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Health benefits of ginger

Ginger is grown in warm climates and when people talk about ginger they don't mean the leaves or flowers of the plant but its bulbous roots which are often used to spice up recipes.

It's also used as a traditional remedy for a number of ailments despite the fact that European food safety officials have not approved any health claims about products containing ginger.

You can buy fresh, dried, or powdered root ginger, or ginger capsules, liquid extracts, and teas. For nausea you may prefer crystallised stem ginger, ginger biscuits or sipping ginger ale.

Ginger in pregnancy

Perhaps the most well known use for ginger is for helping women with 'morning sickness' which, as it can happen at any time in the day, is more accurately described as 'nausea and vomiting in pregnancy'.

Guidance published in 2016 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists acknowledged that some women find eating or drinking ginger products may help reduce nausea and vomiting but also cautioned that sometimes the same products could irritate the stomach. However, the NHS says to date, there have been no reports of any adverse effects being caused by taking ginger during pregnancy.

Ginger products are unlicensed in the UK, so it's important to buy them from a reputable source. Some experts worry that ginger could increase the risk of miscarriage, especially in high doses, so always check with your pharmacist before you use ginger supplements.

Ginger and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

Ginger, when taken along with some anti-nausea medications, may help to reduce or eliminate nausea and vomiting during and after chemotherapy treatments.

Cancer Research UK says along with anti-sickness medication people may find ginger helpful when they are feeling sick. However, it says although researchers have been looking at using ginger alongside anti-sickness medication during chemotherapy the results so far have been mixed and more research is needed.

Ginger for stomach upsets

Traditionally ginger has been used for thousands of years to reduce stomach pain and discomfort.

Ginger is a carminative, which means it helps get rid of excessive wind from the digestive system and soothes the intestinal tract.

Ginger and reducing inflammation

Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols.

Arthritis Research UK says some animal and laboratory studies have found that it can reduce the activity of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation.

It also contains salicylates, which our bodies transform into salicylic acid. This, in turn, stops our nerves making certain prostaglandins and this eases pain and can help improve mobility.

Trials have looked at doses of ginger ranging from 510–1,000 mg a day but no recommended safe and effective doses have been found for use in musculoskeletal conditions – a term which includes arthritis.

WebMD Medical Reference

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