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Some people use ginger as a home remedy for colds and sore throats. It has antibacterial qualities and may help manage pain and inflammation.

Ginger is the root of the perennial plant Zingiber officinale. People have used ginger as a herbal remedy for centuries to treat many conditions, from arthritis to abdominal pain.

People often still use ginger today when they have a cough or cold. Scientific research shows that ginger has medicinal properties that could help ease the symptoms of a cold or sore throat.

In this article, we look at the benefits of ginger, how it may help a cold, and ways to use it in teas, juices, and other home remedies.

a cup of tea with lemon and ginger that could be used for treating colds.Share on Pinterest
A person can try adding ginger to hot water with lemon.

There is no conclusive evidence to prove that ginger can stop or get rid of colds, but research suggests that it may help prevent them. Ginger can also help improve the symptoms of a cold.

According to one review, there is evidence that ginger can:

  • prevent colds
  • prevent or soothe a sore throat
  • reduce congestion
  • reduce inflammation

However, researchers need to study ginger further to back up this evidence.

Ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols. Researchers believe that these compounds give ginger its medicinal properties.

Studies suggest that ginger could be beneficial in the following ways:

Antibacterial

A 2011 laboratory study found that ginger showed a higher antibacterial effect than antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. S. pyogenes is the bacterium that causes streptococcal pharyngitis, known as strep throat.

A more recent laboratory study confirmed that the antibacterial effects of ginger are significant.

Antiviral

In test tube studies, ginger displays antiviral properties. In animals, researchers also found it to be effective against pain and fever.

Fresh ginger may be beneficial against respiratory viruses. A 2013 laboratory study showed that fresh ginger had antiviral effects in models of respiratory infection. Dried ginger did not have any effect. Ginger appears to stop the reproduction of a virus.

However, there is currently no evidence that ginger can protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Anti-inflammatory

In laboratory models of throat infection, ginger showed anti-inflammatory activity. The researchers suggest that ginger could reduce pharyngitis, which is inflammation at the back of the throat.

Antioxidant

In addition, a 2012 laboratory study of ginger, alligator pepper, and nutmeg found that ginger had the highest antioxidant effect of the three spices. Antioxidants help prevent the cell damage that results from inflammation.

It is important to note that most of these studies were small or took place in a laboratory or on animals. Researchers have not replicated these results in humans yet.

Ginger has a spicy flavor and warming effect. Its medicinal properties may help ease a sore throat or throat infection. A person can try using ginger for a sore throat by:

  • adding freshly grated ginger into hot water with lemon
  • chewing a piece of fresh root ginger
  • adding fresh ginger to recipes
  • adding fresh ginger to juices or smoothies
  • making a ginger “shot” by blending fresh ginger with coconut water

People can also take ginger in other ways, such as in the form of throat lozenges, pills, or capsules.

Taking ginger in capsule form may be helpful for people who dislike the taste.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say that ginger is safe to use in foods and drinks. However, the FDA do not regulate ginger supplements. Therefore, the purity and quality of ginger products will vary.

Anyone who has a preexisting health condition or takes any other medications should check with a medical professional before using home remedies or supplements. Pregnant women should also take this step.

Some research suggests that ginger may have a stronger antimicrobial effect in combination with honey, which is also antimicrobial.

People can make a soothing drink for a sore throat by adding freshly grated ginger and honey to hot water.

Some additional anti-inflammatory ingredients that a person can add to ginger drinks include:

However, it is always a good idea to check with a doctor before trying new herbal remedies.

Ginger has a long history as a herbal remedy for colds. Its medicinal properties may reduce inflammation and soothe a sore throat.

Fresh ginger is also antibacterial and may help protect against cold viruses. However, researchers need to carry out studies on humans to verify ginger’s potential benefits.

It is possible to take ginger as a tea, juice, or lozenge. People can also add ginger to smoothies or meals. Combining ginger with honey and other anti-inflammatory ingredients is a popular way of soothing a sore throat.

SHOP for ginger health products

Products that contain ginger for colds and sore throats are available in pharmacies, health stores, and online here: