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Ginger and Turmeric Benefits and Side Effects for Pain and Sickness


Ginger and turmeric have been used for centuries in natural medicine to treat various ailments. Both of these flowering plants have been extensively studied for their medicinal properties and have been found to provide relief from pain, reduce inflammation, enhance immune function, and decrease nausea. In this article, we will explore the benefits and side effects of ginger and turmeric and discuss how they can be used to fight pain and sickness.

Ginger and Turmeric: What Are They?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) are two types of flowering plants commonly used in natural medicine. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia and has a long history of being used as a natural remedy for various health conditions. It contains phenolic compounds, such as gingerol, which is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric, on the other hand, is often used as a spice in Indian cooking and belongs to the same family of plants as ginger. It contains curcumin, a chemical compound that has been shown to treat and prevent several chronic conditions.

Both ginger and turmeric can be consumed in various forms, including fresh, dried, or ground, and can be added to a variety of dishes. They are also available in supplement form.

Benefits of Ginger and Turmeric for Pain and Sickness

1. Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is believed to play a significant role in the development of various diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It can also worsen symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Both ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease pain and protect against disease. Studies have shown that ginger extract can effectively reduce inflammation and decrease levels of nitric oxide, a molecule involved in the inflammatory process. Similarly, turmeric extract has been found to decrease markers of inflammation and may be as effective as anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin.

2. Relieve Pain

Ginger and turmeric have been studied for their ability to provide relief from chronic pain. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is particularly effective at reducing pain caused by arthritis. Studies have shown that taking curcumin supplements can be as effective as certain pain medications in reducing joint pain. Ginger has also been shown to decrease chronic pain associated with arthritis and other conditions. For example, ginger root powder has been found to reduce the intensity and duration of menstrual pain in women and decrease muscle pain caused by exercise.

3. Support Immune Function

Ginger and turmeric are often taken at the first sign of sickness to enhance immune function and prevent cold or flu symptoms. Ginger has been found to possess immune-boosting properties and can be effective against respiratory tract infections. Turmeric, on the other hand, has been shown to have anti-viral properties and can help reduce the severity of influenza A virus. Both ginger and turmeric can also decrease levels of inflammation, which can improve immune function.

4. Decrease Nausea

Ginger has been found to be an effective natural remedy for reducing nausea. It has been shown to be as effective as anti-nausea medication in reducing pregnancy-related nausea and can also help reduce post-operative nausea and vomiting. Ginger has also been found to be effective in reducing nausea caused by motion sickness, chemotherapy, and certain gastrointestinal disorders. While there is limited research on the effects of turmeric on nausea, some studies have suggested that it may protect against digestive issues caused by chemotherapy, which can help reduce symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Side Effects of Ginger and Turmeric

When used in moderation, both ginger and turmeric are considered safe and healthy additions to a well-rounded diet. However, there are some potential side effects to be aware of.

Ginger may decrease blood clotting and can interfere with blood thinners when used in high amounts. It can also impact blood sugar levels, so those taking medications to lower their levels should consult with their healthcare provider before taking ginger supplements.

Turmeric powder contains only about 3% curcumin by weight, so consuming a large amount or using a supplement is necessary to reach the dosage found in most studies. In high doses, curcumin has been associated with side effects like rashes, headaches, and diarrhea.

It’s important to note that while there is plenty of research on the individual health effects of ginger and turmeric, there is limited evidence on how the two may affect health when used together. It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before supplementing and to decrease the dosage if any side effects are noticed.

How to Use Ginger and Turmeric

There are many ways to incorporate ginger and turmeric into your diet to enjoy their health benefits. Both ingredients work well together in various dishes such as salads, stir-fries, and sauces, adding both flavor and health benefits. Fresh ginger can also be used to make ginger shots, brewed into tea, or added to soups, smoothies, and curries. Ginger root extract is available in supplement form and has been shown to be most effective when taken in doses of 1,500–2,000 mg daily.

Turmeric is excellent for adding color to dishes like casseroles, frittatas, dips, and dressings. It is recommended to pair turmeric with a dash of black pepper, as it can help boost its absorption in the body. Turmeric supplements can also provide a concentrated dosage of curcumin and can be taken in doses of 500 mg twice daily to reduce pain and inflammation. Supplements that contain both turmeric and ginger are also available for convenient consumption.


Ginger and turmeric are two powerful ingredients that offer numerous health benefits. They can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, support immune function, and decrease nausea. When used in moderation, both ginger and turmeric are safe and healthy additions to a well-rounded diet. However, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and consult with a healthcare provider before taking supplements or using high doses. Incorporating ginger and turmeric into your diet is easy and can be done through various culinary methods. By adding these ingredients to your meals, you can enjoy their flavor and reap their many health benefits.

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