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What do you know about Ginger? The good, bad and ugly

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-Monica Omachi

Ginger grows in China, India, Africa, the Caribbean, and other warm climates. The root of the ginger plant is well known as a spice and flavoring. It’s been a traditional remedy in many cultures for thousands of years.
Why do people take ginger?

Ginger is a common folk treatment for upset stomach and nausea. There’s evidence that it may help.
Ginger seems to aid digestion and saliva flow. Studies found that taking ginger could reduce nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women.
But pregnant women should be careful with ginger. Some experts worry that it could raise the risk of miscarriage, especially in high doses. Check with your doctor.
Ginger seems to help with nausea caused by vertigo as well. There’s mixed evidence about whether ginger helps with nausea caused by motion sickness, surgery, or chemotherapy.

Ginger does seem to help with painful periods. In one study, more than 60% of women felt that ginger lessened pain.
There’s strong evidence that ginger may ease osteoarthritis pain. It may also help with:
Rheumatoid arthritis
Muscle and joint pain
But more research is needed to know for sure.

Lab and animal studies have found that ginger may, theoretically:
Lessen swelling
Lower blood sugar
Lower cholesterol
Protect against Alzheimer’s disease
Prevent blood clotting.
Optimal doses of ginger have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.
Can you get ginger naturally from foods?
Ginger is a common spice and added flavoring. Many people drink ginger teas or soft drinks.

Upset stomach
Mouth irritation
High doses of ginger — more than 5 grams a day — increase the chances of side effects. Ginger on the skin may cause a rash.
Risks. Ginger may raise the risk of bleeding. If you have a bleeding disorder, it may not be safe. And check with your doctor before taking ginger as a treatment if you:
Are pregnant
Have diabetes
Have heart problems

Also, it’s not known if ginger supplements are safe for children or for women who are breastfeeding.
Interactions. If you take any medications regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using ginger supplements. They could interact with blood thinners and medications for diabetes and high blood pressure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.

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