significantly. This fibrinolytic enhancing property is a further addition to the therapeutic potential of ginger. See also blood clot for information on herbs that have blood thinning potential.

Cataract prevention
Antiglycating potential of Zingiber officinalis and delay of diabetic cataract in rats.
Molecular Vis. 2010.
Advanced glycation end products (AGE) are associated in the development of several pathophysiologies including diabetic cataract. Diabetic animals received either 0.5 or 3% ginger in their diet for a period of two months. At the end of two months slit-lamp examination revealed that feeding of ginger not only delayed the onset but also the progression of cataract in rats. Molecular analyses indicated that feeding of ginger significantly inhibited the formation of various AGE products including carboxymethyl lysine in the eye lens. In addition, it also countered hyperglycemia-induced osmotic stress in the lens.

Chemotherapy induced nausea
This herb may be useful when consumed a few days before and a few days after chemotherapy in order to reduce nausea that can occur from this treatment.

Researchers randomly assigned patients with bone cancer to either ginger root powder capsules or placebo capsules as an additional antiemetic to ondensetron and dexamethasone. There was more severe nausea and vomiting in the placebo group compared to the ginger group. Pillai AK,Sharma KK, Gupta YK, et al. Anti-emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as an add-on therapy in children and young adults receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer. Sep 2010.

The efficacy of ginger added to ondansetron for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting in ambulatory surgery. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 January.

Colon Cancer
Ginger appears to lower some indicators of inflammation in the colon which perhaps may help reduce the risk for colon cancer.

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2018. Protective mechanisms of 6-gingerol in dextran sulfate sodium-induced chronic ulcerative colitis in mice.

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014. The effect of ginger consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 70 type 2 diabetic patients were enrolled. They allocated randomly into ginger group and control group. They consumed 1600 mg ginger versus 1600 mg wheat flour placebo daily for 12 weeks. Serum sugar, lipids, CRP, PGE2 and TNFα were measured before and after intervention. Results: Ginger reduced fasting plasma glucose, HbA1C, insulin, HOMA, triglyceride, total cholesterol, CRP and PGE2 significantly compared with placebo group. There were no significant differences in HDL, LDL and TNFα between two groups. Ginger improved insulin sensitivity and some fractions of lipid profile, and reduced CRP and PGE2 in type 2 diabetic patients. Therefore ginger can be considered as an effective treatment for prevention of diabetes complications.

Gastrointestinal motility
This herb may be helpful for conditions that involve slow GI motility.

Inflammation reduction
Cyclooxygenase (COX) is an enzyme responsible for formation of important substances called prostanoids, including prostaglandins, prostacyclin and thromboxane. There are several types including COX-1, 2 and 3. Inhibition of COX can help provide relief from the symptoms of inflammation and pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, exert their effects through inhibition of COX. Celecoxib, rofecoxib, and other members of this drug class inhibit COX-2.

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors in ginger.
Fitoterapia. 2010.
Ginger roots have been used to treat inflammation and have been reported to inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX). Ultrafiltration liquid chromatography mass spectrometry was used to screen a chloroform partition of a methanol extract of ginger roots for COX-2 ligands, and 10-gingerol, 12-gingerol, 8-shogaol, 10-shogaol, 6-gingerdione, 8-gingerdione, 10-gingerdione, 6-dehydro-10-gingerol, 6-paradol, and 8-paradol bound to the enzyme active site. Purified 10-gingerol, 8-shogaol and 10-shogaol inhibited COX-2. No inhibition of COX-1 was detected. This can explain, in part, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.

Dietary ginger constituents, galanals A and B, are potent apoptosis inducers in Human T lymphoma Jurkat cells.
Cancer Lett. 2003. 
The effects of the constituents isolated from ginger species including curcumin, 6-gingerol and labdane-type diterpene compounds on cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis in the cultured human T lymphoma Jurkat cells were studied. Among the tested compounds, Galanals A and B, isolated from the flower buds of a Japanese ginger, myoga (Zingiber mioga Roscoe), showed the most potent cytotoxic effect. Exposure of Jurkat human T-cell leukemia cells to galanals resulted in the induction of apoptotic cell death characterized by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation. The results from this study provide biological evidence that ginger-specific constituents other than curcuminoids are potential anticancer agents.

