Health Benefits of Ginger: How Much Do You Have to Take?

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

 

 

Herbal Medicine: How much ginger does it take to gain the health benefits? | #superfood


How much ginger is a medicinal dose? How much is safe?
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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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  • Comments

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        Andria, does he take any blood thinners or meds for blood pressure or diabetes? A small amount of ginger (say in a single cookie) probably wouldn’t trigger a noticeable reaction but if he’s eating pickled ginger, that might be enough. Have him speak to his doctor or pharmacist, They can help him sort it out. He may need to lower the dose of his meds if he wants to eat a lot of ginger. Or they may say the meds are too important, and he should just avoid eating too much ginger at one time.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I love it too, Brenda! Ginger is always in my spice cabinet and usually, a fresh root is in my fridge too. My mother often tucks a bag of candied ginger into a present because she knows I love it. I’m also crazy for ginger beer!

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I like my ginger beverages cold. Homemade ginger beer is great this time of year, but I discovered President’s Choice also has a nice carbonated version. It’s spicy, but not as much as the traditional Jamaican ones I’ve had in the past.

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony

      One of the issues here with discussing anything natural with a doctor is-unless we are visiting a naturopath, (these are few and far between here) you will be told you are nuts. We do what our grandparents did-none of the doctors here would agree with any of it.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        Actually, there are conventionally trained doctors who are open to the idea of using foods and herbal remedies to support our health. When I was pregnant, my OB/GYN was quite familiar with the use of ginger for morning sickness. He didn’t really know about the safe limits, but if I had been concerned enough to have him look it up, he would have.

        Pharmacists can also be great allies. Many pharmacies sell herbal supplements and homeopathic products. The pharmacist who sells you ginger capsules for your arthritis pain is more likely to know if there are any contraindications or drug interactions, than your doctor is. That’s why the best doctors always have their favourite pharmacist on speed dial!

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        Ginger has a strong taste that not everyone likes. The gingerol and other components in the ginger essential oil make it quite pungent and give it a bit of a bite that some people dislike. There are other related herbs, like galangal, whose properties and use are very close to those of ginger. For people who dislike ginger but want to reap the health benefits of eating ginger in quantity, these other foods may be a potential alternative.

    2. Profile photo of Priscilla King
      Priscilla King

      I like ginger. It contains phytoestrogens, though–used to speed up my hormone cycle when I was younger, and might work for HRT purposes now. Pregnant women beware.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I don’t know much about the phytoestrogen side of it, but apparently some recent research shows that ginger is androgenic!

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        That was a new one for me too, Vinaya. I was familiar with the issues around blood thinners and pregnancy but learned a lot more about ginger’s impact on our health when I researched this article 🙂

    3. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
      Rex Trulove

      I’ve used ginger for a long time and I’ve even had a try at growing it. Actually, it makes a pretty house plant, to me anyway, though my cats wouldn’t let it grow. They kept biting off the leaves. I like using it for upset stomach when there is no mint available and for use when someone in the family is coming down with a cold, usually with the ginger mixed with honey.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        @barbrad That sounds like a small enough amount of ginger – unless you’re consuming your ginger tea by the bucket or eating a whole bag of ginger snaps in one go! But it’s good that you’re aware of the potential drug interaction. If you ever notice that you feel ill after consuming ginger, you should make a note of it. You might want to mention it to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if it happens more than once.

        I don’t think I’ve ever tried a ginger/pear tea but it sounds like a lovely blend. I have a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe that also has ginger and pear in it, and I’m very fond of the combination. I’ll have to see if I can find a good ginger/pear tea to sample. Have you got a favourite brand to recommend?

      2. Profile photo of Barbara Radisavljevic
        Barbara Radisavljevic

        I use Trader Joe’s. I don’t know of anyone else that has it. Do you have one there? I usually combine it with pomegranate white tea. i love mixing my teas up when I make a pot.

      3. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        @barbrad No, I don’t think we have Trader Joe’s here. Though by the sounds of it, I think I’d enjoy shopping there! Perhaps if we go into Idaho, we can find one not too far from the border.

        I love the white teas. When they first came out, I got a Lipton white tea with apricot in it. It was just slightly citrus to the taste, and very smooth. I love to drink it when I get a cold, and the black tea I normally drink feels too harsh and dehydrating…

      4. Profile photo of Barbara Radisavljevic
        Barbara Radisavljevic

        The White Tea with Apricot sounds good. I’ll have to see if I can find some. White tea has the most antioxidants and the least caffeine. I now pretty much drink only white, green, and herbal teas if I have a choice.

      5. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        It’s one of those fancy teas with the triangular tea bag made out of some sort of nylon mesh. I haven’t seen it around here, though they do have other flavours from the same line by Lipton. I think the last one I got was with some sort of citrus.

        I like the white tea a lot too but haven’t seen many teas that are made mostly with white. It’s usually added to a green tea that overpowers it. And I really don’t care for green tea.

