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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy

Ginger has been used for thousands of years in traditional healing systems. In India, it’s known as maha-aushadhi, meaning “the great medicine.”

Beating out Dramamine in a head-to-head test, it’s considered to be a nontoxic, broad-spectrum antiemetic (antivomiting agent) effective in countering nausea during motion sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy, radiation, and after surgery.

It has also been found to be useful for headaches, including migraines. A double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial compared its efficacy for the treatment of migraine headaches to sumatriptan (Imitrex), one of the top-selling, billion-dollar drugs in the world. Just one-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger worked just as well and just as fast as the drug (and costs less than a penny). Most migraine sufferers started with moderate or severe pain, but after taking the drug or the ginger, ended up in mild pain or were entirely pain-free. The same proportion of migraine sufferers reported satisfaction with the results either way.

At least eight randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials have been conducted on ginger for pain—everything from osteoarthritis, to irritable bowel, to painful periods. Overall, ginger extracts, like the powdered ginger spice you’d get at any grocery store, were found to be “clinically effective [pain-reducing] agents [with] a better safety profile than [the] drugs.” In some of the studies, it worked better than in others, which is thought to be due, in part, to the different doses that were used, as there’s a “strong dose-effect relationship.” The best results, in terms of reduction of pain, were with one-and-a-half or two grams a day, which is a full teaspoon of ground ginger.

Ginger is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but the maximum recommended daily dose of fresh ginger while pregnant is 20 grams (about four teaspoons of freshly grated gingerroot). Any more may have uterus-stimulating effects.

The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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