Covid results in ginger price spike, but can it really ward off the virus?

Here's what the health experts have to say

Image: Oleksandra Naumenko/123RF

Social media is awash with posts about how the cost of fresh ginger has recently skyrocketed with some SA stores reportedly selling it for as much as R480/kg.

To get to the root of the price hike, TimesLIVE chatted to various retailers who offered two explanations.

The first is that fresh ginger isn't currently in season in SA. As a result, we're paying above odds for imported produce that's in high demand, but short supply, globally.

The second is that people are perceivably buying fresh ginger in the hopes of using it to boost their immune systems and ward off Covid-19.

But could this peppery root really help to prevent you from catching the virus? 

To my knowledge there is no evidence of any specific preventive effect of fresh ginger against Covid-19,” says Prof Cheryl Cohen, head of the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at SA's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) concurs. Its website states that “there is no scientific evidence that ginger protect[s one] from Covid-19 infection. In general, however, some spices are considered to have properties that may be beneficial for health.”

In the case of ginger, there is some research to show that its medicinal properties that may help to ease the symptoms of a cold or sore throat, reports Medical News Today.

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times Lifestyle section.