terriko: (Default)
terriko ([personal profile] terriko) wrote2017-02-26 06:34 am
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Does ginger really help with nausea?

Thanks to headaches, travel and life, I've experienced a lot of nausea, and the remedy that I hear most often is ginger. Now, I like a good ginger tea, eat pickled ginger with my rice sometimes, and use ginger in things from stir fries to cookies, but I've never particularly noticed it making a big difference in my nausea when compared with, honestly, consuming just about anything else. (Cheese, almonds, jello, crackers, apple juice, whatever. Eating a small amount of nearly anything will take the edge off my nausea.) So today I decided to do a bit of research: is this something about my metabolism, or is ginger one of those herbal remedies that isn't really that effective?

First stop, a book chapter entitled "The Amazing and Mighty Ginger" from Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. It tells me that there's studies that say ginger works, but also studies that say it doesn't:


Although the antiemetic effects of ginger are the most well-studied effects of this condiment and have been reviewed extensively, the effectiveness and safety of ginger for treating nausea and vomiting have been questioned in the past because the findings reported were often contradictory


Another website lists a bunch of studies (the website I don't know about, but the studies are hosted on the US National Institute of Health so they're probably legit enough). Most of these sound reasonable to me, although some seem a bit biased in study design.

So... yes, there's evidence that ginger helps with nausea. But the hint of studies that say it doesn't are very interesting, because it's *much* harder to get a negative study than a positive one published (at least in my experience). We could be deluding ourselves and letting confirmation bias win if we trust the positive studies but not the negative ones. I didn't do deep research, but I'd say it's likely that ginger helps, but not necessarily as clear-cut as people might have you believe.

As for me, well, I still like ginger, so I'll try it when it suits me, but not worry too much about stocking up before the weather change triggers more headaches.