Posted on Aug 30, 2019, 3 p.m.
Ginger/ginger root is the thick stem of the flowering Zingiber officinale plant native to Southeast Asia and India, which has been used as a spice with many culinary applications and medicinally for hundreds of years.
It is most often recommended for its stomach calming effects, but can ginger be used to treat nausea more naturally? According to research, yes it can, and it is often marketed as a more natural way to reduce nausea and calm an upset stomach; the ability to alleviate vomiting and nausea is its best supported use.
Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol compounds that may help to increase digestive responsiveness and speed up stomach emptying to reduce nausea. The anti-inflammatory properties help to improve digestion and support the release of blood pressure regulating hormones to calm the body which will also help reduce nausea.
Ginger has been shown to be safe to use for many conditions, even when pregnant. Depending on the individual, dosage and frequency of use, some people may experience side effects such as gas, diarrhea, heartburn, or stomach pain after consuming it.
A review of 12 studies which involved 1,278 pregnant women found taking 1,500mg of ginger a day did not increase risks of miscarriage, drowsiness, or heartburn; doses over that amount appeared to be slightly less effective at reducing nausea and may have more adverse effects.
It is worth noting that pregnant women should not take ginger supplements close to delivery date as it may worsen bleeding. Those with gallbladder disease are not recommended to take large doses as it may increase the flow of bile in the body. Ginger may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners, although research is mixed, you use with caution.
Ginger has been shown to effectively reduce morning sickness during pregnancy for many women, which affects an estimated 80% of women. A study involving 67 women taking 1,000mg experienced reduced nausea and vomiting.
According to research up to 1 gram per day appears to be safe to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This amount is equal to 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, half a teaspoon of liquid extract, 4 cups of tea, 2 teaspoons of syrup, or 2 one inch pieces of crystallized ginger.
One of the most common symptoms of motion sickness is nausea. Ginger can help to reduce motion sickness in some people, by working to keep digestive function stable and blood pressure consistent.
Ginger was found to be more effective than Dramamine in reducing motion sickness on one study; and another found 1 gram given to sailors reduced the intensity of seasickness.
Ginger root powder has been shown to help reduce vomiting and nausea after chemotherapy. A study involving 576 cancer patients taking liquid ginger root extract twice daily before chemotherapy experienced significantly reduced nausea within the first 24 hours of chemo.
150 women who took 500mg of ginger before gallbladder removal surgery experienced less postoperative nausea than those in the placebo group in another study.
Taking 1,500 mg of ginger in small doses throughout the day may help to reduce nausea associated with gastrointestinal disorders, according to research, by increasing the rate the stomach empties contents, alleviating cramps, preventing bloating and indigestion, and decreasing pressure in the digestive tract.
Those with IBS have found some relief using ginger; 45 IBS patients took 1 gram a day for 28 days who experienced a 26% reduction in symptoms, but it did not perform better than placebo in this study.
Ginger may help to reduce nausea and stomach pain associated with gastroenteritis according to some studies.
Ginger can be consumed fresh, pickled, crystallized, candied, dried, as a powder, in a beverage, as tincture, extract, or in a capsule. The FDA suggests up to 4 grams a day as being safe, but most studies suggest the amount is smaller, and the effective amount may be 200-2000 mg a day. Dividing 1,000-1,500 mg of ginger into smaller doses throughout the day may be the best way to treat nausea.
If ginger doesn't do the trick for you alternatively you can try peppermint, breath control, acupressure/acupuncture, vitamin B6, or lemon aromatherapy. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor to discuss what is best for you.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.