Does Ginger Help With Anxiety? Surprising Benefits and Tips

Does ginger help with anxiety? Yes, this simple root tucked away in our meals and teas might be the key to calming our bodies and minds. In this article, we’ll uncover how ginger for depression and anxiety isn’t just a tale but a real helper.

 We’ll also see why turmeric is good for anxiety and how reishi mushrooms also add to the mix for mental wellness. Join us as we dive into the world of ginger and its friends, turmeric and reishi, and find a natural soothing balm for our busy brains.

Is ginger good for anxiety?

Ginger can be a natural way to ease anxiety and improve mental well-being. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginger is being hailed as a mood enhancer without the side effects of medications. Interested in how ginger can daily brighten your mental health? Let’s dive into how this simple root can add more joy to your life.

Ginger for depression and anxiety

Recent studies have shown that ginger could be excellent for your mental health, especially for fighting anxiety and depression. This is because ginger has properties that fight inflammation and act as antioxidants, which are great not just for your body but also for your brain and mood (1).

A special part in ginger called Dehydrozingerone, or DHZ for short, has been attracting a lot of attention lately. Researchers have discovered that DHZ can lift your spirits by boosting brain chemicals that make you happier.

In one notable 2021 study, DHZ was able to connect to this depression-related enzyme very effectively, even better than some usual medications. When they gave it to animals, it got them moving more and increased their happy brain chemicals, like noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin (2). 

This hints that ginger, perhaps through a simple cup of ginger tea, might be a natural way to ease anxiety and lift depression by tweaking the brain’s happy pathways. 

Further research found that other parts of ginger can also connect with and activate a part of the brain that helps control anxiety. This means ginger could naturally help lower anxiety by affecting serotonin levels, a key factor in feeling relaxed and happy (3).

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Other brain benefits of ginger

Beyond just calming your nerves, ginger has some pretty impressive tricks up its sleeve for your brain:

Memory and Learning: Imagine if eating ginger could help you remember where you left your keys or learn a new language faster. Studies on mice suggest this could be a reality. The mice remembered tasks better and showed signs of improved learning after getting a dose of ginger. The secret? Ginger boosts important proteins in the brain that help neurons grow and talk to each other (4).

Protects Against Brain Diseases: Ginger could act as a shield against brain diseases that affect memory and movement, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is thanks to its power to calm inflammation and fight off harmful molecules (5). 

Safe for Your Brain: The best part? Ginger does all this without causing trouble. Studies, especially with middle-aged women, have shown that ginger boosts brain power without any bad side effects. It’s like a natural, gentle way to give your brain a boost (6).

What happens to my mental health if I drink ginger every day?

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Imagine starting your day with a cup of ginger tea, its steam carrying the promise of calm and clarity. This simple ritual could be more beneficial than you think, especially for your mental health. Here’s why:

Digestive Harmony: A happy gut often leads to a happy mind. Ginger’s renowned ability to aid digestion, preventing indigestion, nausea, and even morning sickness, can indirectly uplift your mood (7). A comfortable digestive system means fewer distractions and discomfort, allowing you to focus more on the day ahead with a positive mindset.

Immunity Boost: Daily ginger consumption fortifies your immune system. With vitamins C and B6, magnesium, iron, and calcium working together, ginger can help ward off illnesses that bog down your body and mind (8). By keeping physical illnesses at bay, ginger ensures your mental health doesn’t suffer from the stress of being sick.

Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Ginger’s calming effects are perhaps its most direct benefit to mental health. Regular consumption can uplift your mood and reduce psychological stress. The natural compounds in ginger, including gingerol, have muscle-relaxing properties that might soothe physical tension and psychological stress, making you feel more at ease (9).

Cognitive Benefits: As previously mentioned, ginger could also support cognitive function and potentially slow down the effects of aging on the brain  (4, 6). This means that your daily cup of ginger tea could be helping to keep your mind sharp and your memories clear.

