Ginger kickstarts our immune system—and now scientists have seen how it does it.
The reason why we can taste the ginger involves the same biological mechanisms that alert the immune system. TRPV1 receptors on nerve cells on our tongue and mouth respond to ginger and chili—and the same receptors are found in white blood cells, our immune system’s infection fighters.
In laboratory tests, researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology in Munich discovered that even small amounts of ginger put the blood cells on alert, and they became 30 percent more responsive to a bacterial infection.
Drinking a mug of ginger tea will start having an effect within 30 minutes to an hour. Although ginger supplements had a quicker and stronger effect, the researchers have demonstrated that even small amounts can get our immune response working more efficiently—and drinking some ginger tea could be enough.