How to stop nausea fast: why does ginger help nausea?

History | Health benefits | Why does ginger help nausea? | Types of ginger | Side effects | How to use

    History of Ginger

    Ginger is part of the same family as turmeric and cardamom, and is harvested from the thick stem (or rhizome) of the flowering Zingiber officinale plant. Its medicinal properties have long been used for gastrointestinal relief, with origins dating back 5,000 years throughout South East Asia, India, and China. It was a favourite of ancient civilizations because of its fragrance, taste, and medicinal properties, leading it to be traded as a precious resource.

    In modern times, ginger's effectiveness can be applied to relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea, a common and unpleasant side effect faced by cancer patients. Ginger's natural compounds, like gingerol, have been studied heavily for their role in treating nausea and vomiting. This makes it a valuable addition to oncology nutrition therapy. For those undergoing chemotherapy, this age-old root offers a gentle yet powerful way to ease discomfort.

    Health Benefits

    • Improve recovery times when for fever or cold
    • Reduces Nausea
    • Lowers pain & menstrual pain
    • Decreases blood pressure and blood sugar
    • Supports heart and liver health
    • Anti-inflammatory qualities

    In a study with 576 people with cancer taking 0.5–1 gram of liquid ginger root extract twice daily for 6 days starting 3 days before chemotherapy significantly reduced nausea experienced within the first 24 hours of chemo, compared with a placebo.

    Why does ginger help nausea?

    The odour producing principles Gingerols and Shogaols are effective in preventing nausea and vomiting, by blocking the actions of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin in the body. Acetylcholine triggers involuntary stomach contractions, while serotonin can stimulate the vomiting reflex. By preventing these chemicals from working you can increase digestive responsiveness and speed stomach emptying, which can reduce nausea.

    Types of Ginger

    Ginger's content of these compounds varies depending on the form it is prepared in. Some researchers have determined that dried ginger has the highest concentrations, followed by fresh ginger and powdered ginger tea.

    As compared to raw ginger, the compound shogaols is highly concentrated in dried ginger whereas the compound gingerols are highly concentrated in raw ginger. Gingerols are the active agents in raw ginger, however they are transformed into shogaols when they are dried or cooked.

    While gingerols and shogaols have similar antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, shogaols are twice as potent. This indicates that supplements derived from dried ginger may be more biologically active.

    Side Effects & Who Should Never Use It

    In general, research indicates that ginger is safe to use for a wide variety of conditions. However, some people have experienced side effects including heartburn, diarrhoea, or stomach pains. This usually depends on the individual, the dosage, and the frequency of use.

    Below are the cautions you need to be aware of:

    • You should also be cautious if you use blood thinners, as ginger may interact with these drugs, though the evidence is mixed.
    • Taking large doses of ginger may increase the flow of bile in your body, so it’s not recommended if you have gallbladder disease.
    • Pregnant women should avoid taking ginger supplements close to labour, as it may worsen bleeding. Also pregnant women who have a history of miscarriage or clotting disorders. 

    It’s always best to ask your medical provider for guidance.

    How to Use Ginger For Nausea

    • Raw Ginger: Use it cooking, baking, soups or smoothies.
    • Ginger capsules and tablets: Capsules and tablets are usually coated, making it easy to swallow, but there’s also chewable sweets for those who struggle with taking pills.
    • Ginger flavoured drinks: With a wide range of flavours, including carbonated and still, there’s something to suit everyone's taste.
    • Ginger Tea: Try adding lemon and honey for extra taste and sweetness.
    • Ginger essential oil Can be used in a diffuser for an energy boost, whilst reducing nausea.
    • Ginger moisturiser: Besides reducing nausea, ginger also supports the  skin’s normal healing capacity and promotes normal blood circulation.  
    • Ginger Powder: Dissolves quickly in hot water and available in many different flavours. Quick and soothing way to reduce nausea! 

    Discover more natural ways to reduce nausea with our guide - How to Reduce Nausea Naturally: Lemons or Peppermint

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