Ginger for Anxiety: Benefits, Evidence and Product Reviews
Ginger is currently seeing a revival as a natural health solution. It is said to be able to help with many ailments but today we'll specifically be considering if ginger is able to help with anxiety.
When we think of ginger (also known as Zingiber Officinale), we don’t typically think of mental health remedies. Ginger is usually associated with cooking or flavoring, seeing as it’s used in products like ginger soda, gingerbread, or as a spice in various dishes.
But, thanks to modern medical research, we have discovered that ginger can also be used to combat the effects of mental health disorders like anxiety.
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The History of Ginger as a Remedy
According to herbal medicine professionals , ginger (more specifically ginger roots) have been used in the medical field for over 5,000 years. According to research done by medical professionals in the United States, back in ancient China and India, many people used ginger as a main ingredient in teas to combat symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and other cold symptoms.
With colonization and expansion came the introduction of ginger to other cultures around the world. When it was introduced to Europeans, they began integrating it into their own medical remedies, as well. This started the movement to further understand the science of ginger and why it helps us the way it does.
From here, we were able to identify that it is composed of over 50 types of compounds and vitamins that are found in products that help treat both physical and mental diseases and illnesses.
How Ginger Helps with Anxiety
One of the biggest results that came from scientific studies of ginger found that it improved the cognitive function of middle-aged women.
According to a study archived in the US National Library of Medicine , a study conducted on 60 participants found that, with regular doses of ginger, women were able to increase their cognitive abilities over one and two month periods. The study led to scientist being able to physically monitor and see an improvement in the functionality of the women's’ memories, allowing them to connect some compounds in the root to the improvement of memory abilities.
These sort of findings have led to more studies resulting in many more medical conclusions and findings surrounding the compounds found in ginger. In other medical tests, ginger found to act as an inflammatory, improve the balance of chemicals in the brain, relax cramps, and decrease feelings of nausea.
These five results of taking ginger can also be tied to the positive effect the root can have on anxiety. Because of the way anxiety affects our bodies and the side-effects of regularly taking ginger, scientists have come to the conclusion that there are many ways it can help people overcome anxiety and calm their emotions.
The Top 5 Benefits of Using Ginger for Anxiety
To easily understand how we can use ginger to combat anxiety, the topic has been broken down into 5 simple benefits, each one with a medical explanation and possible products you can use, depending on what you’re aiming to accomplish.
1. Boosting serotonin levels. One of the main reasons why anxiety is so straining mentally is because of the common chemical imbalances that come with it. There are many chemicals in our brain that are affected by anxiety, including serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The main one that gets affected is serotonin, also known as the chemical that makes us feel-good and happy.
Certain compounds in ginger have been found to boost levels of serotonin in the brain. This was proven by an experiment that was performed on albino male rats. The rats were given small daily doses of ginger to introduce the original effects of it on them. When they were taken off the ginger, they started showing mental signs of withdrawal (the level of the chemicals in the brain dropped).
When they were given ginger for another 30-day period afterwards, their levels regulated and, when stopping the treatment altogether, the levels of serotonin stayed the same, suggesting that the ginger was able to regulate them to normal levels and keep them there. This same effect can be seen in humans.
The exact dosage of ginger depends on the person, however doctors suggest no more than 3 or 4 grams a day, and 1 maximum for pregnant ladies. Children under 2 should also not be given ginger extract as they can have a negative response to its effects.
A good product for achieving this benefit is Pure Synergy Organic SuperPure Ginger Extract capsules. Ranked at 4.4/5, and on the higher end of the price spectrum, these capsules don’t have much of an aftertaste, nor cause the famous ginger burps. And, seeing as they’re a capsule, they’re easy and convenient to take. Because of the amount of ginger extract, they’re often considered to be on the higher end of things.
2. Acts as an anti-inflammatory. Another common symptom of anxiety is that it causes headaches and migraines. For the most part, this is due to the strain that the chemical imbalance puts on the brain, therefore causing it to swell.
In terms of ginger usage, there is a certain compound (10-gingerol) that relieves the amount of pressure in the brain and calms it as whole. The exact science behind the compound is not 100% clear yet, as it is very hard to extract it as its own compound and test it on the mind, but it has been attributed to helping decrease the amount of swelling in the brain.
If left untreated, this swelling in the brain can cause other mental issues, such as depression, a fogginess in the brain, and chronic memory loss.
A good product to relieve these headaches is Now’s Ginger Root Extract capsules. Rated at 4 /5, these capsules have a reputation of relieving and decreasing inflammation, including the kind that leads to headaches. They are considered a mid-priced item, generally requiring a little more time to completely get rid of inflammation as a whole. One of the downsides, however, is there is a ginger taste as you swallow the capsule. This isn’t much of a problem, as it quickly goes away.
3. Calm stomach. Another benefit of using ginger is it calms stomach aches and curves feelings of nausea. Seeing as a common symptom of anxiety is stomach cramps and aches due to the body’s reaction to nervousness, being able to calm the stomach can lead to a better overall feeling.
As with its anti-inflammatory effects, there isn’t a lot of known science behind why ginger helps with nausea, all we know is that it does. And while there haven’t been many scientific studies been done on this at the national level, there are countless reviews and reports from people who take ginger for nausea saying it helps.
