Ginger is helpful for treating morning sickness in early pregnancy, according to new guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in the UK. In fact, the evidence that ginger can reduce morning sickness is so strong, they have given it a top Grade A rating, quoting three systematic reviews to support its effectiveness.
In one analysis of data from six studies, involving over 500 pregnant women, taking around one gram of ginger per day, for at least four days, was five times more likely to result in an improvement in nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy than placebo.
Another study found that eating 5 ginger biscuits (each providing 500mg ginger each) per day was also effective.
Reassuringly, the RCOG say there is no evidence that use of ginger has any adverse effects on fetal development.
Other researchers have found that ginger is effective for treating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and motion sickness. Ginger ale also appears to be effective if you prefer sipping a drink to eating biscuits or taking ginger pills.
The exact way in which ginger works to suppress nausea is uncertain, but it appears to have effects on stomach emptying and the release of a hormone (vasopressin) associated with circular movement.
Ginger root extracts have been used to treat digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, belching and bloating for over two thousand years. It may also protect against the formation of stomach ulcers.
If nausea or vomiting is severe or persistent, always seek medical advice – especially during pregnancy.
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