Ginger is a sub-tropical plant that grows bulbous rhizomes as part of its root system. These ginger root bulbs are harvested and commonly used as a spice, or in traditional medicines. Many cultures use various preparations of ginger to help fight the flu, the common cold, coughing fits, sore throats, or headaches. In the United States, ginger is often recommended to calm an upset stomach, especially due to morning sickness. But is ginger an effective cure against morning sickness and nausea?
Better for You – Ginger is a heathy food with lots of health benefits beyond anti-nausea
Saves Money – Fresh ginger is very inexpensive to buy: usually sold by weight. You can get a large chunk of it for less than a dollar.
Proven to work against several ailments, including morning sickness, motion sickness, arthritis, and some cancers.
The flavor can be very strong, even spicy hot
When I was a child we never had soda pop in the house. The only time we were allowed to drink it was when we were sick and throwing up. Then my dad would make a special trip to the store to pick up some Vernors (real ginger ale – any Midwesterners know what I’m talking about?). As I kid I developed an aversion to ginger ale because it always reminded me of being sick. As an adult, I’ve realized that my dad was trying to get ginger into our tummies to help with the nausea.
This summer with my third pregnancy, nausea and vomiting became a regular part of my life again. My first trimester was a rough one. With past pregnancies I had morning sickness in the morning or in the evening, but with this one I was sick all. day. long. As I started losing weight (a first for me with any pregnancy) I knew I would have to try something different in order to get some food to stay in.
One of the natural remedies I turned to was ginger. The first thing I tried was candied ginger, which I picked up at the same time as the dried papaya I was trying out as well. I tried sucking on the candied ginger when my tummy was upset, but found it way too spicy to keep in my mouth for a long time. Chewing it up and swallowing fast still left enough flavor in my mouth to bother me for a long time, and I didn’t feel like my tummy was any better. I imagine, however, that if you can stand, or even enjoy the spiciness of fresh ginger, then this preparation might work well for you.
I tried making some ginger tea out of water and a small amount of ginger powder. It helped with the nausea but I much preferred the anti-nausea peppermint tea over ginger tea in the morning, and stuck with that. I have a friend who told me she found that slicing some raw ginger thin and steeping in hot water to make an infusion was really effective for her.
In the end I turned back to good old ginger ale to settle my tummy. I’ve never seen any Vernors in California, and I’m not sure how much ginger it actually has in it any more, so I found a natural brand instead. I ensured that the ingredients were pretty much water, ginger and sugar (not HFCS). The ginger ale worked really well to soothe my tummy, and I drank it when I was in the mood for a cold, fizzy drink instead of hot tea.
You can find all natural ginger ale at many natural foods stores. One watch-out though – most of the real stuff comes in dark amber glass, looking a lot like bottles of beer. You may want to pour it into a different cup to avoid those curious glances at work! Or if you’re feeling really up to it (during your first trimester – yeah, right!!) you could make your own ginger ale. Here’s a recipe from one of my favorite chefs.
Overall, ginger wasn’t my favorite upset tummy soother, but it came in a close second. It was nice to have a cold beverage that could help me feel better on a hot summer day. And if I liked the taste of ginger better, I’m sure the candies would have been more effective. If ginger hasn’t worked for you, check out my other reviews of peppermint and papaya – maybe one of those will do the trick instead!
Have you ever used ginger for an upset tummy or morning sickness? What’s your favorite preparation?
PS – You know I’m not a doctor, right? This information is based on my experience only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Your experience may vary, even from one pregnancy to the next. Please remember to speak with your healthcare professional about any medical concerns you have, and follow their recommended course of treatment. You can read additional fine print details here.