9 Side Effects Of Ginger You Must Know About

This spice may be common in every household, but the knowledge of the downsides of consuming it is not.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian) Merlin Annie Raj Merlin Annie RajRD (Registered Dietitian) facebook_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
 • 

A few side effects of ginger may cause you to think twice before adding it to your diet. Ayurvedic practitioners have been using ginger (Zingiber officinale) to treat many conditions for centuries. Unfortunately, this herbal medicine has some detrimental effects as well.

Excess intake of ginger can cause heart issues, diarrhea, and increase the chances of miscarriage. In addition, ipeople taking medicine for high blood pressure may wish to limit their consumption of ginger as it may interact with drugs and further lower blood pressure.

This article examines the side effects of ginger, its safety, recommended dosage, and any potential drug interactions. Read on.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Ginger

Short-Term Effects
Heartburn, upset stomach, and diarrhea.

Long-Term Effects
May lead to miscarriage and may excessively lower blood sugar levels.

Drug Interactions
It may interact with blood thinners, immunosuppressant drugs, and anti-diabetic medications.

When To See A Doctor
If you experience mouth irritation such feel a tingling sensation or swelling, then consult a doctor immediately.

Uses Of Ginger

Ginger has a rich history in traditional medicine and culinary science. It not only adds a delightful zing to your diet but also boasts of a range of health benefits.

One of the primary uses of ginger lies in its ability to soothe digestive and abdominal discomforts, such as nausea, indigestion, and motion sickness (1). It is also revered for its anti-inflammatory properties. Individuals often use it as a natural remedy for pain relief, particularly in the case of arthritis (2). Furthermore, ginger has immune-boosting qualities that can help fend off common colds and flu (3).

However, excessive use of ginger can also result in some side effects. Learn more about them below.

9 Side Effects Of Ginger

1. May Cause Heartburn

Woman suffering with heartburn
Image: Shutterstock

Ginger, when taken in higher doses (more than 4 grams per day), may cause mild heartburn. As per anecdotal evidence, other likely side effects include an upset stomach and belching.

In case you are using ginger as an alternative remedy and are experiencing heartburn as a side effect, you may want to try ginger in the capsule form. This might not result in side effects.

An American study reports heartburn in subjects who were given ginger (4). Most often, consuming more than 5 grams of ginger per day can lead to these side effects, including heartburn (5).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Have alkaline foods like bananas and melons along with foods rich in water, like watermelon, to soothe your heartburn.

2. May Cause Bleeding

Ginger may aggravate bleeding issues (6). This applies not only to the herb, but also to any ingredient present in the herb.

Certain experts believe that ginger could cause bleeding due to its anti-platelet (blood thinning) properties (7). Some believe ginger can further increase the risk of bleeding when taken along with other herbs like cloves, garlic, ginseng, and red clover. However, more research is warranted in this aspect.

3. May Lead To Diarrhea

If taken in large quantities, ginger can cause diarrhea. Gingerols, the active ingredients in ginger, speed up the passage of food through the intestines and may cause diarrhea (8). While this was confirmed in animal studies, more studies in humans are warranted.

Diarrhea can occur when the stool moves too rapidly through the gastrointestinal tract. Abnormal gastrointestinal motility and excessive fluid secretion of the gastrointestinal tract cause diarrhea.

4. May Upset Stomach

Woman suffering with upset stomach
Image: Shutterstock

There is less research in this regard. Ginger stimulates the secretion of bile, which benefits digestion. But if your stomach is empty, this may lead to excess gastric stimulation, causing digestive distress and an upset stomach.

The gingerol in ginger (which is similar to capsaicin, the active ingredient in many spices and chili peppers) is thought to irritate the stomach, making it produce more acid. This may leave you feeling unsettled.

In fact, a review of five studies conducted on 593 patients to check for ginger’s efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis found an astonishing result. It was found that the participants who were given ginger were 2.33 times more likely to discontinue treatment than the ones who were given placebo despite experiencing pain reduction. This is because they experienced various forms of stomach upset or simply did not like the taste of ginger.

However, some evidence states that ginger could actually help treat an upset stomach (9). Hence, more studies are needed to understand how ginger may cause stomach upset.

5. Might Not Be Safe During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman
Image: Shutterstock

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 (10). It may not be dangerous if the dosage is below 1500 mg per day (1). Anything beyond this could be unsafe for pregnant women.

Taking ginger supplements in large doses can also cause miscarriage and other complications. Though ginger is safe when used in amounts found in food, it can cause problems during pregnancy. Excess intake of ginger during pregnancy may also lead to acid reflux and heartburn (1).

