Does ginger help nausea?

“There’s strong evidence that ginger can help with nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, morning sickness, and cancer chemotherapy,” says Suzanna Zick, a research associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Motion sickness

Researchers sat 13 (brave) volunteers with a history of motion sickness in a large drum one at a time and spun the drum for up to 15 minutes. If the volunteers took 1,000 milligrams of ginger an hour beforehand, they had less nausea and recovered more quickly from their motion sickness than if they took a placebo.1

Morning sickness

Among 99 pregnant women who were experiencing morning sickness, those who took 125 mg of ginger four times a day for four days reported less severe nausea than those who took a placebo, though the authors noted that the effect seemed to wane after the second day.2

Chemotherapy

In a study of 576 cancer patients—most had breast cancer—those who took 500 mg of ginger every day for six days, starting three days prior to chemo, had less severe nausea during the first 24 hours of treatment than those who took a placebo.3

“As a result of studies like this,” says Zick, “the Society for Integrative Oncology will recommend this year that cancer physicians consider using ginger to help control nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy for breast cancer.”

What to do

If you want to try ginger, Zick suggests taking 250 mg (about 1/8 tsp.) of ginger powder twice a day. (You can scoop it right out of your spice container.) More might cause gas, heartburn, or even make nausea worse. Take it with a meal if it gives you GI discomfort.

Finding a good-quality ginger supplement can be hit or miss. One in three products that consumerlab.com tested for its subscribers in 2016 contained lower levels of ginger’s active ingredients than the label promised.

What about ginger ale? “You’d have to drink a lot of it,” says Zick. Canada Dry has no more than 24 mg of ginger per 16.9 oz., according to consumerlab.com.

A good alternative: ginger tea. Grate or thinly slice a piece of ginger the size of your thumb (from knuckle to tip), and steep it in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes.

References

1 Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 284: G481, 2003.
2 Aust. N. Z. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. 43: 139, 2003.
3 Support Care Cancer 20: 1479, 2012.

 

Photos: © Jultud/fotolia.com, © aboikis/fotolia.com.

 

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5 Replies to “Does ginger help nausea?”

  1. You never said (how) to ingest the powdered ginger. Do we just dump the powder straight in our mouth twice a day, put the powder in warm or cold water, or sprinkle it on our food or does it not matter?

  2. I have 20 years experience with using ginger for nausea of all sorts… and find that the best and cheapest form to use it is grated ( frozen works best and keeps the root from spoiling) into boiling water and made into a tea ( iced in summer) together with honey and lemon. delicious and works almost immediately and for a long time. I also like to keep some candied ginger around ( car) to eat when needed as is. I find no use for dried ginger in capsules… for all the reasons mentioned already. I suspect that the powder is too concentrated and may cause the reactions while some of the very effective essential oils get lost in the processing. As always nature knows best…

  3. The side effects warning should include the fact that larger doses of ginger can cause severe intestinal pain in some people. Before discovering the danger of eating several slices of candied ginger a day, I was hospitalized with such severe, undiagnosed intestinal pain that morphine and intravenous feeding was required to get me through the ordeal. My error was to increase my intake of supposedly digestive soothing ginger in an effort to ease the early pains.

    1. I grew up living with my grandma who was born in Canada in 1858. whenever we had an upset tummy she would make us ginger tea – 1 tsp. powdered ginger, 1 tsp sugar, in a cup of hot water.
      Stir and drink when cool enough to handle.
      i am 81 and still use that for an upset tummy.

  4. Hello,

    The research you sited here is more than 5 years old (one article from 2012, and 2 from 2003). Do you know of any newer studies on this subject?

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