Ginger is a plant with leafy stems and yellowish green flowers. The ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant. Ginger is native to warmer parts of Asia, such as China, Japan, and India, but now is grown in parts of South American and Africa. It is also now grown in the Middle East to use as medicine and with food.
Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea caused by HIV/AIDS treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite.
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Pregnancy: Ginger is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for medicinal uses during pregnancy. But 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 against 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: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking ginger if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding.
Diabetes: Ginger might increase your insulin levels and/or 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.
BY MOUTH: For nausea and vomiting caused by HIV/AIDS treatment: 1 gram of ginger daily in two divided doses 30 minutes before each antiretroviral treatment for 14 days has been used. For painful menstrual periods: 250 mg of a specific ginger extract (Zintoma, Goldaru) four times daily for 3 days from the start of the menstrual period has been used. Also, 1500 mg of ginger powder daily in up to three divided doses, starting up to two days before menstruation and continuing for the first 3 days of the menstruation cycle, has been used. For morning sickness: 500 to 2500 mg of ginger daily in two to four divided doses for 3 days to 3 weeks has been used. For osteoarthritis: Many different ginger extract products have been used in studies. The dosing used differs depending on the product taken. One ginger extract (Eurovita Extract 33; EV ext-33) 170 mg three times daily has been used. Another extract (Eurovita Extract 77; EV ext-77), which combines a ginger with an alpinia, 255 mg twice daily has also been used. Another ginger extract (Zintona EC) 250 mg four times daily has also been used. Also, a ginger extract (Eurovita Extract 35; EV ext-35) 340 mg daily in combination with 1000 mg of glucosamine daily for 4 weeks has been used. For nausea and vomiting after surgery: 1-2 grams of powdered ginger root 30-60 minutes before induction of anesthesia has been used. Sometimes 1 gram of ginger is also given two hours after surgery. For dizziness (vertigo): 1 gram of ginger powder as a single dose one hour before causing dizziness has been used. APPLIED TO THE SKIN: For osteoarthritis: A specific gel containing ginger and plai (Plygersic gel, Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research) 4 grams daily in four divided doses for 6 weeks has been used. INHALED AS AROMATHERAPY: For nausea and vomiting after surgery: A solution of ginger essential oil has been used. Aromatherapy with ginger alone, or in combination with spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom, has been inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth three times after surgery.