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All about “Ginger”

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Health profile

For a very long time, ginger has been consumed all over the world to relieve various ailments such as rheumatism, nausea, colds and headaches. Ginger can be used in different forms, such as capsules, powder, herbal teas, fresh or syrup. This fact sheet will mainly focus on the health effects of consuming fresh or dried ginger (see our Ginger (psn) fact sheet in the Natural Health Products section for the effects of ginger in other forms).

Active ingredients and properties of ginger

Antioxidants . Antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. These are very reactive molecules which are implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases linked to aging 1 . A forty antioxidant compounds have been found in ginger 2-5 . Some of them are resistant to heat and could even be released during cooking, which could explain the increase in the antioxidant activity of cooked ginger 6. Ground ginger ranks third in terms of its antioxidant content among more than 1,000 foods analyzed 7 . Note however that this comparison was made on the basis of 100 g of food and not per usual portion (which corresponds to about 2 g in the case of ginger). Fresh ginger also has a strong antioxidant activity compared to other vegetables and spices consumed in Asia 8 . After thirty analyzes, ginger, as well as turmeric, mint, coriander, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, ranked among the fourteen most strongly antioxidant fresh plants 8 .

Ginger, garlic and onion
By consuming ginger with garlic or onion (or better yet, both) we would create a synergy between their different antioxidant compounds. This would allow them to surpass their individual antioxidant effects 6 .

The main active compounds responsible for the pungent taste of fresh ginger are  (6) -gerol 9 and (10) -gerol . Their  anti-inflammatory  and  antioxidant properties are well known 10  and their anticancer potential  is demonstrated in vitro 11 , 12 . A recent study has shown a promising effect of ginger as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of prostate cancer 30 . During the dehydration of ginger, gingerols are converted into compounds called shogaols. This group of compounds is therefore found in greater quantity in dried or powdered ginger than in fresh ginger 9 . A study shows that shogaols could protect the cells of a compound involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease 13 . The effects of the various antioxidant compounds isolated from ginger have been observed in vitro as well as in animals. These are promising results that have yet to be demonstrated in humans.

Nausea and vomiting . Several studies have evaluated the antiemetic effect (the ability to prevent or stop nausea and vomiting) attributed to ginger. First, two studies show that consuming 0.5 g to 1.5 g of powdered ginger (in capsule form) may be effective in treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy 14 , 15 . In addition, a recent meta-analysis shows that 1 g of powdered ginger (in the form of capsules) would be more effective than a placebo in preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery 16 . For comparison, 1 g to 2 g of powdered ginger equals about 10 g of fresh ginger17 . Finally, ginger consumption could prevent nausea and vomiting related to motion sickness , but the evidence is still insufficient to conclude probative effectiveness 14 . In this regard, two studies have not seen an antiemetic effect following the consumption of fresh ginger 18 , 19 . The gingerols and shogaols contained in ginger 14 play a role in the antiemetic effect, acting inter alia on the reduction of stomach movements 20. To date, the majority of randomized studies have been performed with ginger powder (capsules) and comparing it to a placebo. Thus, it is difficult to determine whether consumption of fresh ginger, crystallized or herbal tea, for example, could provide the same effects.

Ginger: understand everything in 2 min

Digestion . A review article, in which studies carried out in animals have been listed, shows that ginger (like other spices) could stimulate the secretion of bile and the activity of different digestive enzymes , resulting in faster digestion. food 21. The quantities of ginger used in these studies are high and even greater than what could be consumed by populations recognized as being large consumers of spices, such as India. Although the consumption of such quantities is realistic for these populations, it is more difficult in a North American context where spices (including ginger) have less place in traditional dishes. As the effect of eating fresh ginger on the digestion process has not been the subject of a well-controlled clinical study in humans, more research may eventually lead to more specific conclusions on the subject.

Inflammation . The anti-inflammatory properties of certain constituents of ginger have been recognized for a very long time and are well documented in vitro 22 . Among the known compounds, let us mainly mention gingerols whose beneficial effects have also been observed in animals 23 , but also shogaols and paradols which exert their effects by different mechanisms of action 22 . In humans, the consumption of ginger has shown promising results in reducing pain associated with arthritis (only a few studies, carried out using fresh ginger) 14. On the other hand, the results of these studies are difficult to compare, given the different preparations and quantities of ginger used (from 0.5 g to 50 g of ginger per day). More studies are therefore necessary before concluding that there is a real effect of the consumption of fresh ginger on the prevention and treatment of pain related to chronic inflammatory disorders.

