Ginger has been used medicinally for years, primarily as a natural treatment for nausea, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal issues. Ginger can be used for nausea in many forms, from fresh, dried, powdered, or crystallized—consumed as a beverage, capsule, or extract.
Some of the most common ways to use ginger for nausea include the following:
- Tea: The recommended amount of ginger tea for nausea is 4 cups (950 mL). You can make it by steeping fresh sliced ginger in hot water and sipping slowly.
- Supplements: Ground ginger can be found in supplement form. Try to find supplements that contain 100% ginger and don’t have any fillers or unwanted additives.
- Crystallized ginger: According to some pregnant women, crystallized ginger can help with morning sickness. However, some types may come with high amounts of added sugar.
- Essential oil: Inhaling ginger essential oil may help reduce postoperative nausea, according to one study.
How does ginger reduce nausea?
In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, ginger may improve digestion and promote the release of hormones that regulate blood pressure, which can calm the body and reduce nausea.
The main bioactive compounds in ginger are gingerol and shogaols, which accelerate gastric emptying and stimulate gastric antral contractions through their activity on cholinergic M receptors and serotonergic 5-HT receptors.
Shogaols are more concentrated in dried ginger, with 6-shogaol being its main source of antioxidants, whereas gingerols are more abundant in raw ginger.
How much ginger should I take to reduce nausea?
According to the FDA, consuming up to 4 grams of ginger per day is safe, although some studies recommend using less (200 to 2,000 mg per day).
Most researchers seem to agree that dividing 1,000-1,500 mg into multiple doses is the best way to use ginger for nausea relief. Higher doses are generally less effective and may cause side effects. Talk to your doctor about how much to use for nausea.
What are other uses of ginger?
Ginger root has many other medicinal values in addition to preventing and treating nausea:
- Infections: Fresh ginger contains chemical compounds that are especially good at halting the growth of bacteria such as E. coli and shigella and may keep viruses at bay.
- Oral health: Ginger has antibacterial properties that can prevent oral bacteria from growing, which can protect you from periodontal disease, a serious gum infection.
- Sore muscles: Ginger oil may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with minor muscle aches and pains.
- Arthritis symptoms: Ginger is anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. That may be especially helpful in treating symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Menstrual cramps: Ginger may help ease the pain of menstrual cramps by fighting inflammation.
- Cholesterol: A daily dose of ginger may help lower bad or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
- Cancer growth: Some studies report that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow the growth of some types of cancer, such as colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast and prostate cancer. However, more research is needed to support this claim.
- Chronic diseases: Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, which help prevent damage to your DNA and protect against chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung disease.
Is ginger safe for everyone?
Ginger has been shown to be a safe, natural, and effective way of reducing nausea for many people. Before using ginger for medicinal purposes however, talk to your doctor.
Common side effects of ginger may include:
Ginger is not advised to be taken if you have certain medical conditions such as:
- Blood clotting disorders, as ginger interferes with blood clotting and with blood thinner medications
- Gallbladder disease
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Giacosa A, Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E, Riva A, Bianchi Porro G, Rondanelli M. Can nausea and vomiting be treated with ginger extract? Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015 Apr;19(7):1291-1296. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25912592/
Lete I, Allué J. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integr Med Insights. 2016;11:11-17. Published 2016 Mar 31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/
University of Michigan Health System. Ginger for Morning Sickness. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tn9125#tn9125-sec
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