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About 80 to 90% of women suffer nausea at some point during their pregnancy. Although it's called "morning sickness" it can strike at any time. While it usually persists only during the early weeks, up to 30% of women can suffer with nausea beyond 20 weeks or even up to delivery.
It can be a serious problem for both mother and baby. Health conscious women do not want to take the risk of pharmaceutical drugs. They can cross the placenta barrier and have harmful effects on the child. But extended bouts of nausea can leave an expectant mother malnourished. That can lead to low birth weight or a preterm birth.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to alleviate stomach upset, indigestion, and motion sickness. Hundreds of studies confirm its effectiveness.
Researchers from South Africa just completed a systematic review of recent ginger studies to assess how effective and safe ginger is in treating nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
They examined 12 randomized controlled trials published from 1991 to 2011. In all, 1,278 pregnant women were included in the studies. They all compared ginger (fresh root, dried root, powder, tablets, capsules, liquid extract, or tea) with another active ingredient or placebo.
After reviewing all of the studies the researchers concluded that ginger significantly improved the symptoms of nausea in pregnancy compared to placebo.
And interestingly, they suggested that a lower dose (less than 1,500 mg per day) was more effective than a higher dose.
They also found that ginger was harmless and did not pose a risk for side-effects or adverse events to either the mother or baby.
Several studies also found that ginger reduced the number of vomiting episodes but the researchers could not conclude that it did a better job than a placebo or vitamin B6.
The researchers suggested that ginger works by increasing gastric contractility and speeding up gastric emptying. That increases the gastro-intestinal transit time of food which can decrease the feeling of nausea.
In addition to nausea, ginger has been found to:
- improve multiple diabetes-related health problems
- inhibit drug resistant bacteria
- relieve muscle pain
- treat osteoarthritis
Fresh ginger root is pungent and spicy. You can find it all year round at your local market. Add it to stir fried vegetables, rice, soups, and salad dressings. You can also add a knob of ginger to a green smoothie.
Drinking ginger tea is an easy way to get the spice's stomach quieting benefits. Make your own tea from the fresh root or look for tea bags online or at your local health food store.
For additional research on the health benefits of ginger visit GreenMedInfo's research database on the topic: Ginger Health Benefits.