People use ginger root to flavor foods and also as an herbal medicine to treat or prevent conditions including nausea, morning sickness, arthritis and inflammation. Although the amount of ginger used in foods is unlikely to cause side effects, the amount sometimes taken for medicinal purpose may cause side effects and interact with medications.
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Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers are a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. If you take this type of medication, which includes amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, nifedipine and verapamil, you should not use ginger as an herbal medicine as it may cause a dangerous interaction.
Ginger and Heart Rate
Should ginger interact with calcium channel blockers, it can increase the effect of this medication, causing your blood pressure to become dangerously low. When your blood pressure drops too low it can cause your heart rate to become irregular, according to MedlinePlus. If you do not have low blood pressure or a heart condition and do not take blood pressure medications ginger is unlikely to cause an irregular heart beat.
Ginger Side Effects and Safety
In healthy individuals, ginger side effects tend to be relatively mild and include upset stomach, nausea, mouth irritation, heartburn, gas, belching and bloating. Consuming powdered ginger is more likely to cause these side effects than consuming ginger root or ginger capsules. Ginger may also cause blood sugar to drop, and it may cause your blood to thin, so do not take ginger if you are diabetic or take blood thinners.
Much of the evidence for the use of ginger in herbal medicine is still preliminary and contradictory. Do not take ginger without first speaking with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you, and don't self-treat any condition with ginger instead of following the treatment prescribed by your doctor.