Everybody has to deal with the discomfort of nausea from time to time. From sickness to pregnancy to surgery, there are a multitude of reasons why each of us gets queasy at some point. When it does strike, it is great to know that there is a natural option for relief.
A Powerful Herb
Ginger has a long history of helping people get relief from digestive woes with a low risk of side effects. For those who want to avoid medication or want an extra boost along with their medication to relieve their nausea, ginger is a popular option. It is widely available and has been used around the world for thousands of years and offers extensive benefits.
Here is everything you need to know about this magical herb and some easy ways to incorporate it into your diet when nausea strikes.
What is Ginger?
Ginger, which goes by the scientific name zingiber officinale, is a knotted stem that stands about a foot off the ground with green leaves and white or yellow-green flowers. In fact, it belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom.
Although ginger originates from Southeast Asia, the popularity of the herb quickly spread. It became one of the first spices imported throughout the world. Between its sweet and peppery flavor and medicinal qualities, most countries adopted the use of ginger. As a result, it is now grown in a variety of tropical places, including India, China, Nigeria, Australia, and Haiti.
Knowledge of ginger’s medicinal properties have been known for centuries and has been used for over 5,000 years! In particular, ginger is extremely important in Ayurveda medicinal practices and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Indians referred to ginger as mahaoushadha, or “the great medicine”, because of its healing qualities. They would use ginger to treat digestive disorders and specifically used fresh ginger to help treat nausea.
Traditional Chinese Medicine also used fresh ginger root as an effective treatment against stomach sickness, which included nausea and vomiting. As a result of their recognition of ginger’s qualities, both Indian and Chinese cuisine often feature ginger cooked in a variety of ways.
Ginger made its way to the West about 2,000 years ago and its popularity has continued. Most significantly, Ginger ale was created in the mid 19th century and continues to be used to help settle the stomach. Ginger ale is used in many hospitals today to give to patients who suffer from nausea and vomiting.
The Science Behind Ginger for Nausea
Not only does ginger have thousands of years of history to support its ability to relieve nausea, but science also backs up many of the health claims about ginger. Because it is a natural remedy that is popular even in the West, there have been more studies about ginger than many other natural alternatives. This helps give a glimpse of the different conditions that ginger can help treat.
Just exactly how ginger treats nausea is not known. However, some scientists believe that it may come from one of the active compounds in ginger, 6-gingerol. This compound helps relax gastrointestinal muscles, which probably leads to relief from nausea and vomiting.
Here are just a few of the ways ginger can help treat nausea.
Pregnancy and Morning Sickness
Most women have the unfortunate experience of non-stop nausea during their first trimester. Somewhere between 70-80% of women have at least some degree of morning sickness. Although unpleasant, it is usually not dangerous and most professionals recommend at-home remedies before trying any medication. Beyond the first trimester, many women may find that they may have bouts of nausea throughout their pregnancy for a variety of reasons.
Even if it may not usually be dangerous, morning sickness can still be uncomfortable for many women and seriously affect their quality of life. When morning sickness hits, most women just want to find out how they can stop nausea fast. Ginger can be the right solution.
When it comes to morning sickness, ginger has been studied as a remedy. Scientists have discovered that it can significantly reduce nausea and vomiting for women. Ginger has even been shown to be as effective as vitamin B6 (which is often recommended by professionals) to treat nausea. Also, studies show that overall, ginger is a fast and safe treatment for nausea.
For people who are fighting cancer, nausea can be significant. On top of all the other physical and emotional challenges that come with chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting can be a particular struggle. Although medication can help, most patients find that they need additional help, especially on the first day after chemotherapy. In fact, 70% of chemo patients struggle with nausea, often even with anti-nausea medication. Other cancer treatments, such as certain medications, also have nausea and vomiting as a side effect and these patients also often need help beyond medication.
Ginger has recently been studied as a remedy for nausea after chemotherapy and the results are promising. One study found that even as little as ¼ a teaspoon of ginger helped cut nausea by 40%. In another study of over 500 women with breast cancer, each was given varying amounts of ginger before chemotherapy to measure its ability to treat nausea. They found that ginger did make a measurable difference and its effects were most prominent the day after chemotherapy when nausea is typically at its peak.
Although it does require some more research, many cancer experts are recommending the use of ginger because of the promising results in studies so far and its low risk of side effects.
Motion sickness is yet another unavoidable form of nausea that ginger can help treat. In one study, 13 participants were spun in a drum for 15 minutes, which is nausea-inducing for even the strongest among us. They found that the participants that took ginger had both a reduction in nausea and recovered faster.
The key with taking ginger for nausea is taking it before nausea the feeling hits. In the study above, participants took ginger about an hour beforehand. If you know you will be in a place where nausea is likely, such as a boat, plane or even a carnival ride, consider taking ginger before to help mitigate any nausea.
Surgery, no matter what kind, can be a challenge for the body. Between the strong analgesics, the fasting period before, and the body’s own healing process, many people find themselves fighting nausea and vomiting after surgery. Many health professionals try to combat it right after surgery by giving patients ginger ale.
There are some studies that find taking ginger before surgery can be useful to help overcome nausea. Like motion sickness, the key lies in taking it beforehand to help the body fight off nausea before it starts. It can be helpful to give yourself a little boost before surgery with some ginger.
Side Effects of Ginger
Ginger is largely considered low-risk and safe for most people, but it can negatively interact with certain medications when used in therapeutic doses. Always consult with a doctor if you are on any medication, especially any blood thinners, or if you have any questions about whether ginger is right for you.
How to Take Ginger for Nausea
One of the great advantages of taking ginger to relieve nausea is that it comes in so many different forms. Depending on your needs, especially if you are not fond of ginger to begin with, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to find one that works for you.
Here are a few ways you can take ginger to help with nausea.
This is the fastest way to get ginger into your diet is straight from the source. Ginger is available at most grocery stores in the produce section. You can simply peel and cut a piece to suck or chew to relieve nausea. However, do not swallow the pieces because the taste can be a bit too strong for most people.
For people who find that chewing it directly is too much, making a ginger tea is a much milder way to still get the benefits.
How to make ginger tea:
- Peel and cut a piece of raw ginger
- Place the ginger in a cup and cover with boiling water
- Let the tea steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking
- Smaller pieces and longer steeping time result in stronger tea
Most moms know ginger ale as a remedy for their little one’s tummy troubles. However, check the ingredient labels beforehand. Many ginger ales on the market today do not actually contain ginger and will not have the same anti-nausea benefits!
Most studies on ginger use powdered ginger because it is potent and an easy way to make sure that you are getting enough ginger. Mix into a drink to make it easy to take. However, a word of warning: too much powdered ginger can lead to heartburn, stomach upset, diarrhea, and mouth irritation. Start out slowly and work your way up to higher doses.
One of the best ways to use ginger to relieve nausea fast is by using it with other known natural nausea remedies. Tonics are one of the easiest and fastest ways to get rid of nausea.
Hana Tonic includes ginger in its nausea-busting recipe to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. It also includes pineapple, lemon, and cayenne pepper to give your body a powerful boost.
If you are looking for natural ways to end nausea, or need something to work along with medication, give Hana Tonic a try and give your body a boost today!