    4. Profile photo of Linda Jenkinson
      Linda Jenkinson

      I love the taste and smell of ginger and use it in any Asian dish I may be making. It also does the trick for me for nausea and it helped several times when I was travelling on a boat or ship. I was not aware of it’s cautionary side effects though. It also really works for me to aid digestion.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I carried a big bag of candied ginger everywhere with me when I was pregnant. I suffered from severe morning sickness and found that the ginger did almost as much good as the anti-emetic drugs the doctor prescribed. It was also a lot more pleasant to take! I didn’t know about the potential health risks at the time, either. I think I learned about them during my second or third pregnancy, so I cut back on eating ginger a little and I stopped taking the ginger supplements unless I was really feeling sick.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I have to admit that even if there were no health benefits to eating ginger, I’d still eat it every chance I get! I simply love the taste. It’s one of my favourite spices 🙂

      2. Profile photo of Sandy KS
        Sandy KS

        I love the taste of it to. I noticed it is good to use with any cranberry recipe.

        have started using ginger in place of cinnamon. Since cinnamon messes with my GERD.

      3. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        That’s interesting…. I thought cinnamon was a sialogogue (stimulates saliva secretion) which I think should help GERD. Shouldn’t it? I’m going to have to look that up….

        Glad the ginger works for you, though 🙂

      4. Profile photo of Sandy KS
        Sandy KS

        I can honestly say cinnamon does mess with my GERD. Mine is bad and if I eat cinnamon it is immediate. I have learned to cut it out of my diet completely because of it.

      5. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I wonder what makes your body react to it? That’s the thing about herbal remedies: they’re very complex! Cinnamon has a list of about 20-25 medicinal properties on one website I looked at. Could be one of them counteracts the sialagogue.

        It’s good you identified what foods trigger the GERD. That’s half the battle!

      6. Profile photo of Sandy KS
        Sandy KS

        I have no idea why cinnamon triggers my GERD. There are many foods I should avoid, some I simply can’t. As my families are all different. Where roughage does good for my body. It plays havoc on my boyfriend.

      7. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I know a woman who has about 5-6 kids and several have health issues that involve a special diet. One of her kids is so highly allergic that the list of foods the ARE safe is really short. I think it’s like 3 dozen ingredients, altogether. I don’t know how she does it!

        I really admire that you manage to do so much with your food budget. I always enjoy reading your food and recipe posts 🙂

      8. Profile photo of Sandy KS
        Sandy KS

        I haven’t been cooking much. As I still haven’t replaced the heating element in my stove. I am looking for a used replacement. Since it will be cheaper in the long run.

        Plus, with the spring cleaning most stuff is still packed up. With less things in the house, I don’t want most back in. So, I am slowly going through things, giving some away, putting others up for sale, while some will be throw out on big trash day.

        I have been eating out way to much this summer. Which has helped everyone choose what they want to eat.

        I am wanting to start making our food again. I miss and it is much easier to control what everyone eats. Yesterday was a good start with a cook out.

    5. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony

      @ruby3881 In response to your reply on my comment-In the USA it is not common for anyone in the medical field to offer ideas about alternative methods of healing. As someone familiar with using plants as medicine, recently it was learned by me that nurses are now being investigated if they share their knowledge about vitamins. Although some universities here have done the research on IV Vit C therapy (and so much more) and some medical centers have this on their list of offerings for cancer patients, it (and most things considered alternative) is frowned upon by many doctors. There is no money to be made by telling a patient to eat an apple a day and a huge pile of greens it seems.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        We experienced very similar issues in Quebec, though it was more around the licensing of alternative health care providers. Services such as midwifery, chiropractics, and naturopathy were illegal at certain times, despite the strong interest in herbal remedies and the fact that many pharmacies devoted significant real estate to vitamins, herbal supplements, and even homeopathic remedies that were kept behind the pharmacist’s counter.

        Protectionism does tend to have a negative impact on our health care choices. But most of the doctors I’ve dealt with were at least respectful of questions about herbal remedies such as taking ginger for morning sickness. They don’t often feel qualified to give specific advice about dosage or the selection of herbs, but they have been helpful when I needed to ask about contraindications and precautions to take.

        Pharmacists tend to be more open to discussing herbs and vitamins, on the whole. And they are always the better resource for any questions about medication. Doctors simply don’t have the specialization in drugs that pharmacists do. The best doctors I’ve dealt with deferred to their personal pharmacists when there was a question they couldn’t answer. One even had his pharmacist on speed dial, and called him to consult while I was in the office!

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        There are lots of other healthy foods and spices, Donna. If ginger isn’t your cup of tea, try some others 🙂

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        THat’s the best thing! The world is full of so many fabulous foods and medicinal plants that we can all find at least some we really love 🙂

    6. Profile photo of Jo Pin
      Jo Pin

      Before the discoveries of many chemical medicines our old folks relied mostly on medicinal plants and today we are back to basic. Inexpensive remedies that can be found within our backyards and kitchen.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        You raise an excellent point when you mention the expense! Home remedies and superfoods like ginger are generally a lot less expensive than pharmaceuticals.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        It’s possible, Cris. The ginger has some antiviral properties that might help to stop the spread. And it helps to boost the immune system.

    7. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
      Rex Trulove

      I wouldn’t be able to consume much ginger on a daily basis, but I do often add it to some foods. It is quite cost prohibitive here, though, and I didn’t grow any this year. Still, one of my zucchini dessert recipes tastes best with a bit of fresh ginger in it. It seems to go well with cinnamon. 🙂

      This is one plant that I haven’t used very much in herbalism and I really should.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        Ginger is one of the plants that I look forward to growing, as it is rather expensive and I love to eat it. Medicinally, I think if I ate it as often as I would like to, I probably wouldn’t need to add any remedies 🙂

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