Ginger shot benefits: Are Ginger Shots good for you?
Ginger shots have become a popular “cure-all” in recent years as ginger has been used for centuries to help people feel better and get through a variety of ailments. But what does the science actually say? Is ginger really all it’s cracked up to be and are these wellness shots worth the $3+ a pop? If you’re ready for the full scoop on the actual benefits of ginger shots, this post is for you!
P.S. If you’re wondering how to make ginger shots, I’ve included a ginger shot recipe at the end of the article!
What are ginger shots?
Ginger shots, often marketed as “wellness shots” are a popularized form of consuming fresh ginger, especially during cold and flu season. They deliver a super concentrated dose of ginger juice that’s mixed with a few other ingredients. Ginger shots typically come in small, 2-ounce bottles.
The taste is strong, so ginger shots are typically consumed—as the name implies—as a shot, in one to two gulps.
Ginger shot ingredients
Your classic ginger shot typically contains the following ingredients:
- fresh ginger root
- an acidic liquid, typically lemon juice but sometimes apple cider vinegar
- cayenne pepper
- coconut water
The ginger root is peeled and juiced, then combined with the remaining ingredients. Sometimes you’ll find a little fruit juice (like pineapple juice) or honey added for sweetness. You’ll also find ginger shots that add turmeric.
Popular ginger shot brands
As ginger shots become more popular, different companies are shuffling for the top place in the market. You used to only be able to find pre-made ginger shots at your local fresh-pressed juice shop, but now you can find them at most grocery stores and even at Target. Popular brands include:
- Kor Wellness Shots: $3.69 per
- Vive Organic Immunity Boost: $3.49 per
- Suja Immunity Shot: $2.99 per
As you can see, these pre-made ginger shots are quite pricey for just 1.5 to 2 ounces of liquid. And keep in mind that there is no standard amount of ginger that has to be included in a product to “count” as a shot.
Ginger shot benefits
Are there any? Ginger has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. There has been extensive research done on the health benefits of ginger, but not on the benefits of ginger shots, specifically. Since ginger is the main component of these wellness shots, taking a look at the research on ginger will give us a good idea as to whether these ginger shots are the real deal or all hype, and if they really can aid:
- Weight loss
- Nausea and digestive issues
- And more…
Is ginger good for inflammation?
Gingerols and shogaols are the two most studied active compounds in ginger, responsible for both its pungent taste and its health benefits. One such health benefit is ginger’s ability to reduce inflammation.
And how might ginger reduce inflammation? Gingerols and shogaols inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory compounds, like cytokines and prostaglandins, which are associated with pain.
There is evidence of ginger’s anti-inflammatory efficacy in humans experiencing osteoarthritic pain and primary dysmenorrhea (aka those lovely period cramps). One study looked at women who experience menstrual cramps. When compared to ibuprofen, ginger provided comparable pain relief.
And in a separate study testing the effects of a concentrated ginger extract on knee pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis, ginger had a significant although moderate effect on reducing these symptoms.
Is ginger good for the immune system?
Unchecked inflammation and oxidative stress can weaken the immune system. It has been suggested that ginger can support the immune system via it’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as discussed above.
Keep in mind that no single food or habit is a cure-all that can prevent illness. Rather, to best support your immune system, it’s important to eat a variety of nutritious foods and engage in a variety of other healthy habits, such as prioritizing sleep, staying hydrated, keeping stress at bay, and practicing proper hand hygiene.
Incorporating ginger into the diet in shot form and/or by adding it to your recipes is another habit you can incorporate into your immune-supporting health and wellness plan, but it is not a replacement for any of the above.
Bottom line: although regular ginger intake can help support a healthy immune system, it can’t support it all on its own.
Ginger shot for weight loss
Will taking a ginger shot for weight loss actually help you lose weight? Perhaps a tiny bit, but don’t expect any miracles!
Ginger may support weight loss through a few different mechanisms. The first is by reducing inflammation (read: is ginger good for inflammation?), as inflammation can make it more difficult to lose weight.
The bioactive compounds in ginger are also thought to enhance diet-induced thermogenesis, meaning the amount of energy used (or calories burned) to digest and process food. Enhanced thermogenesis has also been observed after consuming capsaicin, the main bioactive compound responsible for the heat of cayenne pepper (another ingredient commonly found in ginger shots). Keep in mind, that any increase in calorie burn from consuming these foods is likely minimal.