It is suggested that some of the compounds found in ginger can be attributed to the relaxing side-effects. Some suggest it has to do with the regulation of brain chemicals in the head that clear up the nervousness, while others claim that it is because the ginger coats the stomach in a protective liquid and decreases the stomach acid from jumping around.
A good product to assist with these aches and pains are Webber Naturals Ginger Root capsules. Rated at 5 /5, these capsules are widely known for decreasing stomach aches, cramps, and nausea. Despite their lower price, they are a very reliable brand that is widely sold across almost every superstore or pharmacy. Similar to the Pure Synergy capsules, these are easy and convenient to take, allowing you to take them quickly whenever your anxiety symptoms are flaring.
Another good product to use to calm stomach aches or target cramps is Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Aid tea. Rated at 4.7/5, these tea bags are made with natural ginger ingredients that focus in on stomach cramps and aches. Despite the cheap price, they aren’t any less effective. And, while it isn’t as convenient to take as capsules, this ginger tea remedy is a little more relaxing. However, the main downside is that it takes a little longer for the effects to take action; usually around 15 minutes longer than capsules.
4. Improves cognitive abilities and curves fatigue. As explained before, there are scientific studies that show the improvement of cognitive abilities in women who took ginger over a period of one and two months. This has been further proven with more studies in this same field of study. Time after time, the results reflected close similarities between each other; only becoming inconsistent in very small fashions.
Along with the negative cognitive effects of anxiety, people may also suffer from a strong sense of fatigue and mental fog. Dr.Lam, a nutrition doctor who studied at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California, has suggested that people who suffer from this mental fog and “adrenal fatigue” use ginger as a natural remedy if they’re looking to stray away from pharmaceuticals.
The exact reason he suggests this is because of the fact that ginger is a adaptogen (a root or herb that helps with psychological or mental issues). Its natural compounds and medical breakup target the areas of the brain that need a “boost” in order to overcome the feelings of fatigue.
A good product to assist with getting over and curving the effects of adrenal fatigue is Chinese Ginger Herbal Tea. Rated at 4.8 /5, this product is considered to be on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it’s for the good. It’s recorded as being stronger than most ginger teas, and the decaffeination aspect of it keeps you from becoming addicted. It’ll boost your energy levels, but also relax you before sleeping, allowing you to get the maximum amount of good rest possible.
If you don’t want to turn towards tea, another alternative is Nature's Way Ginger Root capsules. Rated at 5 /5, these mid-priced capsules are as convenient and effective as almost any other capsule. The antioxidants inside of these ginger capsules activate the parts of your brain that are lacking the energy they need to keep you awake, making your feelings of fatigue slowly disappear.
5.Reduces the feelings of cramps. One of the not-so medically observed benefits of using ginger is the relieving power it has towards cramps. While “cramps” is a rather general term, ginger can be found helping cramps that are caused by nervousness, all the way to menstrual reasons. And, most of all, they are a common occurrence in people with anxiety.
Why anxiety causes cramps is not fully understood, but it suggested that it's the body’s way to overcome intense feelings of nervousness. Many of the compounds found in ginger target the brain, which then targets and calms muscles and the overall nervous system. This, as observed with some users and in some studies, leads to the feelings of cramps diminishing and becoming less of a problem.
A great product for this is Organika Siberian Tiger Ginseng capsules. Rated at 4.5/5, these mid-priced capsules can focus on the areas of the body that can calm cramps. This includes the kinds that anxiety causes. Despite its higher price, these capsules pack a lot of punch, leading many people to believe it is a great product. To maximize their effectiveness, take them in the morning and in the evening if you work later into the night.
Other Ways to Incorporate Ginger to Help Anxiety
While taking capsules or drinking tea are the most effective ways of reaping the benefits of ginger, it is understood that some people don’t like tea or hate swallowing pills.
One other popular way of getting these ginger products into your body is to mix them with food or drinks. Depending on the product and what you’re trying to get out it, you can mash up capsules and put them in your breakfast smoothies, glasses of water, or protein shakes after the gym.
It’s important, however, to make sure that what your mixing it with is compatible with ginger products and won’t be “too much” ginger. If, for example, you’re drinking a ginger tea, don’t add two ginger capsules. This will exceed the amount you’re supposed to ingest and possibly do the opposite of what you want it to do and make you feel sick.
Generally speaking, ginger is a safe way to deal with anxiety, but it has risks to it as well. The most common risk you’ll run into is over usage. Ginger can help sort out your cramps and sharpen your mental state, but only if taken in accordance with the directions on the bottles or boxes the products come in. Too much ginger is very bad for your body and can leave long-term damage if not used properly.
Another popular risk is being allergic to other ingredients in the products. Like many medical medications or substitutes, there are usually other drugs or chemicals put into each capsule, as well. Before taking on a product, ensure that it doesn’t conflict with your medical situation- this may make you feel sick and worsen the feelings of anxiety.
If at anytime a product doesn’t feel right or causes your symptoms to get worse, immediately stop taking that product and try another after a little bit of a break (this is judged by you- resume when you’re comfortable doing so). If things get really bad and out of your reach, don’t hesitate to go to a medical professional.
In conclusion, ginger is almost magical when it comes to combatting and curving the effects of anxiety. Despite only being a root, it is one of the oldest and most reliable medications in the world. And, with the right usage, it has the power to help you with the problems you’re having now.