Not long ago a friend from church shared some ginger root with us. While I’ve heard that ginger has a lot of health benefits, I’ve never actually researched the spice. So, I was pleased to find information about ginger in the April 2008 issue of “Today’s Dietitian” magazine. Here are some tips/uses I picked up:

– Anti-Inflammatory Agent – Ginger has been shown to work much like NSAIDS (i.e. ibuprophen (Advil), naproxen sodium (Aleve)) but has fewer side effects. In a study done with osteoarthritis and colitis patients, subjects who received ginger reported less pain and used less pain medicines than those who did not take ginger. Fresh ginger juice has also been used to treat burns and pain.

– Antinausea – Ginger has been used to effectively treat pregnancy-associated and post-operative nausea and vomiting. One study even found ginger to be better for treating nausea than Dramamine!

– Other Uses – Ginger has been found to be an antioxidant (helps your skin, heart, and organs stay healthy), antimicrobial and antifungal treatment, and some studies suggest that ginger may combat hypertension (high blood pressure). Other uses include treatment of migraine headaches, upper respiratory tract infections, and even toothaches.

– Possible Side Effects – Rarely patients see mild stomach upset while taking ginger (more with high doses). Ask your doctor before taking ginger if you take an anticoagulant (such as Coumadin or Warfarin). While it appears to be safe to take ginger while pregnant, there is not enough evidence to prove that it’s safe during lactation or for children less than 2 years old (this is for a supplement – anyone should be able to eat ginger as a seasoning).

– Dosage – The maximum recommended ginger dosage is 4 grams per day. Most studies use between 250 mg – 1 gram of the outer root 1-4 times per day. For nausea/vomiting, take 250 mg 4x per day, and 2-4 grams of fresh ginger juice or extract is the recommendation for pain relieving purposes.

Information from: Today’s Dietitian