What Is Red Ginger?
Red ginger is a variety of ginger that has reddish root bark and is native to Malaysia.
The benefits of red ginger have been known for thousands of years to treat various conditions involving inflammation.
The gingerols and shogaols present in red ginger give it a stronger smell and taste than the other varieties.
Gingerols are phenolic compounds that contribute to the flavor of red ginger in fresh form. Red ginger in the dried or cooked form contains shogaols, another type of phenolic compound.
There are several other compounds that are responsible for the known benefits of red ginger, such as terpenes, phytonutrients, and other phenolic compounds.
Top Six Benefits of Red Ginger
Red ginger has a large number of benefits, with the top ones mentioned below.
- Antiemetic (anti-nausea/vomiting)
Inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, etc. This makes this benefit of red ginger the most exciting!
Red ginger supplementation showed anti-inflammatory effects through the suppression of a pro-inflammatory immune mediator called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α).
TNF-α is one of the most important factors of the immune system in producing an inflammatory response.
This factor makes it a great target for lowering chronic inflammation, as red ginger has shown to do.
The antioxidants in red ginger reduce damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced as byproducts of natural processes that can cause damage to DNA and other cell components.
This can lead to conditions such as cancer, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and other conditions related to inflammation (Ippoushi et al., 2003).
Antioxidants are also beneficial in slowing down the aging process through the same mechanisms.
Red ginger acts as an antiemetic through reduction of post-surgical nausea and vomiting in patients (Chaiyakunapruk et al., 2006).
It also helped lower incidences of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients (mentioned further down).
(Ginger tea is my go-to for an upset stomach!)
Red ginger supplementation demonstrated antibacterial properties through the suppression of various common infectious bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. These bacteria commonly cause foodborne illnesses.
Gingerols and other phenolic compounds in red ginger are responsible for this suppression of bacteria.
They also showed inhibitory effects on Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause damage and inflammation to the stomach during an infection (Supu et al., 2018).
There are two main types of diabetes: type I and type II.
Type I diabetes is characterized by a reduction in insulin production from cell destruction in the pancreas. These cells, called beta-cells, are responsible for producing insulin.
Insulin is essential because it allows food to enter the cells and be used for energy and other necessary uses. In other words, you cannot live without insulin.
Type II diabetes occurs when the cells stop responding to insulin and food cannot enter the cells (insulin resistance). Insulin production increases in response, assuming the body needs more insulin for food to enter the cells.
Eventually, when insulin resistance occurs long enough, the pancreas becomes overworked and slowly stops producing insulin. Therefore, those with severe or chronic type II diabetes may eventually require insulin injections.
Red ginger showed promising benefits in rats with type I diabetes. Supplementation resulted in an increase in insulin levels and a decrease in fasting glucose, cholesterol, serum triglyceride, and blood pressure.
The rats with type II diabetes experienced the same beneficial effects on blood sugar and cardiovascular factors as those with type I diabetes (Supu et al., 2018).
Harvard Medical School estimated that more than 70% of a person’s risk for cancer is based on controllable factors, and diet is a significant factor.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, making this benefit enticing.
Red ginger supplementation resulted in inhibition of NF- κB and reduced expression of TNFα in rats with liver cancer.
NF- κB is a key regulator of inflammatory immune responses and has an established link between inflammation and cancer. As previously discussed, TNFα has clear roles in tumor behavior, including growth and migration within the body.
Together, TNF-α and NF- κB interactions specifically affect tumor cell movement. (Habib et al., 2008).
As previously mentioned, the antiemetic effects of ginger have helped reduce nausea and vomiting among chemotherapy patients.
Considering chemotherapy patients have higher rates of malnutrition due to vomiting, nausea, and taste changes, red ginger may be a great addition to treatment (Supu et al. 2018).
Safety of Red Ginger
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels ginger as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for consumption.
It has no known acute toxicity at typical doses. Normal doses up to 2 grams have not been shown to interfere with blood clotting (Supu et al., 2018).
Where to Find Red Ginger?
Red ginger is most accessible online in the dried or fresh form.
Red ginger has many beneficial properties and remains relatively safe at normal doses.
Its long history of use and more recent scientific literature support its usefulness in treating a variety of conditions, especially those related to chronic inflammation.
Sources of Information
“-Gingerol Inhibits Nitric Oxide Synthesis in activated J774.1 Mouse Macrophages and Prevents Peroxynitrite-Induced Mouse Macrophages and Prevents Peroxynitrite-Induced Oxidation and Nitration Reactions.” Ippoushi et al., 2003.
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Rachel Badtke, RDN, CPT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She specializes in holistic wellness and whole food plant-focused nutrition. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and an ACE-approved certificate of completion in Advanced Sports Nutrition.