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Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant native to Asia. The ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant. It's used as a food flavoring and medicine.

Ginger contains chemicals that might reduce nausea and swelling. These chemicals seem to work in the stomach and intestines, but they might also help the brain and nervous system to control nausea.

People commonly use ginger for many types of nausea and vomiting. It's also used for menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, diabetes, migraine headaches, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using ginger for COVID-19.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Antiretroviral-induced nausea and vomiting.  Oral ginger seems to improve nausea and vomiting in patients using antiretroviral agents.
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  • Dysmenorrhea.  In people with dysmenorrhea, taking oral ginger seems to reduce pain. Clinical research shows that ginger might be comparable to ibuprofen or mefenamic acid. In addition, taking ginger seems to be beneficial when used as an adjunct to mefenamic acid 250 mg twice daily.
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  • Osteoarthritis.  Most clinical research shows that taking ginger extract by mouth improves pain in some patients with osteoarthritis. Topical ginger, on the other hand, has not shown benefit for knee osteoarthritis in low quality research.
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  • Pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.  Oral ginger seems to reduce the severity of nausea and vomiting in some people during pregnancy. Ginger seems to be more effective than placebo, comparable to vitamin B6 or dimenhydrinate, and less effective than metoclopramide.
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When taken by mouth: Ginger is likely safe. It can cause mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, burping, and general stomach discomfort. Taking higher doses of 5 grams daily increases the risk for side effects.

When applied to the skin: Ginger is possibly safe when used short-term. It might cause skin irritation for some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Ginger is likely safe when eaten in foods. It is possibly safe when taken by mouth as medicine during pregnancy. It might increase the risk of bleeding, so some experts advise against using it close to the delivery date. But it appears to be safe to use for morning sickness without harm to the baby. Talk to your healthcare provider before using ginger during pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: Ginger is likely safe when eaten in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if taking larger amounts of ginger is safe when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Ginger is possibly safe when taken by mouth for up to 4 days by teenagers around the start of their period.

Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding.

Heart conditions: High doses of ginger might worsen some heart conditions.

Surgery: Ginger might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using ginger at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Ginger might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ginger along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications for high blood pressure (Calcium channel blockers)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Ginger might reduce blood pressure in a way that is similar to some medications for blood pressure and heart disease. Taking ginger along with these medications might cause your blood pressure to drop too low or an irregular heartbeat.

Some medications for high blood pressure and heart disease include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ginger might slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), phenprocoumon (an anticlotting medicine available outside the US), and others.

Phenprocoumon

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Phenprocoumon is used in Europe to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with phenprocoumon might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your phenprocoumon might need to be changed.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Ginger might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Ginger might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Ginger is commonly consumed in foods and as a flavoring in drinks. As medicine, ginger is available in many forms, including teas, syrups, capsules, and liquid extracts. Ginger has most often been used by adults in doses of 0.5-3 grams by mouth daily for up to 12 weeks. Ginger is also available in topical gels, ointments, and aromatherapy essential oils. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

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