A highly purified and standardized ginger extract had a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. This effect was moderate. There was a good safety profile, with mostly mild GI adverse events in the ginger extract group.

Ovarian cancer
Ginger can kill ovarian cancer cells. The study was done using cells in a lab dish, which is a long way from finding that it works in actual cancer patients. Researchers tested ginger powder dissolved in solution by putting it on ovarian cancer cell cultures. Ginger killed the ovarian cancer cells in two different ways -- through a self-destruction process called apoptosis and through autophagy in which cells digest themselves. Ginger spice has been shown to help control inflammation, which can contribute to the development of ovarian cancer cells. In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, it induced cell death at a similar or better rate than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat ovarian cancer. Whether the same effects of ginger in test tubes occurs when humans consume ginger is not known.

Ginger is effective for relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Using it to quell morning sickness does not appear to raise the risk of birth defects.

Can you recommend any natural dietary supplements or herbs for severe morning sickness?
    Ginger is an option to try and you can discuss with your OB-GYN doctor whether it is appropriate for your condition.

Ginger appears to help pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness, without side effects to the unborn child, according to a review of the medical literature. In six studies that examined the effects of ginger in reducing nausea and vomiting in expecting mothers, ginger worked better than a placebo, or inactive drug, and as well as Vitamin B6, which has been shown to improve nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. None of the women who took ginger had problems with their pregnancies, the authors report in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Effect of a ginger extract on pregnancy-induced nausea: a randomised controlled trial.
Willetts KE. University of New South Wales, Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.
To investigate the effect of a ginger extract (EV.EXT35) on the symptoms of morning sickness. The participants included 120 women less than 20 weeks pregnant, who had experienced morning sickness daily for at least a week and had had no relief of symptoms through dietary changes. Random allocation of 125 mg ginger extract (equivalent to 1.5 g of dried ginger) or placebo given four times per day for 4 days. The nausea experience score was significantly less for the ginger extract group relative to the placebo group after the first day of treatment and this difference was present for each treatment day. Retching was also reduced by the ginger extract although to a lesser extent. No significant effect was observed on vomiting. Follow-up of the pregnancies revealed normal ranges of birthweight, gestational age, Apgar scores and frequencies of congenital abnormalities when the ginger group infants were compared to the general population of infants born at the Royal Hospital for Women for the year 1999-2000. Ginger can be considered as a useful treatment option for women suffering from morning sickness.

Radiation exposure
Ginger, a dietary supplement, protects mice against radiation-induced lethality: mechanism of action.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2004.
The radioprotective effect of hydroalcoholic extract of ginger rhizome was studied in mice administered 250 mg/kg ginger extract orally using oral gavage once daily for 5 consecutive days before exposure to gamma-radiation. The animals were monitored daily up to 30 days postirradiation for the development of symptoms of radiation sickness and mortality. Pretreatment of mice with ginger reduced the severity of symptoms of radiation sickness and mortality at all the exposure doses and also increased the number of survivors in a ginger + irradiation group compared to the concurrent double-distilled water + irradiation group. The ginger treatment protected mice against gastrointestinal-related deaths as well as bone-marrow-related deaths. The mechanism of action of ginger was determined by evaluating its free-radical scavenging capability. Ginger was found to scavenge radicals in a dose-dependent manner in vitro. Ginger was nontoxic up to a dose of 1500 mg/kg body weight, the highest drug dose that could be tested for acute toxicity.

Influence of Ginger Rhizome on Survival, Glutathione and Lipid Peroxidation in Mice after Whole-Body Exposure to Gamma Radiation.
Radiat Res. 2003 Nov. Department of Radiobiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India.
Ginger has a dose-dependent antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.

Surgery induced nausea
At a dose of at least 1 gram, ginger is effective in preventing the nausea and vomiting that often afflicts patients after undergoing surgery. Ginger has been used as a traditional medicine in China to treat nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. In the last decade, several studies have evaluated its effects in preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery. To look at all the evidence available, statisticians from Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand pooled data from five clinical trials that involved a total of 363 patients. Compared with placebo, ginger cut the risk of nausea and vomiting in the 24 hours after surgery by 31 percent. That said, a substantial percentage of patients in the ginger arm still had postoperative nausea and vomiting -- 35 percent. The only apparent side effect seen with ginger was abdominal discomfort. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2006.