Ginger, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, is emerging as a natural mood booster for anxiety and depression without medication side effects. Its component, Dehydrozingerone (DHZ), helps enhance mood by influencing brain chemicals, promoting a calmer and happier mindset. Beyond mental health, ginger also boosts memory and learning. It may guard against neurodegenerative diseases, supporting overall brain health and emotional wellness.

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How to use ginger for anxiety? 

Selecting the right kind is crucial to harnessing the full power of ginger. Let’s dive into the best tips for choosing ginger that’s bursting with flavor and potential health benefits.

Best tips for choosing ginger

Selecting the perfect ginger starts with engaging your senses and knowing what to look for. Here’s how to ensure you bring home the best ginger, ripe with benefits for your mental and physical health:

  • Inspect the Skin: Fresh ginger has thin, shiny skin that scratches off easily, signaling freshness and potency.
  • Feel for Firmness: Ginger should be firm and solid; soft spots indicate it’s past its prime.
  • Smell the Ginger: A sharp, spicy aroma indicates high freshness and beneficial compounds.
  • Break, Don’t Bend: Fresh ginger snaps off cleanly, showing it’s loaded with benefits.
  • Storage Matters: Keep ginger fresh in a ziplock in the fridge, or freeze it for long-term use.
  • Organic vs. Non-Organic: Organic ginger avoids synthetic chemicals, but freshness is key regardless of type.

When to use ginger for anxiety?

Timing is key with ginger for easing anxiety. Adding ginger to your day at the right moments can boost its calming effects. Here’s a simple guide:

  • Morning Boost: Feel jittery in the morning? Kick off your day with ginger tea or toss some into your breakfast smoothie. It’s a natural way to calm those morning nerves and start the day right.
  • Pre-Event Calm: Got something nerve-wracking coming up, like an interview or exam? Have some ginger beforehand. It can help soothe your nerves and clear your head so you’re ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
  • Nighttime Peace: If anxiety keeps you up at night, try winding down with ginger tea. It’s like a warm hug that helps quiet your mind and eases you into sleep, helping you let go of the day’s stress.

Precaution: Who should not use ginger? 

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While up to four grams of ginger a day is usually fine for adults, more than that might not be a good idea. There are also specific circumstances and conditions where caution is advised:

  • People With Digestive Issues: Too much ginger can upset your stomach, giving you pain, heartburn, or diarrhea (10).
  • Pregnancy and Nursing: Ginger might help with morning sickness, but the jury’s still out on how much is safe. Stick to small amounts (no more than 1 gram a day) and definitely talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding (10).
  • Taking Blood Thinners: Ginger thins your blood, which is usually good, but not if you’re on medications like warfarin (11).
  • Children: Ginger isn’t recommended for kids under two because their digestive systems are still sensitive.

Healthy drinks with ginger for anxiety

Next, let’s see how turmeric and reishi mushrooms can support ginger as your go-to helpers for a calm mind and strong spirit. Every sip can be like a little hug for your soul, connecting you to age-old traditions of wellness and balance. 

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Is turmeric good for anxiety? 

Turmeric is not just a staple in culinary traditions around the world; it’s also revered for its medicinal properties, primarily due to curcumin, its active compound. 

Studies have shown that curcumin can help reduce anxiety. It works by balancing serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel good, which is especially helpful for managing stress and anxiety.

Curcumin has been the focus of numerous studies investigating its impact on mental health, particularly anxiety (12).

Another meta-analysis concluded that curcumin significantly improves symptoms of depression and has anti-anxiety effects. This analysis underscores curcumin’s potential as a safe and effective treatment for mood disorders, though it calls for more extensive research to solidify these findings (13).

