Ginger for the immune system: The best tips & tricks

Ingwer für das Immunsystem: Die besten Tipps & Tricks

Ginger is known as a real miracle bulb that is said to strengthen the immune system. This is not only known in traditional Asian medicine, but in this country too, natural remedies are being used more and more often. When cooking or baking, as a snack in between - or how about a ginger shot? - the spicy taste of the ginger remains unmistakable.

In addition to income options, we provide you with the most important background information on the subject of ginger and the immune system. What exactly does ginger help with? Who should keep away from it? How much of this is healthy? What happens in an overdose? Here you will find answers to your questions so that the ginger can develop its best possible effect.

the essentials in brief

  • Ginger is a plant native to the tropics and subtropics that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
  • We mostly know the rootstock of the ginger. Today there are alternatives to buy ready-made powder, capsules or tea.
  • Thanks to its many healthy ingredients, ginger can strengthen your immune system. This is also recognized by contemporary conventional medicine.

Definition: What is ginger?

When we talk about ginger, we usually mean the rootstock (rhizome) of the ginger. It is used both in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes. The sharp, spicy taste is concise, which can be attributed primarily to the gingerol contained.

Ginger is low in calories because of its high water content.

However, ginger is about 85 percent water. 100 grams of ginger only have 50 kcal / 211 kJ. You will also find B vitamins and vitamin C, folic acid, a high proportion of potassium as well as magnesium, sodium and calcium.


Ginger was medicinal plant of the year 2018. (Source: Lawrence Aritao / unsplash)

Traditional Chinese medicine has long relied on the power of ginger. The antibacterial and antiviral effect is particularly valued. When you have a cold, nausea or digestive problems, people like to use ginger these days - or to strengthen the immune system in advance. (1)(2)

Ginger is native to the tropics and subtropics and is commercially grown in various countries around the world. Countries like India, Nigeria and China are pioneers in ginger production. But you can plant ginger yourself in your garden. Ginger has been found in German-speaking countries since around the 9th century.

Background: What you should know about the effect of ginger on the immune system

It's okay to be a little critical of medicinal plants at first. We answer the most important questions about ginger and the immune system.

What is the function of the immune system in our body?

The immune system is the body's defense mechanism against harmful internal and external influences. It detects pollutants, pathogens and pathological cell changes and takes action against them. Several organs, cell types and proteins are busy with this.

The spleen, for example, serves as a store for immune cells, while the tonsils catch pathogens in the throat. The thymus gland, your lymph nodes, mucous membranes or the intestine also play an important role. The immune system is complex to ensure the health of your body.

Most of the time we don't notice any of this. However, if the immune system is weakened and is then confronted with a pathogen, it can fail - we become ill.

To prevent this, it makes sense to help the immune system. Especially during the cold season, many people use vitamin supplements and the like. Ginger is a natural alternative that can be processed as desired.

How does ginger help the immune system?

The chemical composition of ginger makes it very healthy. The following table (3) shows selected ingredients and how they help your body.

Material effect / application
cineole Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
citral Odor, liver protective, anti-inflammatory
linalool i.a. antimicrobial, analgesic, anxiolytic, antidepressant
gingerol i.a. antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-vomiting
shogaol Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-vomiting, nerve supportive
paradol i.a. anti-inflammatory, good for the heart, nerve supportive
Zingeron i.a. antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic
curcumin i.a. antioxidant, good for the heart, antidiabetic, antimicrobial
essential oil i.a. antiviral, antiparasitic, bactericidal, analgesic
Ginger Extract/Powder i.a. anti-inflammatory, good for the heart, antidiabetic

Its ingredients make ginger interesting for medicine. So far, mainly smaller studies have been carried out on ginger because there is little use in natural ginger for the pharmaceutical industry. However, some studies point to its strengthening effect on the immune system. (4)(5)

But ginger not only contributes to well-being with colds. Especially if you have previous illnesses, your immune system is already weak and needs support.

