Ginger

What Is Ginger?

Ginger is a flowering tropical plant that grows in China, India, Africa, the Caribbean, and other warm climates. The root of the ginger plant is well-known as a spice and flavoring. It's been a traditional remedy in many cultures for thousands of years.

Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger is a common folk treatment for upset stomach and nausea. There's evidence that it helps.

Ginger seems to aid digestion and saliva flow. Studies found that taking ginger could ease nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women.

But pregnant women should be careful with ginger. Some experts worry that it could raise the risk of miscarriage, especially in high doses.

Ginger seems to help with nausea caused by vertigo as well. There's mixed evidence about whether it helps with nausea caused by motion sickness, surgery, or chemotherapy.

Ginger does seem to help with painful periods. In one study, more than 60% of women felt that ginger lessened pain.

There's strong evidence that ginger may ease osteoarthritis pain. It may also help with:

But more research is needed to know for sure.

Lab and animal studies have found that ginger may, theoretically:

Clinical evidence shows evidence that ginger may help lower blood sugar and blood pressure.

Some people apply ginger compresses to the skin for pain. We don't know if this works or not.

Optimal doses of ginger have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.

Ginger Nutrition

Two teaspoons of ginger has 4 calories. The root doesn’t provide many vitamins or minerals, but it’s full of antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage and prevent disease.

Ginger Natural Sources

Ginger is a common spice and added flavoring. Many people drink ginger teas or soft drinks.

Ginger is a common ingredient in chai tea. You can also find ginger lollipops, candies, and capsules.

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Ginger Risks

Side effects. In small doses, ginger has few side effects. High doses of ginger -- more than 5 grams a day -- increase the chances of side effects. Ginger on the skin may cause a rash.

Eating or drinking it may cause:

Risks. Ginger may raise the risk of bleeding. If you have a bleeding disorder, it may not be safe. Always tell your doctor about herbal medicines you take, including ginger

Interactions. If you take any medications regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using ginger supplements. They could interact with blood thinners and medications for diabetes and high blood pressure.

The FDA does regulate dietary supplements, but it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drugmakers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on August 26, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Fundukian, L.J., editor. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, third edition, 2009.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "About Herbs: Ginger."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Herbs at a Glance: Ginger."

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Ginger."

Benzie, I. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, second edition, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2011.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Ginger.”

Johns Hopkins: “5 Spices with Healthy Benefits.”

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