Ginger Side Effects, Correct Dosage & Is It Safe During Pregnancy?
Ginger tea and the fresh root are ‘generally recognized as safe’, according to the FDA in the United States.
This herb is also a common recipe ingredient and natural remedy that has been used safely in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
You can have too much of it though, particularly with the fresh ginger rhizome.
There are also a few precautions and side effects of ginger root, and tea made from it, to be aware of if you use it regularly or in high doses.
6 Potential Side Effects of Ginger Tea
- While ginger can be an effective remedy for nausea during pregnancy and morning sickness, some medical authorities recommend not exceeding 1 gram of the fresh herb for women who are pregnant daily. It’s best to discuss using it with your doctor if you are an expecting mother.
- High intakes of fresh ginger root may irritate the stomach, mouth or esophagus and worsen rather than help treat an upset stomach and acid reflux. Eating raw ginger, rather than drinking the tea, is likely to provide much more of a risk of internal irritation.
- People being treated for gallstones, blood clotting and bleeding disorders, ulcers, metabolic and heart conditions should talk to their physician before using ginger regularly. Avoid drinking ginger tea at the same time as taking medicines.
- While generally seen as one of the best natural treatments for gas and bloating, some people find too much raw ginger makes these digestive problems worse, causing more stomach discomfort and even diarrhea. The tea is less likely to have this side effect.
- Although extremely rare, if you experience throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, heart palpitations or the quick onset of a skin rash after drinking the tea you may have an allergy to ginger and should avoid it.
- Ginger essential oil is a highly concentrated product with limited and very specific applications. Applying it undiluted to skin is likely to cause irritation and taking it internally can be toxic.
- Common dosage recommendations for ginger are 1 to 4 grams of the fresh rhizome, sliced, grated or crushed. Alternatively, up to 1 gram of the concentrated powdered root daily.
- A limit of 1 gram of fresh ginger and 250 mg of powder concentrate for children and pregnant women has also been suggested.
- 1 to 3 cups of ginger root tea is generally seen as a good amount to drink to get the full benefits of this potent herb with less chance of side effects. There are detailed instructions on how to make ginger tea here.
Is Ginger Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?
Ginger tea is a popular herbal remedy for morning sickness but there is some controversy as to whether it is safe for expecting mothers and their unborn babies.
Most medical texts I found recommended a lower intake of ginger for pregnant women as a precaution. 1 gram of fresh ginger root was suggested per day, to be used when most needed for nausea during pregnancy.
This review of collective research on Pubmed found that “1 gram of fresh ginger root per day for 4 days… Showed a significant decrease in nausea and vomiting and no risk for mother and future baby”.
Generally, the tea would be seen as a milder way of consuming ginger for morning sickness than eating the raw root. Given this, the occasional extra cup when nausea symptoms are at their worst shouldn’t be a problem.
All the same, it’s best to discuss using ginger with your obstetrician if you are pregnant and practice drinking this herbal tea in moderation.
Once you’ve had your baby, ginger tea is generally seen as safe to drink for mothers during breastfeeding, keeping in mind the side effects listed earlier.
It is even commonly recommended in herbal medicine as a galactagogue — a herb that helps to stimulate the production of breast milk. Once again, seek medical advice if you have any concerns.
The Many Beneficial Effects of Drinking Ginger Root Tea
It’s well known that ginger is an effective treatment for bloating, flatulence and other digestive problems.
What’s less widely understood is that its medicinal properties make it a quick acting herbal remedy for heartburn and nausea.
Ginger root even has 5 specific actions that make it highly beneficial for losing weight when used regularly in teas and added to food.
There’s step by step instructions for making ginger tea at home here, both with the fresh rhizome and with high strength organic tea bags, like these ones I use.
The precautions and potential side effects of ginger listed in this article should be kept in mind, particularly for pregnant women and those on prescription medicine.
For everyone else though, using this powerful herb regularly can have many benefits for better health.