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What Are Ginger Shots? Everything You Need to Know

Health + Wellness
Jamie Grill / Tetra Images / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Ginger shots, which are drinks made from concentrated amounts of ginger root (Zingiber officinale), are claimed to help ward off illness and boost your immune system.


Although ginger shots have only recently become popular in the wellness community, ginger elixirs have been used since ancient times to treat a variety of ailments (1).

While ginger offers impressive health attributes, you may wonder whether taking ginger shots is truly beneficial.

This article reviews ginger shots, including their potential benefits, downsides, and ingredients.

What Are Ginger Shots?

Ginger shots are concentrated beverages made with fresh ginger. The ingredients vary depending on the recipe.

Some shots contain only fresh ginger juice, while others include lemon juice, orange juice, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and/or manuka honey.

They're made by juicing fresh ginger root or combining fresh, grated ginger with other juices, such as lemon or orange.

Ginger shots are available pre-made or made to order at juiceries or specialty health food stores.

You can also whip them up at home by using a juicer, adding freshly grated ginger to citrus juice, or mixing a knob of ginger with other ingredients in a high-powered blender.

Due to their high concentration of this powerful root, ginger shots can be spicy and unpleasant to drink. Thus, they're made in small quantities and typically consumed in one or two swigs.

Summary

Ginger shots are compact drinks made from juiced or grated ginger root. They're sometimes combined with various other ingredients like lemon juice or manuka honey.

Potential Health Benefits of Ginger Shots

Ginger may boost your health in many ways.

Although robust evidence supports its benefits, research on the shots themselves is limited.

As most of the following research is based on high-dose ginger supplements, it's unclear whether ginger shots have the same effects.

Powerful Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

Ginger boasts many potent anti-inflammatory compounds, including a variety of antioxidants, which are substances that protect your body from damage by unstable molecules called free radicals.

For example, ginger is packed with gingerols, paradols, sesquiterpenes, shogaols, and zingerone, all of which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (2, 3).

Numerous test-tube and animal studies show that ginger extract reduces inflammation in those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory gut disease, asthma, and certain cancers (4, 5, 6, 7).

Human studies reveal similar results.

A 2-month study in 64 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking 2 grams of ginger powder daily significantly reduced levels of inflammatory proteins like tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP), compared to taking a placebo (8).

In another study, male athletes who received 1.5 grams of ginger powder daily for 6 weeks had significant reductions in levels of inflammatory markers, such as TNF-alpha, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1-beta), compared to athletes who received a placebo (9).

Additionally, other common ingredients found in ginger shots, including lemon and turmeric, have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (10, 11).

May Soothe Nausea and Digestive Issues

Ginger is a common natural treatment for stomach issues, such as bloating and indigestion.

Studies demonstrate that supplementing with ginger can help increase the movement of food through your stomach, improve indigestion, decrease bloating, and reduce intestinal cramping (12).

Ginger is also used to help treat nausea and often taken by pregnant women seeking a natural and effective nausea remedy that is safe for both them and their baby.

A study in 120 pregnant women showed that those who took 750 mg of ginger daily for 4 days experienced significant reductions in nausea and vomiting compared to a control group. No adverse side effects were reported (13).

Ginger may also help relieve nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy and surgery (14, 15).

Additionally, animal studies suggest that ginger may protect against and treat stomach ulcers (16, 17).

May Benefit Immune Health

Due to its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, ginger may boost immune health.

Although acute inflammation is an important part of normal immune response, chronic inflammation can harm your immune system, potentially increasing your chances of illness (18).

Upping your intake of antioxidant-rich foods and beverages like ginger shots may combat inflammation and keep your immune system healthy.

Many test-tube and animal studies suggest that ginger can enhance immune response. What's more, ginger has powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties (19, 20).

One test-tube study found that fresh ginger had antiviral effects against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which causes respiratory infections, and helped boost immune response against HRSV (21).

Plus, many common ginger shot ingredients, such as honey and lemon juice, may also improve immune health. For example, both honey and lemon have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral effects (22, 23).

Additionally, honey may safeguard your immune system and enhance immune response (24).

Other Benefits

Aside from the above benefits, ginger shots may:

  • Benefit blood sugar control. Several studies note that ginger supplements can reduce blood sugar levels and improve hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term blood sugar control (25).
  • Boost weight loss. Ginger has been shown to significantly reduce body weight, decrease hunger, and increase the thermic effect of food, or the calories you burn during digestion (26, 27).
  • Exhibit anticancer properties. Research indicates that ginger may help protect against certain types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, possibly due to its antioxidant content (28, 29).

Depending on additional ingredients, such as spinach and apple, ginger shots may offer other health benefits, too.

Summary

Ginger and other ingredients added to ginger shots may help reduce inflammation, decrease digestive issues, and enhance immune function, alongside other benefits.

Ginger Shot Downsides

While downing a ginger shot is generally considered safe for most people, there are some potential side effects worth noting.

Ginger, especially when consumed in large amounts, might have blood-thinning effects. However, research in this area is mixed, as some studies find that ginger has no effect on blood thinning (30).

Nevertheless, those taking blood thinners like Warfarin may want to avoid ginger shots and moderate their ginger consumption.

As ginger may decrease blood sugar levels, people with diabetes on certain blood sugar medications should be mindful about consuming large doses of ginger.

That said, this blood-sugar-lowering effect is only associated with concentrated ginger supplements, not necessarily ginger shots (25).

Additionally, people who are allergic to ginger should avoid ginger shots (31).

Added sugar is also a concern. Some recipes call for sweeteners, such as honey or agave nectar, and use fruit juices like orange juice to blunt the spicy taste of ginger.

While consuming a small amount of juice or honey is not harmful, regularly downing ginger shots with added sugar or fruit juice may lead to excess calorie intake and blood sugar issues (32).

Summary

Ginger shots are generally safe. Still, concentrated ginger products may thin blood and reduce blood sugar levels. Be mindful of added sugar in ginger shots as well.

How to Make Ginger Shots at Home

Juice bars regularly make various types of ginger shots, including some with unique ingredients like spirulina or cayenne pepper.

Pre-made ginger shots can also be purchased at specialty grocery and health food stores, as well as online.

However, it's quite easy to make your own ginger shots in the comfort of your kitchen. If you don't have a juicer, you can use a blender instead.

  1. Combine 1/4 cup (24 grams) of peeled, fresh ginger root with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Blend on high speed until cloudy.
  3. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer and reserve the juice.

Enjoy 1 ounce (30 ml) of this ginger mixture daily and store the rest in your refrigerator in an airtight bottle.

If you want to get creative, try adding other ingredients like a dash of cinnamon or cayenne pepper. Many possible flavor combinations and recipes are available online.

If using sweet ingredients, such as apple juice, orange juice, or honey, start with only a small amount to limit your sugar intake.

Summary

You can easily make ginger shots at home or order pre-made ones online. Depending on your tastes, mix up your shots with added ingredients like spirulina or honey.

The Bottom Line

Ginger shots are a popular wellness beverage that may provide health benefits.

Ginger and other shot ingredients like lemon juice may help reduce inflammation, soothe digestive issues, and enhance immune function.

That said, it's best to watch out for added sugar in pre- or homemade shots.

Try making your own ginger shots for a tasty, powerful health boost.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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