Ginger can increases the bleeding risk by decreasing aggregation of platelets (11). Hence, mothers who have lost a significant amount of blood during childbirth must abstain from ginger during the early days following childbirth.

6. May Cause Gas And Bloating

Man suffering with bloating
Image: Shutterstock

Ginger tea may cause certain mild digestive side effects. It most often impacts the upper digestive system and causes upper digestive gas. Replacing ginger with supplements could be one solution to this. But make sure you talk to your doctor before using them.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, ginger may cause gas (12).

Some believe the same could happen with ginger ale, the carbonated drink. The drink may aggravate bloating in certain individuals.

7. May Lower Blood Sugar Way Too Much

Checking blood sugar levels
Image: Shutterstock

Ginger is usually known to aid diabetes treatment by lowering blood sugar levels. However, taking it along with diabetes medication may cause problems (13). Ginger may enhance the effects of the medication and cause hypoglycemia a condition that leads to excessive low blood sugar levels.

8. May Cause Mouth Irritation

This is also called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Certain allergies occur when you consume certain foods. The symptoms are generally specific to the ears, skin, and mouth. One such allergy occurs when you consume ginger (not in all individuals, though), where your mouth starts to itch.

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. However, limited research is available in this aspect, and we need further studies to understand why ginger may cause these allergies.

9. May Cause Skin And Eye Irritation

According to an Iranian study, the most common allergic reaction to ginger is a skin rash (14). 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 you need to be aware of.

Side Effects Of Eating Ginger In Other Forms

Ginger Root

Consuming ginger root in excess can cause stomach discomfort and a bad taste in the mouth. It might also cause nausea (6)

Turmeric Ginger Tea

Anecdotal evidence suggests that turmeric ginger tea may cause complications in individuals with a history of kidney stones or gallstones. The tea may aggravate the condition by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood. It may also cause stomach cramping and bloating. However, there is less research in this regard. Hence, consult your doctor.

Lemon Ginger Tea

The only side effect of this tea that was noted was frequent urination. Excess consumption of lemon ginger tea (or any beverage for that matter) may cause frequent urination. Hence, limit the intake of this beverage.

Ginger Water

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 may disturb your sleep. This means that it can keep you up for a long time at night if you consume it before hitting the bed. However, limited information is available to support this point.

Ginger Ale

Research is limited in this area. 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. Most of their side effects are similar to that of raw ginger.

Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, LD, ACSM-CPT, says, For most people, ginger is safe to eat raw when eaten in amounts typically used in food and recipes. Eating more than 5 grams of raw ginger or taking ginger supplements may increase your chances of digestive issues, such as heartburn, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.”

Ginger was found to have anti-diabetic properties. If taken along with anti-diabetes medications, ginger (or its capsules) can lower blood sugar levels way too much (15).

Ginger has been closely related to turmeric (also called yellow ginger) for its therapeutic properties. However, turmeric too may have side effects, if taken in excess amounts. Turmeric may interact with certain medications. These include cardiovascular drugs, antibiotics, anticoagulantsi  Drugs that work to stop the formation of blood clots and reduce the risk of severe illnesses, like heart attacks and strokes. , chemotherapyi  A treatment method to destroy cancer cells in the body, keep them from progressing, and prevent any further tumor growth. drugs, and antihistamines (16). Though research is limited to conclude the medical interactions of yellow ginger, it is important to exercise caution.

Possible Interactions

Stephanie says, Ginger can interact with some medications, particularly blood thinners that slow blood clotting and some blood pressure medications. It may also interfere with diabetes medications that lower blood sugar, medications that suppress the immune system, and certain antibiotics. If you take any of these medications, speak with your doctor before adding ginger or ginger supplements to your diet.”

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). Consuming ginger along with these medications might increase your risk of bruising and bleeding (6). So, if you are wondering when not to take ginger, try avoiding it if you consume any of these medications.

Recommended Dosage

Dosages of around 1500 mg per day were found to treat nausea (14). Going beyond this dosage may cause adverse effects, though information is unclear. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor.

If it is ginger root, the following dosages may be ideal (these are just guidelines; for ideal values, please consult your doctor):

  • For children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, not more than 2 mg of ginger root in a day.
  • For adults, not more than 4 grams of ginger root in a day.
  • For pregnant women, not more than 1 gram of ginger root in a day.
protip_icon Trivia
Ginger was one of the first ingredients to be exported to Europe via the spice trade. It is native to the Maritime Southeast Asia region and was first cultivated by the Austronesian people.

Infographic: Major Side Effects Of Ginger To Watch Out For

Ginger is a popular underground spice that everyone is raving about. Whether in savory dishes, essential oils, herbal teas, or capsules and supplements – you can’t get enough of it. However, it is important to note that overconsumption can lead to adverse conditions.