Diabetes . A recent rigorous scientific study has shown a beneficial effect of the consumption of 3 g of ginger powder for 8 weeks in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Indeed, the ginger extract would decrease the values ​​of fasting glycemia and d glycated hemogloblin in addition to improving insulin resistance 31-32 .

Other properties

Is ginger antioxidant? A little  : the TAC index of powdered ginger is 288 umol.
Is ginger acidifying? Data not available.
Does ginger have a high glycemic load? No.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

Manganese . The ground ginger is an excellent source of manganese for women and a good source for man , their needs for this mineral are different. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals .

 Copper . Raw ginger is a source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.

What is a “portion” of ginger worth?
Weight / volume Raw ginger (root), 23 g (60 ml) Ground dried ginger, 2 g (5 ml)
Calories 19 6
Protein 0.4 g 0.2g
Carbohydrates 4.2g 1.3 g
Fat 0.2g 0.1g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g 0.2g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.


Different properties attributed ginger (such as anticoagulant effects and hypoglycemic) suggest that consumption may interfere with some medicines, plants or supplements, increasing their effects 24 . In this regard, several authors recommend that people taking blood medications (such as heparin, coumadin or aspirin) or before surgery, avoid consuming large amounts of ginger in order to reduce the risk of bleeding excessive 25-27 .

In addition, large doses of ginger could interfere with heart medications (cardiotonic effect) and diabetes medications (hypoglycemic action) 24 . These interaction risks are, however, theoretical and have not necessarily been observed in patients.

Ginger over time

The term “ginger” is derived from Sanskrit shringavera , which means “shaped like a deer’s antler”. From there appeared the Greek ziggiberis and the Latin zingiber , then “gingibre” in French, and finally “gingembre”, which appears for the first time in 1256 in a written work.

The home of the genus Zingiber is thought to be in southern India and China, where it has been used as a condiment, food and medicine for more than 5,000 years, but its ancestors have never been found. wild.

One of the first oriental spices to enter Europe, ginger was brought there by Arab merchants about a century before our era. Two centuries later, the Greek Dioscorides and the Roman Pliny the Elder mentioned it in their medical writings, emphasizing its carminative properties and its virtues as an antidote against poisons. He was known in France and Germany in the IX th  century and England in the X th  century. During the conquest, the Spaniards implanted in the Caribbean and Mexico so that, by the middle of the XVI th  century, Spain was able to import this part of the world the precious spice. It was also the first time that a spice of oriental origin was successfully cultivated in the New World.


A spice that deceives the nose
In the XVI th  and XVII th  centuries, in several European countries, he developed the famous gingerbread, with many regional variations and which originally still included ginger. Why? Because this highly aromatic spice masked the flavor of the flour, which was almost always rancid.

Nowadays, ginger is grown in all the hot regions of the planet. Depending on the climatic conditions, the nature of the soil and the cultivation methods, the composition and the quality of the rhizomes vary considerably from one country to another, so that we have come to establish a kind of vintage map :

  • the Jamaican , known for its delicate aroma and which is mainly served fresh, in the kitchen and to flavor various drinks. This is the one we are most likely to find in our grocery stores;
  • the Australian , with a distinctly sweet and lemony flavor, which is used for confectionery;
  • the more full-bodied African from Nigeria and Sierra Leone has a powerful camphor flavor that makes it a product of choice for the production of essential oil and oleoresin, from which aromas are used in cooking, perfumery or medicines from the Far East;
  • the Indian , with a pleasant lemon flavor: it is mainly intended for export, so that most of the production in this country is dehydrated;
  • the Chinese , produced in very large quantities, but the rhizomes are generally excluded from our markets that they are treated with sulfur dioxide.

Culinary uses

Ginger recipe

Discover our lemonade recipe with ginger .

Marinated , it is essential in Japanese cuisine. It is served with sushi, sashimi, oriental noodles, tempura, etc. Grated or chopped fresh , the ginger rhizome is used in stir-fried dishes and curries, soups, oriental stews and fish dishes. Add the ginger at the end of cooking to benefit from its maximum flavor. Consider adding it to a vinaigrette made with oil, vinegar, honey and soy sauce. You can also add tea to the water or make an infusion to take at the end of the meal: heat ½ tsp. grated ginger and three or four cardamom seeds in a cup of a half-milk, half-water mixture or in water. Pass. Take hot or iced.

