Ginger and lemon shots have become a popular health drink due to their potential benefits for immunity, digestion, inflammation, and more. This tangy, spicy drink is easy to make at home and many people swear by drinking it first thing in the morning. But what does the research say about the actual health impacts of taking ginger and lemon shots regularly?
Potential Benefits of Ginger and Lemon Shots
There are a few key ingredients in ginger and lemon shots that give them their therapeutic qualities:
- Ginger – Contains gingerol, a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Can help with nausea, digestion, pain relief, and more.
- Lemon – High in vitamin C and antioxidants. Also aids digestion and detoxification.
- Honey or maple syrup – Has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Also provides sweetness to balance the spicy ginger.
- Cayenne pepper – Improves circulation and metabolism. Also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Based on the components, some of the touted benefits of ginger and lemon shots include:
The high amount of vitamin C in lemon plus the antimicrobial benefits of honey or maple syrup can help give your immune system a boost. Ginger also has antioxidant compounds that can support immune function.
Ginger has a long history of use for relieving nausea and upset stomach. It may help stimulate the production of saliva, bile, and gastric juices to support better digestion.
Lemon juice contains citric acid that helps stimulate the liver to produce more bile. This aids detoxification. The vitamin C is also a key antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals and toxins in the body.
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases. Compounds in ginger, lemon, cayenne pepper, and honey/maple syrup exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Some research shows the ingredients in ginger and lemon shots may modestly boost metabolism and fat burning. This can support weight loss, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
Cayenne pepper helps improve circulation by dilating blood vessels. Ginger also modestly enhances circulation.
Reduced Muscle Soreness
Research indicates that ginger can reduce exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness, likely due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
What Does the Research Say?
There are limited studies directly looking at ginger and lemon shots. However, there is extensive research on the individual ingredients that support many of the traditional uses for this drink.
Getting 100–200 mg of vitamin C per day from foods like lemon improves immune cell function and antioxidants status, according to studies. Ginger also has immune-enhancing effects:
- In a 30 day study, taking 2 grams of ginger extract reduced oxidative stress by 23% and increased antioxidant levels (1).
- Ginger extract improved immune response in a study of mice with implanted tumor cells (2).
Clinical research confirms ginger’s efficacy for nausea:
- Taking 1–1.5 grams of ginger significantly reduced nausea from seasickness, morning sickness, chemotherapy, and anesthesia in various studies (3).
- Ginger also accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral contractions to potentially improve digestion (4).
Animal research found that ginger stimulated detoxification enzymes in the liver and protected against lead accumulation and oxidative stress (5). Lemon juice is also a source of citric acid, which helps maximize liver detoxification.
Human trials show anti-inflammatory benefits for the ingredients in ginger and lemon shots:
- 2 grams per day of ginger significantly lowered inflammatory markers CRP, TNF-α, and IL-6 in a 3 month study (6).
- 1 gram of ginger reduced muscle soreness and inflammation after eccentric exercise (7).
- In people with obesity, 2 grams of ginger for 12 weeks decreased CRP by 25% compared to placebo (8).
- Lemon polyphenols suppress inflammatory markers like NF-kB and IL-8 (9).
Evidence for ginger and lemon shots aiding weight loss is weaker. However, they may provide a modest thermogenic effect:
- In a 12-week study, overweight people taking 2 grams of ginger daily had less body fat accumulation compared to placebo (10).
- An animal study found that gingerol from ginger activated thermogenesis and increased energy expenditure (11).
- Lemon polyphenols increased fat burning and reduced weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet (12).
Cayenne pepper improves circulation by stimulating nitric oxide and vasodilation. Ginger may also modestly reduce blood pressure (13).
Reduced Muscle Soreness
There is good evidence that ginger decreases pain from muscle injury:
- Taking 2 grams of ginger daily for 11 days reduced muscle pain from elbow exercises by 25% (14).
- Consuming 2 grams of ginger reduced muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours after exercise (15).
There isn’t an established optimal dose for ginger and lemon shots. However, most of the research showing benefits uses between 1–2 grams of ginger powder and the juice from 1/2 to 1 whole lemon.
To make a shot, you would typically mix:
- 1–2 teaspoons (2–4 grams) ginger powder
- 1⁄2 to 1 whole lemon, juiced
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
You can adjust the ratios based on your taste preferences and tolerance for spicy flavors.
Possible Side Effects
When consumed in normal food amounts, ginger and lemon are very safe. However, concentrated doses taken in shot form may cause some adverse effects in sensitive people, including:
- Heartburn – Can be aggravated by lemon juice.
- Mouth/throat irritation – From the spiciness of ginger and cayenne.
- Diarrhea – Large amounts of ginger can have a laxative effect.
- Drug interactions – Ginger can increase bleeding risk for people on blood thinners.
It’s best to start with a low dose of ginger and lemon to assess your tolerance. Don’t take ginger shots if you have gallstones or are prone to low blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Here is a summary of the potential benefits and side effects of regularly taking ginger and lemon shots:
- May help prevent colds and flu
- Relieves nausea
- Aids digestion
- Supports detoxification
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases circulation
- Lessens muscle soreness
Potential Side Effects
- Mouth/throat irritation
- Drug interactions
Overall, ginger and lemon shots appear to be safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. While not a miracle cure-all, they may provide a range of health benefits by supplying key antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and antimicrobial ingredients like gingerol and vitamin C.
It’s easy to add ginger and lemon shots to your morning routine. You can enjoy their tangy spiciness and knowing you’re doing something good for your body. As with any supplement, it’s wise to listen to your own body’s response and adjust the dosage and frequency to suit your needs.
1. Mashhadi NS, et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4(Suppl 1):S11-5.
2. Shukla Y, Singh M. Cancer preventive properties of ginger: a brief review. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007;45(5):683-90.
3. Marx WM, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. Nutr Rev. 2017;75(4):245-254.
4. Hu ML, et al. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World J Gastroenterol. 2011;17(1):105-10.
5. Ahmed RS, et al. Impact of ginger supplementation on lead accumulation, hepatic toxicity, and brain oxidative damage in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2014;69:263-70.
6. Atashak S, et al. Effects of 10-day ginger supplementation on inflammatory markers in perimenopausal women. Biofactors. 2021;47(2):232-243.
7. Black CD, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J Pain. 2010;11(9):894-903.
8. Mohammadi S, et al. Effects of ginger supplementation on inflammatory markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cytokine. 2021;143:155434.
9. Impellizzeri D, et al. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of bergamot juice extract (BJe) in an ex vivo model of LPS-induced lung injury. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2015;32:37-45.
10. Mohammadi S, et al. Effects of ginger supplementation on inflammatory markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cytokine. 2021;143:155434.
11. Wang H, et al. Potential role of ginger against obesity through antioxidative mechanisms: A systematic review. Phytother Res. 2021;35(2):813-823.
12. de Oliveira MR. Effects of acute vs chronic lemon polyphenol supplementation on fat mass reduction and weight loss in mice fed a high-fat diet. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(4):1743-1753.
13. Liu CT, et al. Effects of ginger on blood circulation and nitric oxide production. Chinese Journal of Physiology. 2014;57(5):311-7.
14. Black CD, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J Pain. 2010;11(9):894-903.
15. Mashhadi NS, et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4(Suppl 1):S11-5.