Check out the infographic below to learn some of the major side effects that you can expect if you consume ginger in excess.

major side effects of ginger to watch out for (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Ginger is an aromatic spice that is also used in traditional medicine to treat nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, menstrual irregularities and to combat kidney damage and liver damage. However, excess ginger can cause adverse effects. The side effects of ginger range from diarrhea and abdominal discomfort to hypotensioni  A condition where there is a sudden drop in blood pressure due to insufficient blood flow to the brain. . It may cause heartburn or bloating in moderate cases and aggravate bleeding problems in severe cases. In addition, ginger may cause eye, mouth, and skin irritation. It can even trigger allergic reactions or interfere with certain medications. Limiting or avoiding its consumption can help avoid these complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ginger increase testosterone?

Stephanie Wells says, “Ginger has been shown in research studies to increase testosterone levels, but almost all of these studies have been in rodents.” She adds, “Rodent studies are used to test scientific hypotheses, but we do not always see the same results in humans that we see in rodents. Since the effects of ginger on testosterone haven’t been tested in humans, we can’t say for sure whether ginger is helpful for raising testosterone levels.”

What are the warnings and precautions for ginger?

Jesse Feder, Clinical Dietitian at the Memorial Regional Hospital, says, “Ginger is generally safe to consume. You may experience heartburn, indigestion, and stomach pain if taken on an empty stomach. Additionally, ginger may interact with certain medications. It is advised to consult with your doctor if you have any medical questions.”

Can ginger cause heart problems?

It is believed that excess ginger intake can lead to irregularities in the heartbeat. However, direct research is lacking in this area. As ginger can interact with certain medications, it is wise to consult your doctor before taking ginger with medications pertaining to heart health (including anti-hypertensive medicationsi  Medications that work to relax the blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart problems. ).

Can ginger increase blood pressure?

No. Eating too much ginger while you are on blood pressure-lowering medication may lead to lowering blood pressure way too much. However, research is limited in this area.

Does ginger make you poop?

Yes, anecdotal evidence suggests that consuming ginger in moderation may help you poop and relieve constipation. It may also help you treat bloating and intestinal gas. However, relevant studies are needed to support these claims.

Key Takeaways

  • Ginger may cause heartburn and digestive distress in some people with excess consumption.
  • Sometimes, excess intake may cause allergic reactions in some people, which may lead to skin inflammation and rashes.
  • Hence, consult with your doctor regarding dosages and exceed the recommended dosage to avoid side effects.
side effects of ginger

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Are you eating ginger daily? Wondering how much is safe? Check out the video below to learn about the side effects of consuming too much ginger.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials, Food Science & Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341159/
  2. Effect of Ginger on Inflammatory Diseases , Molecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9654013/
  3. Dried Ginger Extract Restores the T Helper Type 1/T Helper Type 2 Balance and Antibody Production in Cyclophosphamide-Induced Immunocompromised Mice after Flu Vaccination, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9102251/
  4. Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4871956/
  5. Integrative Treatment of Reflux and Functional Dyspepsia in Children, Children, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928719/
  6. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
  7. Ginger, Handbook of Herbs and Spices, ScienceDirect.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/ginger
  8. Effect of gingerol on colonic motility via inhibition of calcium channel currents in rats, World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690175/
  9. Ginger and Its Constituents: Role in Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer, Gastroenterology Research and Practice, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/
  10. Which potential harms and benefits of using ginger in the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy should be addressed? a consensual study among pregnant women and gynecologists, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385053/
  11. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting, Nutrition Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995184/
  12. Ginger, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
    https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger
  13. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, and Lipid Profiles in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes, International Journal of Endocrinology Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750786/
  14. Subacute thyroiditis following ginger (Zingiber officinale) consumption, International Journal of Ayurveda Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2876930/
  15. Interactions between antidiabetic drugs and herbs: an overview of mechanisms of action and clinical implications, Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5527439/
  16. Pharmacokinetic Interactions of Curcuminoids With Conventional Drugs: A Review, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28734960
  17. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710709/
  18. Dietary supplementation of gingerols- and shogaols-enriched ginger root extract attenuate pain-associated behaviors while modulating gut microbiota and metabolites in rats with spinal nerve ligation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34748918/
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
Merlin Annie Raj

Merlin Annie RajRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist

Merlin Annie Raj is a Registered Dietitian based out of Hyderabad, India. She has 14 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition as well as teaching Nutrition and Dietetics to undergraduate and postgraduate students. She was awarded the ‘President’s Award’ at the 47th Annual National Conference of the Indian Dietetic Association, 2014.

Read full bio of Merlin Annie Raj