Ginger root, the common Asian spice, is also used medicinally to treat many kinds of stomach complaints, such as morning sickness, upset stomach and nausea, according to MedlinePlus. It is also sometimes used to treat respiratory infections and other diseases. Many of these uses are unproven and ginger does pose certain risks, particularly if you eat large quantities of it. Consult your doctor before taking ginger root medicinally.
Ginger rarely causes side effects but if you eat large doses, you increase your risk of problems, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Eating too much ginger root can cause heartburn, diarrhea and mouth irritation. You may also experience belching, upset stomach, a bad taste in the mouth, bloating, gas and nausea. You may be able to reduce some of these side effects by using supplements in capsule form. There have also been cases where swallowing ginger without adequate chewing caused an intestinal blockage, according to MedlinePlus. If you have a history of ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal blockage, you should not eat large quantities of fresh ginger.
Though ginger is sometimes used to treat morning sickness, eating more than 1 g a day may cause birth defects and other problems, according to MedlinePlus. Large doses of ginger might affect the baby's sex hormones or cause miscarriage or bleeding. But other research studies suggest that ginger does not harm the baby and the risk of birth defects in women using ginger does not appear to be higher than normal, according to MedlinePlus. Consult your doctor before taking ginger if you are pregnant.
Large doses of ginger may cause sleepiness and minor sedation, according to MedlinePlus. Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding so if you have a bleeding disorder, you should avoid eating large amounts of it or taking supplements, according to MedlinePlus. Ginger may also lower your blood sugar, which could cause problems if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia. Eating large amounts of ginger, or taking high dose supplements, might make some heart conditions worse so avoid ginger if you have heart disease. As well, if you take warfarin or other blood thinners, you should limit the ginger you eat since high consumption could interfere with your medication.
Eating ginger could reduce your blood sugar levels. Diabetics should monitor blood sugar after a meal that contains ginger root to ensure their levels do not drop too low. If notice a drop and begin to feel weak, lightheaded or experience other signs of low blood sugar, drink a glass of juice or consume something sweet to raise levels. If they do not improve, seek medical attention immediately. Diabetics that consistently consume ginger root should talk with their doctor about adjusting medications to reduce the likelihood of drops in blood sugar levels.