Patients with the following seem to respond positively to treatment with ginger:

  • multiple sclerosis (6)
  • diabetic kidney disease (7)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (8)
  • chronic inflammatory bowel disease (9)
  • Influenza (10)

Regardless of whether you are already ill or just want to do something for your immune system as a preventive measure, ginger helps. Depending on your predispositions, the effect may differ, but in one study, both smokers and non-smokers benefited from taking ginger. (11)

In what dosage should ginger be taken to support the immune system?

In general, ginger is well tolerated. As is so often the case, however, the motto is: everything in moderation!

On average, you can consume up to 4 grams of ginger powder per day. With fresh ginger, a daily dose of 50 grams is harmless.

Can too much ginger damage the immune system?

If you have taken a lot of ginger - over a long period of time or in high doses - this can affect blood clotting and blood pressure. Ginger can also lower blood sugar levels.

Too much raw ginger can also cause diarrhea, gas, and heartburn. Boosting metabolism and producing more stomach acid can also backfire. If you have a sensitive stomach, be careful not to overdo it with the ginger.

In general, however, the pungency of ginger acts as a natural warning against overdose. Unless you're used to the spicy taste, you usually instinctively don't overeat.

When should I avoid ginger?

People who need to watch their blood levels should watch how much ginger they take. Be careful if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are taking medications that stop blood from clotting.

It is best to talk to your doctor if you are unsure.

Do you have an operation or similar? before, better avoid ginger. Otherwise, the blood-thinning effect can cause you problems. If your mouth and throat area is sensitive, for example because you have just been to the dentist, the hot ginger can lead to irritation.

If you have gallstones, you should also stay away from ginger, because ginger promotes bile. This can cause pain. Worse still, a bile duct obstruction can be triggered.

Pieces of lemon and ginger in water

Ginger tea can be a blessing - for example, do you have to watch your blood levels or are you pregnant, but it's better to postpone the enjoyment until later. (Source: Dominik Martin / unsplash)

Attention should also be paid to people with menstrual problems. Ginger has a circulation-enhancing and stimulating effect - so it can happen that your symptoms get worse.

If you are late in your pregnancy, the ingredients in ginger could induce labor. So be careful.

How do I know if my ginger is still good?

It is best to make sure that the ginger is of good quality and fresh when you buy it. Fresh ginger has a thin, light brown skin with a silky sheen. It shouldn't simply be dented, it should be plump and feel heavy in the hand. A wrinkled tuber has already lost a lot of its essential oils and tastes less as a result.

When opened, the ginger should look pale yellow to slightly light green. If you find dark spots or if the ginger is too dry, you should stop using it.

A piece of ginger is often enough for seasoning and refining. In order for your ginger to last as long as possible, you should store it properly. In general, it must be stored in a cool, dry place in the dark. Then you have several options:

  1. Cooling: You can store ginger in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, in the pantry or in a suitable cellar, for example. The aroma of the ginger is preserved for at least 3 weeks in an airtight storage box / storage bag.
  2. Freezing: If you want to keep ginger longer, you can freeze it. In this way it can be kept for up to 3 months.
  3. Drying: You can of course also dry ginger - keep it airtight and protected from light. In this way the taste lasts for up to 2 years.

Ginger for the immune system: The best ways of taking ginger for the immune system

Even if the rhizome of the ginger is usually used, you can find it in different variants. How would you like to boost your immune system?

How can I take ginger?

Capsules allow you to consume a set dose of ginger extract quickly. It makes no difference whether you are at home in your kitchen or let yourself be pampered on vacation. If you don't like the spiciness of the ginger, this is a good option for you.

Ginger sugar is also an alternative. It gives baked desserts a special aroma. Or what do you think of candying your ginger? You can easily make a healthy snack. Children are also more likely to use ginger.

There are endless ways to incorporate ginger into your dishes.

You can use ground ginger powder for seasoning. It tastes good and has health benefits at the same time. For example, you can enhance porridge with it - or how about ginger biscuits?

Of course, the classic remains ginger in its natural form. You can conjure up all sorts of delicious things with the rootstock. (A tip: sushi and pickled ginger are a dream team.) Feel free to let your creativity run wild!

You can find good ideas, for example, if you think of various home remedies for the immune system. Ginger soup, for example, is not only excellent during the flu season.

How can ginger be prepared?

