Ginger Found to Inhibit Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Photo Scot Nelson

Photo Scot Nelson

By Case Adams, Naturopath

Medical researchers from a Taiwanese Medical School have determined that fresh ginger is an effective treatment against human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The researchers, from the College of Medicine at Kaohsiung Medical University, tested fresh ginger and dried ginger (Zingiber officinale) against RSV-infected human liver and lung cells. The researchers found that the fresh ginger inhibited the attachment of the virus on to the cells and also stimulated the INF-beta secretions that help counteract viral infections among the cells of the mucosal membranes.

The inhibition of the virus occurred more readily amongst the alveolar (lung) cells – illustrating the potential for the ginger to inhibit infections of the lungs.

Notably the researchers found that dried ginger did not have this effectiveness upon the virus as the fresh ginger had. This of course indicates that some of the antiviral constituents of fresh ginger are lost during drying process.

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Other research on ginger has determined that fresh ginger contains upwards of 477 different constituents. This of course includes many polyphenols and flavonoids that have shown anti-viral properties – many of which are also heat sensitive.

Human respiratory syncytial virus is one of the most common contagious virus infections that occur in children. Symptoms include fever, stuffy nose wheezing and runny nose. Many RSV illnesses are confused with the common cold. However a bout of RSV will typically last for longer, and will typically include wheezing. In younger children this can turn fatal.

Fresh ginger can be consumed with foods, herbal tea, or blended into a smoothie. If adding to an herbal tea it should be put into the cup last – right before drinking if possible. Ginger can also be squeezed into fresh ginger juice, which may then be blended with water or fruit juice. Indians have been known to simply chew the fresh roots raw when sick.

It should be noted that the ginger candies are not only made from dried ginger, but are typically blended with sugar which practically counteracts ginger’s benefits – as refined sugar tends to feed pathogens and inhibit immune response.

Ayurvedic medicine considers fresh ginger one of the most important medicinal herbs, utilizing it against a wide range of conditions.


Chang JS, Wang KC, Yeh CF, Shieh DE, Chiang LC. Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):146-51.

Adams C. Asthma Solved Naturally: The Surprising Underlying Causes and Hundreds of Natural Strategies to Beat Asthma. Logical Books, 2012.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”

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