Touted for its claimed "healing powers", but what really are the ginger shot benefits? And do they really deserve a spot in your health regimen?
Ginger root reportedly helps relieve pain and muscle soreness, lower blood pressure, fight cancer, and treat diabetes, among other potential health-promoting factors. Called a “wonder plant,” ginger has found its way into the diets of health-conscious individuals around the world.
One popular way to ingest ginger is by drinking a ginger shot.
As “excellent” or “very good” health declines with age, according to the CDC’s 2016 National Health Interview Survey (see Figure 1), adults are increasingly seeking new ways to stay healthy and improve their immune system.
The use of ginger isn’t just a passing fad. It first appeared as a healing agent in ancient times, finding widespread use in India and China. It was introduced to America by the Spaniards and has served as a medicinal herb in the West for about 2,000 years.
Consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice, ginger grows in warm, humid climates. A tropical plant, most ginger in the U.S. comes from Hawaii and is harvested by digging up the rhizome of the ginger plant — the rhizome is the subterranean stem of the plant from which the plant’s root system extends.
Fresh ginger has a spicy, tangy flavor, although when used in roasted or slow-cooked dishes, the spice takes on a warmer, woody flavor. While ginger root is often ground and added to food or sprinkled on various dishes, a ginger shot includes the juiced or ground version of the plant, along with other added ingredients, such as lemon, apple, cherry, and beetroot.
(Note: Consult with your doctor before adding ginger to your current diet.)
“Ginger shots are extremely beneficial for the digestive tract and a great support for the gut colony of friendly bacteria,” according to the Probiotics Center’s Ken Silvers .
While many cultures use ginger to spice up food, ginger root reportedly provides special rejuvenation and healing powers.
The effective substance in ginger, called gingerol , is the active ingredient that gives the plant many of its beneficial powers.
The reported benefits of ginger and ginger shots range according to who you ask, but we’ve included a comprehensive list below for you to consider:
Ginger has been shown to reduce the joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, a common health problem among seniors. Osteoarthritis sufferers who took ginger extract as part of their treatment suffered from less pain and had to take less medication for pain.
The antioxidant compounds in ginger help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive disorders by inhibiting inflammation in the brain. Furthermore, ginger has also shown that it can improve brain functioning.
Ginger acts as an agent against muscle pain from working out or doing other strenuous activities. While ginger doesn’t seem to have an immediate impact, the spice appears to reduce the day-to-day progression of such pain.
Ginger helps relieve nausea. The most common uses of ginger as an anti-nausea compound includes for patients during surgery or undergoing chemotherapy. Ginger is also thought to help with motion sickness and was even used to fight sea sickness in the past.
Early studies show that ingesting ginger helps lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics, as well as helping individuals improve their HbA1c over a period of time. Ginger also reduces oxidized lipoproteins, a risk factor for heart disease and common in Type 2 diabetics.
Ginger speeds up the process of emptying the stomach once you have ingested food. This helps to relieve indigestion that arises from the delayed emptying of the stomach in some individuals.
If taken at the beginning of a female’s menstrual cycle, ginger can help relieve the pain often associated with a woman’s period.
Ginger also helps with reducing high levels of LDL lipoprotiens, also known as the bad cholesterol. Ginger can also reduce triglyceride levels in the blood.
Some studies have shown that the active substance in ginger, gingerol, might help fight cancer. While more research is needed, early signs show that ginger is effective against a variety of cancers, including pancreatic, breast, and ovarian cancer.
We’ve established the documented benefits of ginger and ginger shots, but do any downsides exist? There are a few. Let’s take a look at the potential bothersome side effects of ginger and ginger shots:
Prolonged ingestion of ginger can lead to the development of a dry, scaly rash on some people, most notably on the face.
When consuming ginger, some people are allergic to ginger and can encounter difficulty breathing, increased swelling, and the appearance of a rash or hives.
