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How Effective is Ginger for Upset Stomach?

Ginger has been a go-to remedy for upset stomachs for centuries, with its natural compounds offering relief from nausea and indigestion. Studies suggest its effectiveness, especially in reducing pregnancy-related morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Intrigued by how this spicy root can soothe your stomach? Discover the science behind ginger's healing properties and how to harness them for your digestive woes. Ready to learn more?
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Using ginger for upset stomach has been a time-honored remedy in many cultures that in recent years has been subject to a number of clinical studies. Though these studies are relatively small in scale, they do suggest that old wives tales about ginger may certainly be believable. The ginger root, or actually the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, does appear to be beneficial in resolving some, though not all, stomach complaints. The principal conditions that may respond to ginger include morning sickness, general queasiness, nausea due to chemotherapy and motion sickness. There is some evidence of ginger’s effectiveness in other conditions like heartburn or indigestion.

The different studies on ginger for upset stomach have principally compared it to placebo treatments. Thus far, some of the studies that compare placebo treatment to ginger include those for people with seasickness, mild to severe morning sickness, those who are undergoing chemotherapy, and those recovering from surgery. All, except for the final study, concluded that ginger for upset stomach in these cases was better than placebo. The surgery study is an interesting exception because in it, ginger actually worsened nausea and vomiting.

Ginger is known to act as a mild anti-inflammatory for the stomach.
Ginger is known to act as a mild anti-inflammatory for the stomach.

One of the reasons that ginger is thought to be useful in most cases where stomach upset is present is because it acts as a mild anti-inflammatory. It has specific compounds that can reduce swelling or inflammatory response. This particular action may reduce symptoms of nausea, and it also makes ginger intriguing to treat other stomach symptoms. Indigestion, for example, may partly be felt because the stomach is somewhat irritated and inflamed. Reducing that inflammation reasonably suggests a reduction in symptoms.

Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to ease stomach issues.
Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to ease stomach issues.

Thus far, the varied studies on ginger for upset stomach fail to account for the best methods for taking ginger. Some people wonder if it is better to consume it fresh, pickled, or grated and dried, or if all methods are equal. This question very much deserves attention when it’s recommended people drink ginger in the form of ginger ale or ginger beer. It’s possible that the addition of carbonation and high sugar amounts could actually act as a stomach irritant, though even in this form, some people find ginger for upset stomach helpful.

Ginger is technically a rhizome.
Ginger is technically a rhizome.

There are still some guidelines on how much ginger for upset stomach to use. Generally, it’s thought that people shouldn’t exceed a daily ginger consumption of 4 grams. It tends to be safe for children over the age of two, though maximum dose should be smaller. The biggest advantage of this medicine is that it’s easy to find and it tends to have very few side effects, unlike many anti-nausea medications. It also has few drug interactions, though people who take blood thinners should check with their doctors about use because of its comparable properties to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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    • Ginger is known to act as a mild anti-inflammatory for the stomach.
      By: Balint Radu
      Ginger is known to act as a mild anti-inflammatory for the stomach.
    • Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to ease stomach issues.
      By: tashka2000
      Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to ease stomach issues.
    • Ginger is technically a rhizome.
      By: zigzagmtart
      Ginger is technically a rhizome.
    • Ginger capsules help to alleviate the symptoms of an upset stomach.
      By: womue
      Ginger capsules help to alleviate the symptoms of an upset stomach.
    • Pickled ginger, which is served with sushi, alleviates stomach upset and aids in digestion.
      By: Fotoluminate LLC
      Pickled ginger, which is served with sushi, alleviates stomach upset and aids in digestion.
    • An upset stomach can be painful, but ginger can help to ease some of the distress.
      By: Brian Jackson
      An upset stomach can be painful, but ginger can help to ease some of the distress.
    • Some ginger ales are not made with real ginger, so will be ineffective at calming the stomach.
      By: Brent Hofacker
      Some ginger ales are not made with real ginger, so will be ineffective at calming the stomach.