This herb has been used as a medicine and for cooking for over 5000 years, mainly in Asian countries. Due to ginger’s medicinal properties it’s one the most widely used herbs in the world today. Ginger is perceived as the purest spice of all in Ayurvedic culture and tradition.
But any strong and potent medicine has its drawbacks too. For ginger, if you take a larger amount of it, it can cause bloating, nausea, stomach problems, heartburn or gas due to its anticoagulant nature, as well as reinforce the effects of warfarin therapy and increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, herbalists caution not to consume more than 4 grams in a day.
Who should better not consume ginger?
People with bleeding disorder/hemophilia: since ginger stimulates blood circulation and prevents blood clotting by increasing the blood flow it could increase the risk of bleeding, especially with a combination of medications which slow blood clotting.
People with gallstones: ginger stimulates production of bile, so people who suffer from gallstones should never consume it.
People with Inflammation issues/ulcers: People who have ulcers, blocked intestines or some inflammation could react badly to bigger amounts of fresh ginger, since it may lead to intestinal obstruction.
Pregnant women: Again, due to ginger’s blood circulation enhancement it’s not recommended for pregnant women because it may trigger uterine contractions, as well as interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and dietary iron. Not to mention that it’s not advisable to use it in the final weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional or a nutritionist before taking it as a dietary supplement.
Diabetes/high BP: Drinking ginger tea on a regular basis lowers blood pressure and sugar so mixing it with various medicaments for high blood pressure or diabetes, not to mention those that stimulate blood-thinning such as aspirin and warfin, could lead to adverse results.
Pre-surgery: An article published in “Der Anaesthesist” in 2007 stated that, by consuming ginger prior surgery you risk having increased bleeding. If you need to have any kind of surgery, better avoid consuming ginger two weeks before that.
Possible herb interactions: Ginger’s influence is increased if mixed with other herbs that slow blood clotting and stimulate blood flow, which include garlic, ginkgo, clove, turmeric, angelica, ginseng and biloba. This combination could increase the risk of bleeding.
Most of these side effects could be avoided by taking ginger supplements in pill form, like enteric-coated capsules which slows the herb’s digestion in the body until it enters the digestive tract. Nevertheless, ginger has almost no negative side effects when consumed in small amounts and could be found on FDA’a list as “generally recognized as safe”. However, be careful where you purchase your supplements from, since in certain occasions some health/herbal supplements were contaminated by toxic metals or replaced with other medicaments. Hence, health/herbal supplements should be bought from a reliable supplier to minimize that risk.
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