Although Commission E suggests that ginger is contraindicated in pregnancy, more recent research suggests that ginger is not contraindicated in pregnancy — doses up to 2 g/day of dried ginger root have been used safely.
Practice Points / Patient Counselling
• Ginger is most often used for its anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects.
• There is clinical support for the use of ginger in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, the postoperative period, pregnancy and chemotherapy.
• Ginger is traditionally used for gastrointestinal disorders including dyspepsia, poor appetite, flatulence, colic, vomiting, diarrhea and spasms, as well as a diaphoretic in the treatment of the common cold and influenza.
• Although antiplatelet effects have been reported, this requires very large doses and is not likely to be significant in normal therapeutic doses or dietary intake levels.
Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions
What will this herb do for me?
Ginger may be useful in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, postoperative nausea, vomiting in pregnancy and seasickness. It is also useful for treating symptoms of dyspepsia and may have symptom-relieving effects in arthritis, although this is less certain.
When will it start to work?
In the case of dyspepsia and motion sickness prevention, ginger will havean almost immediate effect, with improvement reported within 30 minutes. For motion sickness, 0.5-1.0 g ginger should betaken 30 minutes before travel and repeated 4 hourly. For nausea of pregnancy it should be taken for at least 4 days.
Are there any safety issues?
Ginger is well tolerated, although it should be used with caution by people with gallstones, gastric ulcers or reflux.