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Ginger shots improve your well-being, from fighting the flu and colds to boosting immunity and relieving nausea. Photo: Shutterstock

How ginger shots, trending on social media, improve well-being, from fighting colds, flu and nausea to boosting immunity

  • Ayurvedic practitioners have used the versatile ginger root for centuries to help fight nausea, period and arthritis pain, asthma and weight gain
  • Social media pushed ginger shots into the spotlight, and claims that ginger helps prevent heart disease, diabetes – even cancer – are backed up by science

Check out the ginger shots on supermarket and health store shelves these days. The intensely flavoured ginger juice concentrate, brimming with natural goodness and medicinal properties, is also a hit at juice bars and restaurants.

Celebrities who are fans of ginger shots include singer-actress Selena Gomez and actresses Eva Longoria and Anna Kendrick. And chefs across the globe use ginger in their dishes to give them a piquant kick.

But Indian grandmothers and Ayurvedic doctors have used ginger in elixirs for centuries to treat nausea, colds, arthritis, menstrual cramps and travel sickness, among other ailments.

My mother would pickle slivers of ginger in lemon juice, which we loved eating with our food, especially hot dal or curry and rice dishes. The pickle also helped to tackle indigestion and pregnancy-induced nausea.

Ayurvedic expert Bharti Raghav combines her ginger shots with lemon and other herbs.
According to Ayurvedic expert Bharti Raghav, based in the Indian city of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, social media has helped popularise ginger shots.

“Consuming small amounts of raw juice made from fresh, concentrated ginger root became very popular during the [coronavirus] pandemic when everyone was obsessed with boosting their immunity,” she says.

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Ginger shots are full of anti-inflammatory properties. Ayurvedic practitioners use them to address conditions from rheumatoid arthritis to gut disorders, asthma and even certain cancers.

Some studies also claim that ginger juice aids in weight loss, adds Raghav, who herself is a regular consumer of ginger shots.

A ginger shot in the morning is a great way to kick-start the body, she says.

“It helps boost metabolism, perk up one’s appetite before breakfast, while its spicy flavour makes food more palatable,” she adds.

Raghav’s ginger shot recipe involves blitzing together a knob of peeled ginger, a teaspoon of lemon juice and honey (unless you’re diabetic) with a splash of coconut water or plain water.

“Strain and consume this daily, preferably on an empty stomach,” she advises.

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Some people like to add a sprig or two of coriander or mint, and cardamom powder to amp up the shot’s flavour.

Bangalore-based homemaker Kamla Priya, 66, says a ginger shot infused with mint replaced her morning coffee during the pandemic.

“It is greatly rejuvenating and gets my body going while warming it from inside,” she says.

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Priya adds that ginger has always been popular in her family as an additive in tea and other drinks, or as a cooking ingredient.

“Many people buy their ginger shots, but I like to make them at home as they are cheaper, fresher and the quality is guaranteed,” she says.

A 2017 study in the journal Nutrition showed that people who incorporated more ginger into their diet were at a lower risk of developing chronic heart disease or high blood pressure.

“Ginger has a potentially preventive property against hypertension and coronary heart disease … The probability of illness decreased when the daily ginger intake increased,” the researchers wrote.

Ginger shots are full of health-giving properties.

Ginger’s main bioactive compound is gingerol, which experts say is key to its potential medicinal and therapeutic benefits.

“Gingerols contain antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-neuroinflammation properties which aid digestion and promote gut health,” says Mumbai-based nutritionist Aditi Pathak. Fresh ginger has more gingerol than dried ginger.

In recent years, ginger’s anticancer properties and how consuming it alleviates the nausea, vomiting and fatigue induced by chemotherapy have also been studied.

Ginger also helps control coughs and colds, making it an ideal tonic for winter when dust particles increase, triggering throat irritation and sniffles.

It is also a source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, which help strengthen the immune system, adds Raghav.
Some studies have pointed to ginger’s role in protecting against or alleviating symptoms of conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, colitis and Alzheimer’s disease because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Results of a clinical trial published in 2009 in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that ginger can be as effective as analgesics like ibuprofen and mefenamic acid in alleviating period pain.

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That study also pointed to ginger’s efficacy in reducing osteoarthritic pain and its symptoms.

A 2018 study published in the Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology reported that ginger was as effective as the painkiller Novafen, which combines paracetamol, ibuprofen and caffeine, in quashing menstrual pain.

There are plenty of healthy reasons to add a ginger shot to your daily routine. If the taste is too strong, add fresh lemon juice for balance. This will also add to its benefits.

Bharti Raghav drinks a daily ginger shot that includes lemon and herbs.

Lemon helps maintain the body’s pH balance and promote good dental health. It also has immunity-boosting vitamin C to help stave off colds and flu, and antioxidants to cleanse the liver.

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