Forms of the root
Ginger is sold in various forms including as a culinary root, tea, powder, powder supplement, extract supplement, and in various candies. It is sold by raw material suppliers in various extracts, including 5% gingerol.

I see that you have a high opinion of the health value of ginger. Does it make a difference what form one uses? I drink ginger tea. Sometimes I use fresh ginger. Sometimes the powdered which is a lot easier. I've heard of some herbs that are more potent in the dried and powdered form, and some that are much more valuable fresh.
   In the vast majority of cases, fresh herbs are preferable to the powdered forms that have been sitting in bottles for weeks or months. Ginger is beneficial in all forms. I suggest eating fresh ginger on a regular basis and you may also wish to take a ginger extract capsule a couple of times a week.

Adverse reactions, concerns
It inhibits CYP2C19-mediated drug metabolism in a concentration-dependent manner

Review and summary
Ginger has many benefits, including lessening of nausea and potential anti-inflammatory properties. Modern medicine has not taken advantage of this plant's potential.

Anti-tumor-promoting activities of selected pungent phenolic substances present in ginger.
J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1999.
The rhizome contains pungent vanillyl ketones, including [6]-gingerol and paradol, and has been reported to possess a strong anti-inflammatory activity. These pungent substances have a vanilloid structure found in other chemopreventive phytochemicals, including curcumin. In our study, we found anti-tumor-promoting properties of [6]-gingerol and [6]-paradol.

I am a health writer and wonder if you could supply a few quotes for an article I'm now writing on ginger. In particular I'm interested in evidence supporting ginger's ability to boost metabolism and aid weight loss. What is the active component in ginger that promotes weight loss? And if you don't want to take a ginger supplement, how much ginger a day do you need to ingest in order to see results? I'm also interested in ginger's cholesterol-lowering and blood-sugar regulating properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
   I am not aware of any studies with ginger and weight loss. I would not expect ginger, unless perhaps taken in massive amounts, not to have enough of an influence on appetite or metabolism to lead to weigh loss. I personally eat a strawberry-sized amount of fresh ginger a day and have not noticed any effect on my weight. A few rodent studies have shown an influence of ginger on fat metabolism, but no convincing human studies are available to recommend ginger supplements for weight loss. Gingerols, which are the major components of ginger, are known to improve insulin sensitivity in rodents and lab studies do find ginger substances to have anti-inflammatory activities. I have not seen actual human studies with ginger and cholesterol or ginger and blood sugar control. Even though these human studies are lacking, I am convinced, reviewing the laboratory and animal studies, that ginger can be considered a superfood and I consume it on a regular basis.

This is very interesting related to ginger root. I occasionally take ginger for stomach upset. I also have periodic dull back and hip pain that has recently caused me discomfort. I guess that is what happens when you turn 50. I took 2 extra strength Bayer back and body pills. It caused stomach distress the entire night. The next day I not only had back and hip pain but a stomach ache. I took 2 ginger root capsules 550mg each for the stomach discomfort and less than an hour later my stomach felt better and my back pain was gone. Then I read on your web site that ginger is helpful for osteoarthritis. I felt like I discovered something.

What natural supplements work like the otc drug Dramamine (for motion sickness)?
    Herbs are generally not as potent or effective, but high dosages of ginger may be helpful.

On Fox News in June 2015 a doctor said that ginger was good for sleep, is this true?
   In my experience ginger causes alertness and insomnia, it does not help with sleep.

Now Foods, Ginger Root, 550 mg, 100 Capsules

Buy Ginger supplement

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Capsules
Servings Per Container: 50
  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate < 1 g <1%*
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) 1.1 g (1,100 mg)
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Daily Value not established.

Planetary Formulas buy Ginger extract supplement, 350 mg per pill
5% Gingerols - Supports Digestion
Herbal Supplement
Full spectrum Ginger extract combines an extract concentrated to 5% gingerols, with pure, cultivated root, to deliver a broad spectrum of constituents.

Supplement Facts:
Ginger root or rhizome 250 mg standardized extract 5%, yielding 12.5 mg gingerols
Rhizome 100 mg

Suggested Use: One or two ginger tablets daily, or as recommended by your health care professional.