Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years, and it is popularly known to stop nausea, motion sickness, and bolster the immune system during a cold or flu. Even though the herb is so well regarded, researchers want to know exactly what it is that makes ginger so powerful and effective.

This review focused on randomized, controlled clinical trials. The idea behind a randomized trial is to eliminate, as much as possible, the effect of bias towards a specific botanical, nutrient, or medicine as compared to placebo.

What the researchers noted about these trials was that ginger’s reputation for alleviating gastric problems is well deserved. Clinical work showed that ginger reduced vomiting and nausea due to pregnancy, chemotherapy treatment, or following surgery.

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects make it valuable for those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it may help reduce the risk of tumor formation as well.

Ginger also appears to be effective for people dealing with the varied symptoms of metabolic syndrome; it helped lower fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels, and reduced insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance. It also reduced C-reactive protein, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Abstract:

Anh NH, Kim SJ, Long NP, et al. Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 6;12(1):157.

Clinical applications of ginger with an expectation of clinical benefits are receiving significant attention. This systematic review aims to provide a comprehensive discussion in terms of the clinical effects of ginger in all reported areas. Following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guideline, randomized controlled trials on the effects of ginger were investigated. Accordingly, 109 eligible papers were fully extracted in terms of study design, population characteristics, evaluation systems, adverse effects, and main outcomes. The reporting quality of the included studies was assessed based on the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing the risk of bias in randomized trials and integrated together with studies that investigated the same subjects. The included studies that examined the improvement of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, inflammation, metabolic syndromes, digestive function, and colorectal cancer's markers were consistently supported, whereas other expected functions were relatively controversial. Nevertheless, only 43 clinical trials (39.4%) met the criterion of having a 'high quality of evidence.' In addition to the quality assessment result, small populations and unstandardized evaluation systems were the observed shortcomings in ginger clinical trials. Further studies with adequate designs are warranted to validate the reported clinical functions of ginger.

Here is the link to the complete study: Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

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