Lately, I’ve noticed an uptick in juice shops touting fresh ginger shots along with their other juices and smoothies. Perhaps they took off after Selena Gomez drank one with James Corden on Carpool Karaoke? Whatever the reason for the popularity, I really want to know if ginger shots actually do anything for you or if they’re just a funny thing to dare other people to drink. That’s why I reached out to a few experts to learn the truth.
First, I should note that I have taken a few of these, and they’re not for the faint of heart. Ginger, as you may know, is very strong and it’s even stronger in concentrated form, especially with the added cayenne pepper that many ginger shots also contain. I’ve seen a few people gag or cough uncontrollably after taking them. (See, there’s an entertainment factor!) I like the challenge of taking them and I actually enjoy the mild burn as it goes down my throat. It makes me feel accomplished and like I’m doing something good for my body.
And that could very well be the case. “Ginger is one of the best known digestive aids,” says integrated health expert Taz Bhatia, MD. “It contains the active compound gingerol, which has been shown to help indigestion and relieve nausea.”
Additionally, ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which means it can boost the immune system to help fight the cold or flu. On a beauty note, because ginger is anti-inflammatory that means it can calm inflamed skin. “You can apply the juice of ginger directly to the skin to help with inflammation, acne, or irritated areas,” says Dr. Bhatia.
As for taking shots of ginger juice, well, the jury is still out on that one. “Research is limited on whether it is safe to drink shots of ginger daily,” says dietician Kim Denkhaus. “Currently, there isn’t a standardized dosage for consuming ginger juice.”
As with anything, there’s always the chance of nasty side effects or reactions. Denkhaus explains that for some individuals, ginger may cause gastrointestinal side effects like stomach discomfort or diarrhea. Also, ginger can cause drug interactions particularly if you’re on blood thinners or antibiotics, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician before drinking it.
The moral of the story is: listen to your body and if it doesn’t feel right, there’s no point in suffering through something you don’t enjoy. “If it’s too strong or not a fit for you, then stop,” says Dr. Bhatia.
If you do want to give it a try though, Dr. Bhatia says it’s a great way to kick start your day and boost energy. To make her ginger energy shot, boil 1-2 teaspoons of fresh ginger until soft and then add a 1/2 teaspoon of local honey.
Or you can also put your juicer to good use with this spicy ginger shot recipe!
If ginger shots just aren’t your thing, you can still get the benefits of ginger with this carrot ginger soup recipe from holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly.