Gastroparesis is a stomach condition affecting roughly 4 percent of the U.S. population, according to an article published in 2008 in the "Medscape Journal of Medicine." Although alternative medicines like ginger are often used to treat the symptoms of gastroparesis, there is little evidence supporting the effectiveness of these alternative treatments. As with any health supplement, consult your doctor before taking ginger to treat gastroparesis or any other health condition.
Gastroparesis, which is also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a health condition in which food stays in the stomach for a long time after it is eaten, explains the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. When food stays in the stomach too long, it causes several symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, appetite loss and disruptions in blood glucose levels. People with gastroparesis often feel uncomfortably full after eating just a small amount of food.
Ginger is a commonly used spice and alternative medicine. Derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant, ginger is used to treat several health conditions, particularly gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. While ginger is sometimes recommended to treat the nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis, there is very little evidence indicating that ginger is effective for this use, reports the article published in the "Medscape Journal of Medicine."
Other Treatments for Gastroparesis
The best treatment for gastroparesis is determined by the severity of the symptoms experienced by the patient. For mild cases, changes in diet may help alleviate symptoms, including avoiding high-fat foods, which require a long time to digest, and high-fiber foods, which are very difficult for the stomach to digest. For more severe cases of gastroparesis, several prescription medications can help stimulate stomach contractions and empty the stomach, including metoclopramide, domperidone and erythromycin.
Other Benefits of Ginger
Ginger appears to alleviate nausea and vomiting in certain situations, such as morning sickness and following surgery. However, other causes of nausea and vomiting, such as chemotherapy and motion sickness, do not appear to respond to ginger, according to MedlinePlus. Many other purported health benefits of ginger, including preventing migraine headaches, arthritis, flu and colds, also lack definitive supporting evidence.
- MedlinePlus; Ginger; April 2011
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Ginger; July 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginger; Steven Ehrlich et al.; November 2008
- "Medscape Journal of Medicine"; Gastroparesis -- Current Concepts and Considerations; William Hasler; 2008
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Gastroparesis; July 2007