Do you remember the story of The Gingerbread Man?
The fairy tale that talks about the gingerbread man’s escape from various pursuers before it meets its maker between the famished jaws of a fox.
Well, I pity that fox. Poor thing.
I mean, I am highlighting the possible negative side effects of ginger. Now, before you assume whatever you have learnt since childhood to be destroyed, let me tell you something.
The side effects of ginger largely occur due to excessive consumption. But still, it is important to know them. Isn’t it?
Ginger – A Brief
Briefly put, ginger is that ingredient that is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. And is also considered a top health food. (That’s contradicting the title, isn’t it? Just wait for a while.)
It is a perennial herb whose stems grow up to a meter in height, bearing green leaves and yellow flowers. Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal (another plant species).
Having originated in the tropical rainforests of Southern Asia, it is believed to have spread from the Indian subcontinent to the rest of the world. This, given that the ginger plants in India display the broad spectrum of genetic variation. In fact, the herb was exported to Europe through India way back in the first century AD, where the Romans used it extensively.
Ginger is more known for its benefits (than its side effects). It helps relieve digestive issues, motion sickness, and pain. The tea from ginger has benefits too – some of which include enhanced blood circulation and protection against respiratory ailments. And the latest fad, ginger shots, which are doing the rounds as one of the much healthier things you can down your throat in the mornings.
All said and done – ginger has side effects.
That’s the truth. Or that’s what they say.
Or is it?
Is Ginger Root Bad For You?
Firstly, anything consumed in excess will have ill effects. Ginger, being a strongly flavored spice, destroys this possibility.
It simply may not be possible.
But that doesn’t mean ginger ale side effects can be brushed away. There have been a few cases of excessive ginger consumption that did cause undesirable effects.
What are ginger effects?
Side Effects Of Ginger
Find out to know is too much ginger harmful and what are the side effects of ginger in detail.
1. May Cause Problems With Blood Pressure
Most of the research about ginger doesn’t touch upon its benefits for blood pressure. Moreover, research warns against eating too much ginger while you are on blood pressure lowering medication. This is because ginger can lower blood pressure way too much.
On the other hand, high doses of ginger can also aggravate certain conditions, high blood pressure (or hypertension) being one of them. It is better you avoid ginger if you have high blood pressure.
2. May Lead To Diarrhea
Is consuming ginger for diarrhea safe? If taken in large quantities, ginger can cause diarrhea. This is because it accelerates the passage of food and stool through the intestines.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, high doses of ginger can cause diarrhea (1). A potential solution to this problem could be taking ginger supplements or consuming ginger along with meals – but this, only if the side effects are mild. If they are severe, you need to stop ginger intake immediately.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Diarrhea ]
3. Might Not Be Safe During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Though ginger can reduce nausea in pregnant women, it is important to note the herb’s dark side as well. According to certain experts, consuming ginger can increase the risk of miscarriage (2). It may not be dangerous if the dosage is below 1500 mg per day, but still, check with your doctor.
And not just that, even taking ginger supplements in large doses can cause miscarriage and other complications. Though ginger is safe when used in amounts found in food, it can cause problems during pregnancy.
One Italian study states that ginger can treat nausea during pregnancy, but it stresses on the need for more studies to substantiate the fact (3). Another report highlights the concerns about ginger causing spontaneous abortion or preterm delivery (4). Though such results were not found in animal studies, doctor advice is required.
Mothers who have lost a significant amount of blood during childbirth must abstain from ginger during early postpartum.
4. Might Cause Bleeding
Can ginger cause bleeding? According to studies, certain women have reported excessive menstrual bleeding while taking ginger (5). The use of ginger is discouraged when you are bleeding (6). This applies not only to the herb, but also any ingredient present in the herb. The same has been suggested in a report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center (7).
Certain experts believe that ginger could cause bleeding due to its antiplatelet (blood thinning) properties (8). And when taken along with other herbs like clove, garlic, ginseng, and red clover, ginseng can further increase the risk of excessive bleeding (9).
5. Might Lower Blood Sugar Way Too Much
Ginger is usually known to aid diabetes treatment. Which is fine. The problem arises when it is taken along with diabetes medication (10). It might enhance the effects of the medication and cause hypoglycemia or excessive lowering of blood sugar.
6. Heart Conditions
High doses of ginger have been found to aggravate heart conditions. Individuals taking blood pressure medications can experience an undesirable drop in blood pressure. It can also lead to irregularities in the heartbeat.
Ginger might also interfere with antihypertensive therapy – which can eventually worsen heart conditions (11).
7. Gas And Bloating
Ginger tea might cause certain digestive side effects, though mild. It most often impacts the upper digestive system – causing upper digestive gas. Replacing ginger with supplements could be one solution to this. But again, talk to your doctor first.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, ginger can have mild side effects, like gas (12).
The same goes for ginger ale, the carbonated drink. It is not good for a stomach already containing gas as the ale will only aggravate the bloating (13). And according to the Health University of Utah, ginger, even in normal doses, can cause bloating (14).
Ginger, when taken in higher doses (more than 4 grams per day), can cause mild heartburn. Other likely side effects include upset stomach and belching. In case you are using ginger as some alternative remedy and are experiencing heartburn as a side effect, try this – ginger in the capsule form. This might not result in side effects.
One American study reports the occurrence of heartburn in the involved subjects who were given ginger (15). The most common side effects occur only when it is taken in excessively large amounts – and one of them, as per another report, is heartburn (16).
9. Upset Stomach
Ginger stimulates the secretion of bile, which benefits digestion. So far so good. But, if your stomach is empty, this can lead to enough gastric stimulation, leading to digestive distress and an upset stomach (17).
10. Mouth Irritation
Also called the Oral Allergy Syndrome, certain allergies occur when you consume certain foods. The symptoms are generally specific to the ears, skin, and the mouth. One such allergy occurs when you intake ginger (not in all individuals, though) – where your mouth starts to itch (18).
The mouth irritation might also lead to an unpleasant taste. Though switching to a ginger supplement might help, this is not always the case. Other related allergies include tingling and swelling of the mouth.
11. Can Cause Skin And Eye Irritation
Can we be allergic to ginger? According to an Iranian study, the most common allergic reaction to ginger is a skin rash (19). Other allergies to ginger include itchy eyes, skin redness, and skin inflammation.
These are the major side effects of ginger. But there are certain other ill effects of ginger (or of the different forms of ginger) that require your attention.
Side Effects Of Eating Ginger In Other Forms
Consuming ginger root in excess can also cause stomach upset and a bad taste in the mouth. It might cause nausea as well.
Turmeric Ginger Tea
Though superbly healthy, the turmeric ginger tea must not be consumed by individuals who have a history of kidney stones or gallstones. The tea might aggravate the condition by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood.
It might also cause stomach cramping and bloating.
Lemon Ginger Tea
The only side effect noted was frequent urination.
This is also known as ginger tea in certain regions. The side effects are similar to that of ginger – which include heartburn, stomach ache, gas, and a burning sensation in the mouth.
Another side effect of ginger water (the tea) is that it kills sleep. This means that it can keep you up for a long time in the night if at all you consume it before hitting the bed.
One dangerous side effect of ginger ale could be its possible interaction with cancer medications. It can also aggravate gallbladder disease.
Side Effects Of Ginger Capsules
The major problem with ginger supplements is their tendency to interact with prescription medications. And most side effects are similar to that of raw ginger. They might lower your blood sugar way too much and even interact with your heart medications.
Wait, there is something else…
You would have heard people talking about yellow ginger. Well, what do you think it is?
It’s turmeric. Yes. That is what it is. And it does have its share of side effects too. Though considered extremely healthy when taken orally and in appropriate amounts, yellow ginger (or turmeric) might interact with certain medications. These include antihypertensive, antiplatelet, and antidiabetic medications. It can also cause other side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
We have already seen some of this in the previous sections. Apart from what we saw, ginger also interacts with other drugs like phenprocoumon (a drug used in Europe to slow blood clotting) and warfarin (another drug to slow down blood clotting). Taking ginger along with these medications might increase your risk of bruising and bleeding (20).
How much is too much ginger? The ideal dosage for ginger could be anywhere between 250 mg to 1 gram, 3 to 4 times a day (21). Exceeding this dosage can result in side effects.
If it’s a ginger root, this is how the dosage goes:
- For children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, not more than 2 mg of ginger root in a day.
- For adults, no more than 4 grams of ginger root in a day.
- For pregnant women, no more than 1 gram of ginger root in a day.
I am not sure about that fox in the story, but you and I would suffer the side effects if we consume ginger in excess.
Yes, it is healthy. Provided you take it in the right amounts.
We hope this post on side effects of ginger has helped you in some way. Do tell us what you think by commenting in the box below. Your opinion matters, you know.
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