Combining ginger and turmeric not only creates a powerhouse duo for fighting inflammation but also offers a promising natural remedy for anxiety. Here are some ways to incorporate these spices into your daily routine:

  • Ginger-Turmeric Tea: Start your day with a warm cup of ginger-turmeric tea. Simmer slices of fresh ginger and turmeric root in water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and add a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey.
  • Golden Milk: A traditional Ayurvedic drink, golden milk is made by warming milk (dairy or plant-based) with turmeric powder, ginger, cinnamon, and a dash of black pepper to enhance curcumin absorption. Sweeten with honey for a comforting evening drink that can help ease anxiety before bedtime.

Reishi and anxiety relief

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Reishi mushrooms, often called the “mushroom of immortality” in old Eastern traditions, have been used for ages to boost health, help people live longer, and clear the mind. Monks and royalty used to eat them to relax, cut down on stress, and get better at meditation.

Even though we’re still learning about how reishi affects anxiety, some early research shows promising signs (14). For example, a study on women with fibromyalgia showed that reishi might make people feel happier and less depressed. So, reishi could be a natural way to lift your mood and fight anxiety (15).

To harness the combined powers of ginger and reishi into your daily routine through two simple, healthy drinks:

  • Ginger-Reishi Tea: Steep sliced ginger and reishi mushroom slices in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. This tea can help soothe the mind, reduce anxiety, and promote a restful night’s sleep. For added flavor and benefits, include a dash of honey and lemon.
  • Golden Reishi Smoothie: Blend fresh ginger, reishi mushroom powder, turmeric (for an extra anti-inflammatory boost), banana, and almond milk for a nourishing smoothie. 
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1. How long does it take for ginger to work for depression?

The effects of ginger on depression can significantly vary depending on the individual, but generally, it may take a few weeks of consistent use to notice significant improvements. Ginger works by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, factors linked to depression. While it’s not an instant fix, it can contribute to a holistic approach to managing depression symptoms over time.

2. What is the best drink for anxiety?

A soothing cup of herbal tea, such as chamomile or green tea, is often considered the best drink for easing anxiety. Chamomile is known for its calming properties, while green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness. These drinks can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels when consumed as part of a regular self-care routine.

3. Why do I feel weird after drinking ginger?

Feeling weird after drinking ginger could be due to its potent effects on the digestive system or, in rare cases, a sign of an allergic reaction. Ginger stimulates digestion, leading to discomfort or a sensation of warmth if you’re not used to it or consume too much. Start with small amounts and gradually increase to allow your body to adjust.

4. Does ginger make you sleepy?

Ginger doesn’t directly make you sleepy, but it can have a calming effect on the body, which might help you relax and indirectly improve your sleep quality. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can also alleviate discomfort that might otherwise disrupt sleep, allowing for a more restful night.

5. Why is my anxiety so bad for no reason?

Feeling intense anxiety without a clear cause can be perplexing and frustrating. Anxiety can stem from various underlying factors, including stress, hormonal imbalances, genetic predispositions, or even dietary influences. Exploring these potential triggers with a healthcare professional who can help identify the root cause and recommend appropriate treatment or coping strategies is essential. Remember, you’re not alone. Support is available to help you manage your anxiety effectively with a skilled professional.

Bottom Line

We’ve explored how ginger really can help with anxiety and depression. Alongside its mood-lifting benefits, ginger also sharpens the mind and offers protection against brain aging. We’ve covered how to use ginger effectively, when it’s most beneficial, and who should be careful with it. We also looked at turmeric and reishi mushrooms, which are adding to our natural toolkit for mental wellness. This guide has equipped you with simple yet powerful ways to use these natural wonders for a happier, healthier mind.

How Do You Feel About This Article?

Lauren-Ann

Medical reviewed by Lauren Ann Teeter, CNS, LCSW

Functional & Integrative Approach To Mental Health, Functional Nutrition, Functional & Integrative Medicine, Psychotherapy, Mental Health

Lauren-Ann

Medical reviewed by Lauren Ann Teeter, CNS, LCSW

Functional & Integrative Approach To Mental Health, Functional Nutrition, Functional & Integrative Medicine, Psychotherapy, Mental Health

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