Lastly, it has been suggested in animal studies that gingerol may exhibit anti-obesity effects by altering the activity of certain enzymes involved in fat metabolism.
Human studies investigating the effects of ginger on body weight, although limited, suggest that ginger does have the ability to facilitate fat loss. For example, one recent intervention testing the effects of a steamed ginger extract on body weight in 80 obese participants found that body weight was significantly reduced after 12 weeks of supplementation. However, although the amount of weight loss was significant from a statistical standpoint, it wasn’t exactly significant from a clinical standpoint as participants only lost 1 kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) on average.
The authors concluded that the weight loss effects of ginger alone are likely insufficient, and would be more effective when combined with other weight loss strategies, such as physical activity.
Ginger shot for nausea
Much of the research on ginger focuses on its effects on the digestive system, specifically it’s antiemetic effects. Ginger products have long been used by individuals in nausea-inducing situations, like boating or hiking at high altitude, to provide relief. In fact, Dramamine—the popular motion sickness and nausea medicine brand—sells capsules, tablets, and chews with ginger as the main ingredient.
Although the exact antiemetic mechanisms of ginger are unclear, it’s thought that the bioactive compounds in ginger block serotonin receptors in the gut. Ginger also can help reduce stomach emptying time. Some people feel nauseated and experience indigestion if their stomach takes longer to empty; ginger can reduce the emptying time and the associated discomfort.
Ginger supplementation has been shown to be a safe and effective remedy for alleviating pregnancy-induced, postoperative, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. And while ginger is generally considered to be safe, please consult your doctor before using ginger as a supplement, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing.
It is important to note that for some people, ginger actually causes nausea and heartburn. So while it is helpful for many, not everyone reacts to ginger in the same way.
But wait, there’s more
Is there anything ginger can’t do? Ginger actually has more potential healing properties beyond what we’ve already discussed.
Intake of 5 grams of raw ginger daily for three months was shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (aka the “bad” cholesterol) significantly. Ginger supplementation has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Ginger may also keep your mouth healthier, thanks to its antibacterial properties. This can come in handy for reducing your risk of gum disease (aka gingivitis).
Quick reminder: For every health condition or disease that we’ve explored so far, keep in mind that none of the research studies used ginger shots specifically. Most often, ginger is studied as highly concentrated ginger extract supplement that provides far more bioactive compounds in a serving than a ginger shot would.
Side effects of ginger shots
Ginger, in the amounts found in recipes and ginger shots, is generally safe for most people.
But for some, ginger can cause nausea, heartburn, constipation, and even a bad taste in your mouth with high levels (as was investigated in some of the diabetes studies mentioned earlier).
Slightly more seriously, ginger is a mild blood thinner. Take caution if you are prescribed a blood-thinning medication and be sure to speak with your doctor before taking ginger shots regularly.
Bottom Line: Ginger shot benefits
Ginger is high in powerful bioactive compounds that may reduce inflammation, support immune function, provide relief from digestive upset and nausea, and modestly support weight loss.
Ginger shots are a popular way to consume ginger with little risk. But keep in mind, even though the ginger shot benefits making the rounds online aren’t completely overblown, they likely aren’t significant enough—given the amount of ginger the shots contain—to warrant the $3+ per pop.
If you want to incorporate ginger into your health and wellness plan without breaking the bank, you’re better off making your own ginger shots at home using the recipe below. Better yet, try incorporating fresh ginger into your meals!
How to make ginger shots
If you’re interested in saving some money and making homemade ginger shots, I’ve got an easy recipe for you! The main ingredient in ginger shots is ginger juice, so you may be wondering, do I need a juicer for this? Nope!
Here’s how to make a ginger shot without a juicer. All you’ll need is a blender and a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag (plus your ingredients). You can make a handful at once and store the leftover liquid in an airtight, pint-sized mason jar in the fridge, or portion out the liquid among small, 2-ounce glass shot bottles.
Be sure to check out the TikTok video above, which gives a quick demonstration on how to make ginger shots at home.
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 2 ounces fresh ginger, cut into chunks (see note)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons honey (optional)
- 1 to 2 pinches cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until the ginger is completely broken down and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag. Use a spoon to press down on the remaining solids to extract any remaining liquid.
Divide mixture among 6, 2-ounce glass bottles (about 1.5 ounces per bottle).
Store in the fridge for up to one week.
1. Since you'll be straining the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, you can peel the ginger or leave the peel on (just be sure to scrub it).