What is ginger?
Ginger is a flowering plant with a root (rhizome) that has long been used in cooking and in medicine and is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants Antioxidants The human body needs various vitamins and minerals in order to thrive. Many of these nutrients can be found in whole, non-processed foods such as fruits and vegetables. However, most modern... read more protect cells against damage by free radicals, which are highly chemically active by-products of normal cell activity. The stem contains substances called gingerols, which give ginger its flavor and odor. Shogaols are another type of active ingredient. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, or as a juice or oil.
What claims are made about ginger?
Many people take ginger to relieve pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting Nausea and Vomiting During Early Pregnancy Pregnancy frequently causes nausea and vomiting. It is often called "morning sickness," but it can occur any time of day or night. This type of nausea and vomiting usually starts around 5 weeks... read more , postoperative nausea and vomiting, motion sickness Motion Sickness Motion sickness (also known as car, sea, train, or air sickness) involves a group of symptoms, particularly nausea, caused by movement during travel. While traveling, people feel nauseated and... read more , menstrual pain Menstrual Cramps Menstrual cramps are pains in the lowest part of the abdomen (pelvis), a few days before, during, or after a menstrual period. The pain tends to be most intense about 24 hours after periods... read more , or osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more . Some people take ginger to help manage type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to be abnormally high. Symptoms of diabetes may... read more .
Does ginger work?
Scientific studies suggest ginger is effective for pregnancy-related nausea and postoperative nausea and vomiting, but not for nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Some studies have shown that ginger moderately decreases knee and hip pain due to osteoarthritis, but other studies do not confirm that benefit.
For painful menstrual periods not caused by another disorder (primary dysmenorrhea Menstrual Cramps Menstrual cramps are pains in the lowest part of the abdomen (pelvis), a few days before, during, or after a menstrual period. The pain tends to be most intense about 24 hours after periods... read more ), studies show that ginger powder may be beneficial.
Ginger is being evaluated for type 2 diabetes, and emerging evidence has shown a slight decrease in HbA1C (a form of hemoglobin that indicates average blood sugar levels).
What are the possible side effects of ginger?
Ginger is usually not harmful, although some people experience a burning sensation when they eat it. It may also cause digestive discomfort and cause a disagreeable taste in the mouth. Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding.
What drug interactions occur with ginger?
People who take ginger and drugs that prevent blood clots may need to be monitored for development of bleeding or blood clots.
Ginger is relatively safe and may be effective for pregnancy-related nausea and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Ginger may also help relieve painful periods from primary dysmenorrhea.