Ginger is a very evocative spice; it can remind you of baking cookies or bread around the holidays, a scrumptious sushi meal or a refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. However, there may be more to this spice than just good taste. For centuries, different cultures, primarily Asian, have been using this root-like plant not only to spice up food and drinks, but also to help relieve certain types of nausea.
It’s shown to help post-operative and chemo-related nausea, as well as being an effective morning sickness remedy. There is less research on whether ginger helps with motion sickness or other kinds of nausea, but it probably can’t hurt. In addition to fighting nausea, ginger might have some other benefits too that are currently being researched. We previously reported on a study that suggests ginger may even help reduce post-workout muscle pain.
While the mechanism by which it works its magic is not completely known, the chemical compounds that are a natural part of ginger may help move food through the intestinal tract or inhibit the signals that tell our brain to vomit.
Unfortunately, this does not mean you have an excuse to eat more gingerbread cookies! Most foods made with ginger actually contain little ginger per serving. The average ginger ale in the supermarket often does not contain any ginger at all, so read those labels. To help out your nausea, try these treats:
- Ginger tea (they sell it packaged, or make it yourself by cutting up fresh pieces of ginger (the juicier, the better) and letting it steep in boiling water for around five minutes.
- Pieces of dried ginger to chew. Just be careful to not have too much because these are often heavily sweetened with sugar.
- Adding extra ginger to your food could also help. Most of the studies have shown about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of ginger powder to be effective.
- Try a real ginger ale, such as Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, that actually has ginger in it.
Like many herbs and plants that have a medicinal effect, make sure you talk to your doctor first before taking larger amounts of ginger. Some studies have shown ginger to alter the thickness of blood, so if taking aspirin regularly or warfarin (Coumadin), make sure to talk to your doctor to assess the safety of ginger for you.