For more than 2,000 years, the root of the ginger plant has been used both as a spice and as a medicine throughout Asia and the Middle East. Many people continue to use ginger root in folk remedies for a variety of illnesses and disorders. Ginger root supplements (products designed to provide nutrients lacking in the diet) are not the same as ground ginger used for baking and cooking. They are more concentrated to retain the natural chemicals that give ginger its potential health benefits. While more research is needed to definitively prove the benefits of ginger, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists it as "possibly effective" for several uses. Among these are reducing stomach discomfort after surgery and during pregnancy, alleviating symptoms of dizziness and easing pain due to arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and menstruation (periods). Herbal practitioners may also recommend it for relief from symptoms of nausea, migraines, cold and flu, but there is not enough evidence to verify these benefits.
Ginger and Your Health
From liquid preparations to herbal teas to supplements and capsules, you'll find many options at Walgreens to help you get the benefits of ginger root. As you compare available products, be sure to take the dosages into consideration. Products can vary dramatically in how much ginger root they contain. In people who are in good health and do not take medications, side effects from ginger root are uncommon. They typically only occur when the herb is used at high doses. Potential side effects include stomach problems and changes in menstrual bleeding (periods). There have been some studies that suggest that it is unsafe to use ginger root while pregnant. If you are pregnant you should weigh the risks and benefits of using a ginger supplement with your OB-GYN or midwife. Most doctors do not recommend using ginger supplements while breastfeeding. If you have any condition that causes bleeding, or you are taking a drug that increases your risk of bleeding such as warfarin, phenproucoumon, aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin or heparin, it may not be safe for you to use ginger. Because of its effects on the body, ginger root may cause dangerously low blood sugar levels when combined with diabetes medications or low blood pressure levels when used with some blood pressure drugs. People with certain heart problems shouldn't take ginger root. Always consult your doctor before using a ginger root supplement or any other herbal supplement on the market.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.