  • Candied or crystallized , it is used in the composition of cookies, cakes or other desserts. Finely chopped, it is excellent in whipped cream.
  • Dried and ground , it is suitable for breads, pastries, confectionery, pudding and desserts. With nutmeg, it is a wonderful seasoning for pumpkin soup. It is part of the composition of the four-spice, which is used to season simmered dishes.

To access other recipes, you can go to the cooking recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: candied ginger, ginger juice, ginger chicken

If you grow ginger, you can use the young shoots when they are seven or eight centimeters tall. Sauté them the Chinese way, or marinate, the Japanese way, in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar or honey and sesame oil.


  • In the refrigerator , store it on a shelf and not in the vegetable drawer which is too humid, which may promote the development of mold. It can easily be kept for two to three weeks. It can also be kept in the expense, like onions and potatoes.
  • Put the rhizomes in a jar , cover them with sherry or brandy, close and refrigerate. They will keep themselves so to speak indefinitely.
  • In the freezer  : just take out a piece of rhizome if necessary, and grate it while it is still frozen. Avoid allowing it to thaw, as it then takes on a soft consistency and becomes difficult to grate.
  • In pieces, it can be dried in the oven at low temperature, door slightly open, for 10 to 12 hours, after having scalded it for ten minutes to prevent it from germinating during drying. If you peel it and cut it into rings, you don’t need to scald it. It will dry in a few days at room temperature.
  • Asians keep it in sugar syrup . Maple syrup should do just that.

Organic gardening

Tropical plant which requires nine or ten months of growth without frost, ginger is not normally grown in our climates. However, hardcore enthusiasts will be able to produce them on a small scale.

Not so long ago, to start growing, you could use rhizome pieces bought at the grocery store, but since the Canadian government approved the irradiation of spices which, in the case of ginger, has precisely in order to prevent it from germinating, plants must be obtained from specialized seed producers, or rhizomes from organic farming and, therefore, not irradiated.

Culture in container, then in open ground. Order your seedlings in early fall. Transplant them immediately into 20 cm pots filled with potting soil composed in equal parts of vermiculite, peat moss (or leaf potting soil) and compost (vegetable, sheep manure, shrimp, etc.). Water well and place the pots in front of a window facing east or west, or under a “Grolight” type neon. For the rest of the winter, avoid overwatering, but never let the plants dry out.

The ginger jar
As its name suggests, the ginger jar was used to store this spice. In China, where it comes from, it was offered as a wedding gift. Very popular in Europe in the XVIII th  century and after it was immortalized by famous painters, including Van Gogh, Cezanne and Saints.

In early June, transplant your plants, spacing them 20 to 25 cm, in a light, loose and rather sandy soil, enriched with compost or ripe manure; ideally, in a raised bed or a ridge, situations that allow good irrigation without the risk of rot. It is that ginger likes water, but hates having feet too long wet.

Mulch the plants to conserve moisture and limit weed growth with grass clippings or dead leaves. Every month, and even every two weeks, apply a foliar fertilizer (algae and fish emulsion, animal or vegetable manure).

If the stem turns yellow or the frost threatens, harvest all the rhizomes. Set aside the healthiest for your next crop, which will start two or three months later after a period of dormancy. Meanwhile, keep them cool and dark.

Culture in containers. The cultivation method is almost the same as for plants in the open ground except that they are raised in 20 or 25 liter containers filled with very rich soil. In spring, when the frost is no longer threatening, take the pots outside and place them in a partially shaded place, protecting them – very important – from the wind. The application of foliar fertilizers and an adequate supply of water are essential here, plants grown in containers being much more exposed to temperature extremes and deficiencies in essential nutrients.

When harvesting, leave part of the rhizome in the soil of the pots and store them in a cool, dry and dark place for about two or three months, after which the plants will again form stems and will give you another harvest eight or nine months later.

Do not hesitate to collect some of the rhizomes when they are still young – around five months. They are then tender and fine, less pungent than the mature rhizomes.

Ecology and environment

Like garlic and turmeric, and unlike most plants, ginger has lost the ability to reproduce sexually (by seed) and multiplies only vegetatively (by the rhizome), which generally indicates that plant has been domesticated for a very long time. All the commercial ginger is therefore made up of clones from a handful of very old cultivars, perhaps dating from the beginnings of agriculture, 12,000 years ago … These cultivars are resistant to practically everything that is disease and insect, otherwise they simply would not have crossed the millennia. From an ecological point of view, this is ideal since their production requires relatively few fungicides or pesticides, except when the growing conditions are inadequate.

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