Ginger used to be a spice used in apple pies and cookies, but these days the lowly ginger root has been elevated to the status of superfood. Claims regarding the health benefits of ginger cover everything from the relief of nausea to fighting cancer. But how much ginger do you have to consume in order to benefit from its medicinal properties?
How Much Ginger Do I Need for the Health Benefits?
Recipes for ginger tea and other health drinks like golden milk usually contain about a teaspoon of powdered ginger, which is just under 2 grams of ginger root. That’s roughly 4 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger if you prefer to use the fresh herb.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that adults take about 1 gram of ginger daily, in divided doses, for digestive complaints or arthritis pain. But some studies that looked at the health benefits of ginger have given participants up to 2 grams per day without serious side effects, and the medical center gives 4 grams a day as the safe upper limit.
How Much Ginger is Safe?
If you are going to brew up a hot cup of ginger tea for a tummy ache, take ginger to relieve morning sickness or nausea related to cancer treatments, or make healthful ginger smoothies and golden milk to boost your immune system or aid in the control of diabetes or blood pressure, please remember to take the necessary precautions.
Ginger should not be used medicinally in children under age 2. Doses for older children and pregnant or nursing women should be discussed with a doctor. You should also consult your doctor before taking ginger for its health benefits if you have any chronic health conditions or regularly take any medicines.
When you are calculating how much ginger you’re getting in a day, remember to include all sources of ginger: ginger pills, tinctures or extracts; ground ginger or fresh ginger root used in health drinks like smoothies, golden milk, or ginger tea; gingerbread, ginger snaps, and other baked goods that contain ginger; pickled or candied ginger, or other ginger confections; ginger used to season food; ginger in homemade or commercial ginger ales and ginger beers. (Check the ingredients on the label if you aren’t sure the product contains real ginger.)
Drug Interactions and Other Safety Precautions When Taking Ginger
You should be particularly careful with large doses of ginger if you have a history of gallstones. Also take care if you take medicine that lowers your blood sugar or thins your blood, medication for high blood pressure, or any pain reliever that falls into the NSAID category (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) Always tell your doctor about all your health concerns, and about all the medications and vitamin or herbal supplements you take – in whatever form.
Herbal medicines can react with your prescription or over-the-counter medications, so it’s best to tell the doctor about everything. And it doesn’t hurt to also check with a pharmacist who knows about natural remedies, or a trained herbalist, too!
If you notice any unwanted side effects while taking ginger for its health benefits, you should stop taking it until you can check with a trained professional. Some people are more sensitive to potent herbs like ginger. So you may need to lower the amount you take or avoid using ginger medicinally.
For more information on the health benefits of ginger, you can consult one of the following resources:
Joe Leech, “11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger” (Authority Nutrition) – authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/
Jo Lewin, “The health benefits of… ginger” (BBC Good Food) – www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-ginger
“Ginger” (World’s Healthiest Foods) – www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72
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Disclaimer: The author is a writer with an interest in the healing properties of foods and herbs. I am not a doctor or trained herbalist, and nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice. Always consult a competent professional before making changes to your diet or using any medication, even herbal medicines.
Original content © 2016 Kyla Matton Osborne
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