Ginger and Pregnancy, Surgery, and Other Health Benefits

Ginger and Pregnancy: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) grows in many countries and especially in India, China, and Mexico.

Many African countries also grow ginger. African and Indian ginger are the most potent.

The underground stem is the part that is used. The active constituent of fresh ginger is gingerol. Gingerol is related to capsaicin.

Drying ginger converts the gingerol molecules into the much more pungent shogaols. Cooking ginger changes gingerol into zingerone. Zingerone is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.

Ginger is widely used in China as a treatment for nausea. It is very effective for relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Using ginger to suppress morning sickness does not raise the risk of birth defects. It is also without side effects to the unborn child.

Ginger works better than a placebo and Vitamin B6, which has been shown to improve nausea and vomiting in a few pregnant women.

Ginger, Nausea and Surgery

Besides the benefits of ginger and pregnancy, it is quite effective in treating nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms that often badly affect patients after undergoing surgery.

Compared with placebo, ginger can cut the risk of nausea and vomiting in the 24 hours after surgery by more than 30% percent. The only apparent side effect of ginger after surgery is mild abdominal discomfort.

Other Health Benefits of Ginger

  • Ginger and digestive stimulation: Ginger is a remedy for appetite loss and indigestion. Ginger has also been used in connection with minor gastrointestinal problems such as gas or heartburn. Ginger is used to aid digestion and treat stomach upset as well as colic and diarrhoea.

  • Ginger is used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of inflammation and rheumatism.

  • Ginger also eases sore throats, headaches, ulcerative colitis, painful menstrual periods and arthritis pain. It also eases fevers and aches caused by colds and flu.

  • Cardiovascular health: ginger extract has been shown to reduce cholesterol, inhibit LDL oxidation and reduce the development of atherosclerosis.

  • Cancer prevention: Ginger has selective anticancer activity. Orally administered ginger significantly reduces the occurrence of mammary tumours.

  • Arthritis treatment: High doses of ginger have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

  • Anxiety reduction: Ginger reduces anxiety through an unknown mechanism.

    Side Effects

    Ginger and pregnancy: Ginger has not been shown to have any adverse effects on either the foetus or the mother.

    In other uses unrelated to pregnancy, ginger has not been linked to any significant adverse effects. In a small number of cases, gastrointestinal upset has been reported.

    When buying ginger, always go for the fresh. It is best for robustness of flavour. However, ground ginger makes for a smoother curry paste.

    Dried ginger is commonly added to tea and served as a beverage.

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