- According to the National Library of Medicine1, part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), ginger is widely used throughout the world for treating loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting after surgery, nausea resulting from cancer treatment, flatulence, stomach upset, colic, morning sickness and motion sickness.
- Some people find ginger helps them with the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, cough, menstrual cramps, arthritis and muscle pain.
- In some parts of the world, ginger juice is applied to the skin to treat burns.
- Ginger is also used as a flavoring by the food and drinks industry, as a spice and flavoring in cooking, and for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
- Ginger contains a chemical that is used as an ingredient in antacid, laxative and anti-gas medications.
- According to Kew Gardens2, England’s horticultural royal center of excellence, ginger has a long history of usage in South Asia, both in fresh and dried form.
- Inflammation of the colon: A study carried out at the University of Michigan Medical School found that Ginger Root Supplement administered to volunteer participants reduced inflammation markers in the colon within a month. The study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Experts say that inflammation of the colon is a precursor to colon cancer. Co-researcher Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H., explained that by reducing inflammation in the colon a person reduces their risk of developing colon cancer.
- Muscle pain caused by exercise: A study involving 74 volunteers carried out at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%.
- Nausea caused by chemotherapy: Ginger supplements administered alongside anti-vomiting medications can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea symptoms by 40%, a PhaseII/III study carried out at the University of Rochester Medical Center found. Lead researcher, Dr Julie Ryan, presented the study findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in 2009. Dr. Ryan explained that about 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy experience nausea and vomiting. The vomiting is usually easy to control with effective medications. However, the nausea tends to linger. Dr. Ryan said “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties.”
- Ovarian cancer: A study found that exposing ovarian cancer cells to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test. The cancer cells either died as a result of apoptosis (they committed suicide) or autophagy (they digested/attacked themselves). The researchers, from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center added that the ginger solution also prevented the cancer cells from building up resistance to cancer treatment. The study findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Washington D.C., 2006.
- Ginger is LIKELY SAFE for most people. Some people can have mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort. Some women have reported extra menstrual bleeding while taking ginger.
- When ginger is applied to the skin, it may cause irritation.
- Pregnancy: Using ginger during pregnancy is controversial. There is some concern that ginger might affect fetal sex hormones. There is also a report of miscarriage during week 12 of pregnancy in a woman who used ginger for morning sickness. However, studies in pregnant women suggest that ginger can be used safely for morning sickness without harm to the baby. The risk for major malformations in infants of women taking ginger does not appear to be higher than the usual rate of 1% to 3%. Also there doesn’t appear to be an increased risk of early labor or low birth weight. There is some concern that ginger might increase the risk of bleeding, so some experts advise againsting using it close to your delivery date. As with any medication given during pregnancy, it’s important to weigh the benefit against the risk. Before using ginger during pregnancy, talk it over with your healthcare provider.
- Breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using ginger during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.
- Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding.
- Diabetes: Ginger might lower your blood sugar. As a result, your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
- Heart conditions: High doses of ginger might worsen some heart conditions.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination:
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with GINGER:Ginger might slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
- Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), phenprocoumon (an anticlotting medicine available outside the US), and others.
- Phenprocoumon interacts with GINGER:’Phenprocoumon is used in Europe to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with phenprocoumon might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your phenprocoumon might need to be changed.
- Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with GINGER: Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination:
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GINGER: Ginger might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ginger along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
- Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Medications for high blood pressure (Calcium channel blockers) interacts with GINGER: Ginger might reduce blood pressure in a way that is similar to some medications for blood pressure and heart disease. Taking ginger along with these medications might cause your blood pressure to drop too low or an irregular heartbeat.
- Some medications for high blood pressure and heart disease include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.
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- Source: “What are the benefits of ginger?”, 10 Feb 2015, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990.php
- Source: WebMD, “Ginger”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/