Ginger tea is probably the most common way to get the healthy components of ginger. Especially when it's cold outside, a cup of it is good. You can buy a wide variety of ready-made tea blends, but it's best if you take a few minutes to do it yourself. It tastes twice as delicious with fresh ginger.

Of course you can refine your ginger tea or ginger water afterwards. It doesn't need anything fancy, just use what you already have at home. The thing is particularly tasty with:

  • Honey
  • lemon juice
  • peppermint
  • thyme

The disadvantage: when heated, the ginger loses some vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, there are now alternatives.

The ginger shot has become popular in recent years. You get all the good ingredients of ginger concentrated in one sip. You can take 1 to 3 shots a day, but one serving is usually enough. Especially after getting up in the morning, this really gets the cardiovascular system and metabolism going.

In the supermarket, the pick-me-up can be quite expensive. Bargain foxes simply make their own ginger shots. This also has the advantage that you can adjust the taste as you wish.


Ginger may be considered a modern day superfood - in fact, people have been using it for a long time. Its numerous healthy ingredients combined with the hot, spicy taste make it attractive. The various preparation and intake options open up a wide field from which you can choose the right one for you. This is how you bring the extra portion of defenses to the table.

Of course, even with a natural plant like ginger, there are a few things to keep in mind. Caution is advisable if you have a sensitive stomach or have to strictly monitor your blood values. But as long as you keep potential side effects in mind, you shouldn't have a problem. Ginger even helps with some pre-existing conditions. In general, ginger offers a tasty way to do something good for you and your body. The immune system thanks you!


  1. Li H, Liu Y, Luo D, et al. Ginger for health care: An overview of systematic reviews. Complement Ther Med. 2019;45:114-123. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.06.002
  2. Klein, J. Spices and their hidden healing power - with pleasure for health. Journal of Phytotherapy. 2016;37(03):109-113. doi:10.1055/s-0042-109834
  3. Kiyama R. Nutritional implications of ginger: Chemistry, biological activities and signaling pathways [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 19]. J Nutr Biochem. 2020;108486. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108486
  4. Carrasco FR, Schmidt G, Romero AL, et al. Immunomodulatory activity of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Salvia officinalis L. and Syzygium aromaticum L. essential oils: evidence for humor- and cell-mediated responses. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009;61(7):961-967. doi:10.1211/jpp/61.07.0017
  5. Zhou HL, Deng YM, Xie QM. The modulatory effects of the volatile oil of ginger on the cellular immune response in vitro and in vivo in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;105(1-2):301-305. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.10.022
  6. Jafarzadeh A, Nemati M. Therapeutic potentials of ginger for treatment of multiple sclerosis: A review with emphasis on its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. J Neuroimmunol. 2018;324:54-75. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2018.09.003
  7. Al Hroob AM, Abukhalil MH, Alghonmeen RD, Mahmoud AM. Ginger alleviates hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis and protects rats against diabetic nephropathy. Biomed Pharmacother. 2018;106:381-389. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2018.06.148
  8. Aryaeian N, Shahram F, Mahmoudi M, et al. The effect of ginger supplementation on some immunity and inflammation intermediate genes expression in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. genes 2019;698:179-185. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2019.01.048
  9. Markam, Riya, and AK Bajpai. Functionalization of ginger derived nanoparticles with chitosan to design drug delivery system for controlled release of 5-amino salicylic acid (5-ASA) in treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases: An in vitro study. Reactive and Functional Polymers. 2020;149:104520.doi:10.1016/j.reactfunctpolym.2020.104520
  10. Zhu H, Hu M, Wang D, et al. Mixed polysaccharides derived from Shiitake mushroom, Poriacocos, Ginger, and Tangerine peel enhanced protective immune responses in mice induced by inactivated influenza vaccine. Biomed Pharmacother. 2020;126:110049. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110049
  11. Mahassni, Sawsan Hassan, and Oroob Abid Bukhari. Beneficial effects of an aqueous ginger extract on the immune system cells and antibodies, hematology, and thyroid hormones in male smokers and non-smokers. Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism. 2019;15:10-17. doi:10.1016/j.jnim.2018.10.001
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