Ginger isn't just good for adding flavor to your food; you can also use it as an herbal remedy. Boiling fresh ginger root in water to make a ginger tea is one way to add more ginger to your diet. Although ginger is generally recognized as safe, when used in amounts more than those typically found in food, it can cause some side effects and interact with certain medications, so check with your doctor before significantly increasing your ginger intake.
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Components in ginger act as antioxidants, limiting damage to your cells from substances called free radicals, and also may help limit inflammation, tumors, high blood sugar and nausea, according to a review article published in "Food and Chemical Toxicology" in February 2008. Ginger is sometimes used to help reduce the nausea associated with pregnancy, acting directly on the digestive tract to avoid the central nervous system side effects associated with some centrally acting medications for treating nausea, notes a literature review published in the "Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health" in 2005.
Potential Side Effects
Side effects due to ginger use aren't common, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, but they can include heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea and belching. Drinking your ginger tea with meals can make these side effects less likely. MedlinePlus notes that some women have reported an increased menstrual flow when taking ginger.
Ginger may interact with a number of medications, including blood thinners and medications for diabetes or high blood pressure. Your doctor can tell you whether it will be safe for you to drink tea made from boiled fresh ginger given the medications you are taking or whether you should limit the amount of this tea you drink.
Who Should Avoid Ginger Tea
The University of Maryland Medical Center urges people with gallstones and pregnant or breast-feeding women to check with their doctor before taking ginger because of potential adverse effects. The center says people with bleeding disorders and those taking blood-thinning medications including aspirin should not use ginger. The American Pregnancy Association rates ginger root tea as possibly safe, but there may be a chance it could affect the baby's sex hormones, according to MedlinePlus, making its use somewhat controversial.
- MedlinePlus: Ginger
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- American Pregnancy Association: Herbal Tea and Pregnancy
- Food and Chemical Toxicology: Some Phytochemical, Pharmacological and Toxicological Properties of Ginger (Zingiber Officinale Roscoe): A Review of Recent Research
- Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health: A Literature Review of the Effectiveness of Ginger in Alleviating Mild-to-Moderate Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy