A lot has been said about ginger and turmeric but very seldom a comparison (ginger Vs turmeric) between the two has been drawn. These two roots are consumed throughout the world for their medicinal properties. Today they have gained a lot of fame, but what does science say about all this, and which one is better of the two?
These two roots are two of the most typical foods in what is known as ‘ natural medicine ‘. Various civilizations have attributed a wide variety of medicinal properties to them and today they are incredibly fashionable. They are part of detox juices and food supplements and are recommended by celebrities and scientists. But none of this proves its effects. For this reason, we have set out to find out what science says about the properties of the two and have to find an answer to the question of turmeric vs ginger.
Enjoying such spectacular fame, there are not a few studies that have been carried out on these golden foods. But let’s discuss ginger vs turmeric by parts:
Ginger Vs Turmeric: What they are?
Ginger and turmeric are two types of plants. The first is native to Southeast Asia. What is consumed is its underground stem, which is also appreciated for its characteristic spiciness. On the other hand, we consume the root of turmeric, which grows as a rhizome underground. These two plants are related to each other and their properties, although not identical, but are quite similar, which makes it a bit difficult to draw a comparison; ginger vs turmeric.
Both Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for the development of a large number of diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. As the researcher Philip Hunter pointed out in a study, this condition can also worsen the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease.
In 2015, a study by researchers Zahra Naderi, Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi, Ali Dehghan, and the rest of their team at Yazd University Iran, showed that the consumption of extract one gram of ginger daily for three months reduced inflammation and levels of nitric oxide (one of the molecules responsible for this process) in all the 120 study subjects suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, a 2016 meta-study conducted by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Brighton evaluated the results of 9 scientific papers on ginger and showed that taking between 1 and 3 grams of this food per day for a period of 6 and 12 weeks reduced levels of C-reactive protein, one of the most important markers of inflammation.
For its part, another meta-study from this same year carried out by R. Tabrizi and the rest of his team from the University of Shiraz, Iran, evaluated the results of 15 scientific works that assessed the effects of turmeric. They confirmed that most of the studies demonstrated that turmeric reduced levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and malondialdehyde, three molecules directly linked to inflammation.
Although, very similar results, looking at the inflammation properties of turmeric vs ginger, turmeric is a winner.
Do they act as pain relievers?
Yes, at least this has been proven by many studies. Both indeed helped to calm pains, specifically those due to arthritis. A meta-study that reviewed the results of 8 scientific papers found that taking 1,000 mg of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) was as effective as ibuprofen and similar medications.
On the other hand, a study by researchers P. Rahnama, A. Montazeri, HF Huseini, S. Kianbakht, and M. Naseri, from Shahed University in Iran, showed that menstrual pain of 120 women was reduced significantly after taking 500 mg of ginger for 5 days. Similarly, another study found that 74 participants who took 2 grams of ginger, over 11 days had less muscle soreness after exercise.
Here again, the comparison between ginger vs turmeric is hard but turmeric is the winner by a slight margin.
Ginger vs Turmeric: Immune Boosters
There is a centuries-old great deal of belief that these roots can improve the functioning of the body’s defense system. Science has not left this issue aside and has thoroughly investigated it. The conclusions are promising, although insufficient.
Unfortunately, not much research has been done on humans, and the experiments that have been carried out have been in vitro or mice. The results are:
- Ginger extract blocked the growth of respiratory pathogens.
- Ginger too, prevented the activation of various immune cells during periods of seasonal allergy.
- Turmeric was tested on animals in vitro to have antiviral properties, which may help reduce symptoms of the flu virus.
As all of these studies indicate, further research is required to come to a conclusion and to give a proper verdict about the supremacy of ginger vs turmeric.
Traditionally, in the countries of Southeast Asia, these plants have been used to combat nausea and vomiting. In a study carried out by researchers, D. Pongrojpaw, C. Somprasit, and A. Chanthasenanont, from Thammasat University, Thailand, it was described that 170 pregnant participants who took one gram of ginger powder a day for a week suffered less nausea. It turned out to be just as effective as medications designed for the same purpose, but with almost no side effects.
Similarly, three other studies from the National Yang-Ming University Taiwan, the University of Rochester, United States, and the Shahid Beheshti University of Iran, confirmed that ginger was able to reduce nausea in patients with chemotherapy, and motion sickness and those caused by gastrointestinal problems.
On the other hand, although it has been suggested that turmeric could have similar effects, studies carried out on the matter have not been conclusive, so more research is needed in this regard. Therefore, a conclusion concerning antiemetic properties go in favor of ginger regarding the title, ginger vs turmeric.
Both ginger and turmeric have been used in various cultural food therapies, i.e., Traditional Chinese Food Therapy, Indian Auyvedic Food Therapy, etc. Both roots are significant and they compliment each other if taken in combination with each other. Nevertheless, concluding the topic, ginger vs turmeric, although hard to culminate, turmeric has slightly better therapeutic properties.
Let us know in the comments below which one is your favourite in this competition of ginger vs turmeric?
Hi, I am Humayun, I hold MS and PhD degrees in Chemical Sciences from Germany. Currently I am working as faculty at the Department of Chemistry, Food Science and Technology, at a Public Sector University. I have immense interest in the fields of Food Science and Sports Nutrition.