How does ginger work as a stomach remedy?

So you have some nausea, or motion sickness, or morning sickness, and take a sip of ginger ale or ginger tea and feel better. What just happened?

Well, among other things, ginger is a bit like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen in that it alters biochemical pathways. Not only that, but ginger, like coffee, is a mild stimulant that improves blood flow.

Ever get motion sickness? That woozy feeling you get when the boat is rocking but your stomach is rocking even faster? That has a lot to do with how your brain reacts in conjunction with the digestive system. Though it is not yet clear to researchers exactly how, but studies show that ginger acts on the brain and the stomach.

The ginger root contains a number of chemicals, but two, gingerols and shogaols, in particular, are the most important when it comes to stomach upset. Gingerols and shogaols relax the intestinal track.

As a result, ginger can be employed to ease a number of maladies, including a wide range of nausea, vertigo, diarrhea, heartburn and gas.

That is also why ginger can be used to prevent motion sickness, as well as vomiting, colic, stomach cramps and stomach troubles associated with the flu.

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Ginger has been used as a stomach remedy for over 2000 years.  It is especially good for treating and preventing certain types of nausea.

There have been many studies that have found that ginger worked better than placebo for preventing nausea in sailors prone to motion sickness.  In a study of healthy volunteers ginger helped to prevent nausea better than placebo, however ginger was less effective than conventional anti-nausea medications.  

Several studies have found that for a short period, ginger can improve nausea due to morning sickness. It is considered to be safe in pregnancy in a dose of one gram daily for no more than four days.  

A recent study involving patients receiving chemotherapy found that when ginger was taken in a dose of a half to one gram daily 4 days prior to chemotherapy nausea was significantly reduced during chemotherapy when compared to placebo.

Ginger comes from a knotted underground stem called a rhizome It can either be used fresh or dried There are many preparations that can be made such as a tincture, capsule, tea or extract.  It is important to know that ginger can interfere with blood thinning medications such as aspirin and coumadin so it is important to talk to your health care provider if you are interested in trying it and you are on these medications.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Ginger helps settle your stomach and get rid of both diarrhea and nausea. One early study suggested that it may be more effective at treating nausea than Dramamine! It works to slow an upset GI tract, so it’s great for airplane or boat rides. It is also a great carminative, which means it helps to eliminate extra gas from the intestinal tract.

You can make ginger tea or ginger lemonade. You can also combine 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of tamari, 4 tablespoons of raw sesame oil, and 1 smashed clove of garlic to make a stomach-soothing salad dressing.
Roshini C. Rajapaksa, MD
Ginger has been used for centuries as a stomach remedy for nausea, bloating, and overall stomach upset. In this video, gastroenterologist Roshini Raj, MD, explains some of the healthy benefits of ginger, and how you can work it into your diet. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.