People around the world use ginger for a wide variety of ailments, and ginger has a long history as a remedy for nausea.
However, if you’re using ginger to treat your nausea, you want to get the most out of this natural remedy. Thankfully, science and tradition both shed some light on this superfood and give us some information on the best ways to take it.
Continue reading for some tips when you want to use ginger to reduce nausea. First, though, here is a little history about ginger and what science says today about the spice.
Ginger is a flowering and knotted stem that originates from Southeast Asia. The rhizome, or root, is the part that we typically use and consume. Humans first used it over 5,000 years ago.
Because of its delicious flavor and purported health benefits, ginger quickly spread in popularity across the world. Today, it’s grown in a variety of tropical places around the world. India has the most ginger in the world, but the largest exporter of ginger is currently China.
People used ginger for medicinal purposes for the past 5,000 years. It’s a staple in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine and mentioned in both Arabic and Greco-Roman writings. All of these cultures traditionally used ginger as both a digestive aid and anti-inflammatory agent.
Ginger was introduced to the Western diet over 2,000 years ago and is still one of the most popular remedies for nausea today.
Is it Effective Against Nausea?
In addition to the traditional use for nausea, a lot of modern science also backs up many of ginger's medicinal claims. More specifically, science points to a specific compound in ginger, called 6-gingerol, to be the secret behind its nausea-relieving effects. 6-gingerol relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles, which can relieve nausea and vomiting.
In addition, some studies show the effectiveness of ginger against:
Many women swear by ginger as a natural remedy when they're in the throes of morning sickness early in their pregnancy. It turns out, they might be right: an overview of the studies surrounding ginger and nausea shows that it is a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
In what may be one of the least-fun studies of all time, 13 volunteers were spun in a drum for 15 minutes to induce nausea. The participants who consumed ginger before the test had less nausea and recovered faster than those who didn’t.
A well-known side effect of chemotherapy is nausea, and nausea medications are often not effective. Up to 70% of chemo patients still struggle with nausea, even after taking medicine. A study of over 500 women who were undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer found that ginger was effective in treating nausea. Another study found that even taking as little as ¼ teaspoon of powdered ginger helped cut nausea significantly.
No matter what the operation, nausea and vomiting are common occurrences after surgery. An overview of six studies points to the effectiveness of ginger to treat nausea after surgery. For patients that have a hard time eating, but are experiencing nausea, ginger might be the right remedy for them.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Ginger
If you’re experiencing nausea, you likely want to get rid of it ASAP. There are ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your ginger to treat your nausea.
Some tips for using ginger as a remedy for sickness include:
1. Choose Fresh Over Dried
Most traditional medicine, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, calls for taking fresh ginger root for its digestive-healing effects. Generations of experience and observation led them to believe that ginger was stronger fresh rather than in its dried form.
They may have been onto something: fresh ginger has more 6-gingerol, the nausea-fighting component in ginger, than dried. Also note that the same study found that the peel had the highest amount of 6-gingerol, so keeping it intact may be the way to get the most nausea-fighting power.
Whenever you can, take fresh ginger for the most potent nausea-fighting remedy. Traditionally, people would chew on the ginger to cure their nausea, but that may be too harsh for you. There are other ways that you can have it fresh, though. For example, try it grated to make a cup of tea.
You can still benefit from ginger if it is dried or powdered. If the taste of fresh ginger is too much, or you can’t find fresh ginger, don’t be afraid to take ginger in its other forms to get nausea relief.
2. Start Slowly
It can be tempting to over-do the ginger when you're feeling queasy, but that can make the problem even worse. Most common side effects include gas, bloating, digestive issues, heartburn, and increased nausea. If you find that you have any of these side effects, try cutting down and starting with a smaller amount of ginger.
Some studies have found as little as a ¼ teaspoon of dried ginger effective against nausea, so start out slowly when taking ginger. You can always take a bit more if you find that you need it.
Although fresh is best, you can still benefit from ginger if it is dried or powdered. If the taste of fresh ginger is too much, or you can’t find fresh ginger, don’t be afraid to take ginger in its other forms to get nausea relief.
3. Eat with a Meals
For some people, taking ginger can be too much on its own. Even with a smaller dose, they may find that the taste is too strong for their nausea. In this case, it might be best to have ginger with, or even in, your meal.
Not only can food make taking ginger more comfortable, but ginger can conversely help you when mealtime is giving you nausea. If you find that you have a hard time digesting your meals, then eating ginger with your meal can help you reduce nausea and break down your meals better.
Ginger is known to activate the salivary glands, which is the first step in digesting meals. This means that the food is easier to break down in the stomach, which can help ease nausea as well.
4. Eat Before You Might get Sick
It's not always possible to know when nausea is going to strike, such as during pregnancy or sickness. Sometimes, though, you know that a stomach ache may be a real possibility; for example, when you are preparing for surgery, going on a boat ride, or about to undergo chemotherapy. When you know that you might experience nausea soon, consider taking ginger root ahead of time.
Ginger can help to keep your stomach calm when you’re going through a nauseating event and prevent you from feeling queasy. This is especially true if you’re going to experience motion sickness or surgery. Some studies that showed ginger to be effective had participants consume ginger before participating in something that may cause nausea.
Don’t wait for nausea to strike to start taking ginger. If you think that you might be sick soon, start taking ginger right away.
5. Keep Taking It
You’ll probably feel the health effects of ginger pretty soon after taking it for nausea. However, taking ginger over a while increases its effects. Many studies (such as those for chemotherapy) studied the impact of taking ginger over several days and weeks to help reduce nausea.
If the cause of your nausea is ongoing (such as chemotherapy and pregnancy), take ginger regularly to keep any sickness to a minimum.
6. Think Twice Before Drinking Soda
Most of us remember sipping on ginger ale as children whenever we had a stomach ache. Even many hospitals hand out ginger ale to help patients with nausea. However, when it comes to taking ginger for nausea, ginger ale is the least effective.
Many ginger ales on the market today have very little actual ginger in them. Canada Dry, for example, has only 24 milligrams of ginger in it. Since most studies found about 1 gram of ginger to be most effective for nausea, you would have to drink a lot of soda to relieve your nausea.
Also, ginger ale has carbonation, which can be problematic for your digestion and nausea. The excessive amount of sugar in soda also makes it less than ideal for your digestive and overall health.
If the only ginger you can stand to stomach is soda because of your nausea, make sure that it has plenty of ginger to help. An old-fashioned or all-natural ginger ale will likely have more actual ginger in them then mass-produced ones. You may also want to let it go flat to keep carbonation from hurting your digestion.
7. Try a Tonic
Combine your ginger with other nausea-relieving ingredients to get the most significant effects. Tonics allow you to get rid of nausea as fast as possible using safe and natural ingredients.
Hana Tonic combines ginger in its most effective form to get you feeling normal again. Its ingredients include ginger, pineapple, lemon, and cayenne pepper to deliver nausea relief in one potent shot!
Get the most out of your ginger and get relief fast by trying these tips today!