Ginger thins the blood like aspirin, making it more difficult for the blood to clot. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking ginger to ensure that it doesn’t interact dangerously with any medication you are already on, such as anti-clotting drugs. It is also important that you do not take ginger before surgery.
If taken in large quantities, ginger can cause stomach problems, such as diarrhea, gas, and heartburn. Furthermore, individuals with ulcers should avoid taking ginger. If you have gallstones, avoid taking ginger because it promotes the production of bile.
Ginger can also cause sensitivity to bright light in some people. While the cause is unknown, if you suffer from this issue, many physicians recommend you stop taking ginger immediately.
While ginger is said to lower blood sugar, you should ask your doctor before taking it. In most cases, a decision to take ginger might require an adjustment of your current diabetes medication to account for the lower blood sugar totals.
Taking too high of a dose of ginger can cause heart palpitations. If you have a heart condition, you should avoid taking ginger or consult with your doctor first.
Ginger is known to cause severe uterine contractions. In light of this, pregnant women are asked to avoid taking ginger as its ingestion could potentially cause a miscarriage.
Weight-loss regimens, such as the South Beach, Zone, Atkins, and Paleo diets, demonstrate the excitement for healthy food options. And studies indicate that the benefits of ginger on the digestive system can indeed result in weight loss.
According to progressivehealth.com , “… ginger can boost the body’s metabolic rate and should be recommended for treating obesity. In addition, there are reports that ginger can boost metabolism by up to 20%.”
Ginger acts as a natural appetite suppressant if taken over time. It does this by increasing the level of leptins in the body, a compound that plays a big role in making you feel full and satisfied.
In order to lose weight with the aid of ginger, you need to first find ginger shots that you like. You can find a wide variety of recipes on the Web, but here are a couple to get you started.
This recipe requires you to use real lemons — not the store-bought processed powder.
This recipe requires you to use freshly-squeezed oranges, two tablespoons of Manuka honey, and a small piece of grated ginger.
In addition to buying ginger rhizomes for grating or grinding fresh ginger for use at home, you can also find a selection of pre-made ginger juice or beverages that contain ginger. Making your own ginger shots at home or buying them from the store represent a great way to add ginger to your diet.
You can find a wide variety of ginger-infused drinks on the shelves of your local supermarket or in online stores, including the following brand names:
Keep in mind that a pasteurized ginger juice lasts anywhere from two to three months without losing its potency. You do want to keep opened ginger shots in the refrigerator, and discard them if they are past the expiration or best-by date.
In addition to enjoying a ginger shot within the comfort of your own home, you can also find ginger shots while out on the town. Whether you prefer the privacy of a restaurant or patronizing a juice bar, you can enjoy a ginger shot in a variety of locations.
Most cities cater to the health-conscious crowd by offering juice bars that serve a selection of juice options, including ginger shots. Current juice bars use an array of juicing machines, including DIY juicing.
You can also find ginger shots and other healthy juice alternatives at a variety of restaurants. Some of the restaurant types where you can find ginger shots include Japanese, French, and other health-conscious food establishments.
Juices are growing in popularity and have become somewhat of a trend. Check your Sunday morning coffee shop. It's likely they offer organic ginger teas or bottled juices. (I recommend the Ginger Limeade at Starbucks)
An easy way to make ginger shots in your own home is to grate, grind, or juice store-bought ginger root. When looking for ginger rhizomes, check the produce section at your local supermarket or at organic food retailers. For online purchases, check such online retailers as Amazon.
Ginger shots that you make yourself only have a shelf life of 24 to 48 hours when stored in an airtight container and kept cold. Store fresh ginger root in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge, or store the root wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer.
Check out these easy-to-follow recipes to try your hand at creating your own healthy ginger shots at home:
While drinking ginger shots reportedly provides miracle-like health benefits, we always recommend consulting with your doctor before implementing ginger shots into your health regimen or altering your diet.
Are you curious to see how ginger shots will benefit you? Start mixing up your own recipes and cheers to a healthier you!