June 30, 2003
Ginger for Nausea and Indigestion
Patricia Anderson, Alexandra Andrews, Jill Cohen, CancerSupportiveCare.com, Bernadette Festa, RD, MS and Norma Snyder
In most soft drinks labled Ginger Ale there is no ginger Here are some useful recipes for making a ginger drink for nausea and indigestion
Ginger (Zingiber Oficinale) - May be useful for nausea and indigestion and may work by promoting secretion of saliva and digestive juices, neutralizing stomach acid and toxins, increasing tone and movement in intestines. There are capsules available or try 2 cups of tea using l teaspoon (tsp) fresh ginger or 1 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger. Excessive amounts may cause heartburn. Do not use for postoperative nausea as it may prolong bleeding or with combinations of other blood thinners.
It has also been used along with chemotherapy at 1000-2000 mg a day of ground ginger and was better than a placebo. It has also been used for osteoarthritis. 1500 mg of ground ginger is about 1 teaspoon's worth divided into several doses over the course of the day. It is believed to be safe for pregnant women. Doses greater than 6,000 mg a day can cause GI ulcers.
Spices, Phytonutrients and Medical Treatment
Ginger is available at your grocery store - fresh, powdered, and concentrate. Take 1 cup (8oz) hot not boiling water. Add 2 teaspoons (tsp) of fresh ginger (or equivalent amounts of dried or extract ) plus 2 teaspoons of honey (or maple syrup, brown sugar). Let steep for 3 minutes and then add sparkling water to taste. Sip all day.
Another option for your sore mucosa is to add 2 teaspoons (tsp) marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) to the initial cup containing the ginger and honey. The resulting mucilage will help soothe irritated or inflamed mucus membranes of your throat, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. Warning marshmallow may slow drug absorption and may interact with insulin. Stagger administration of drugs and the use of marshmallow.
You can add higher amounts of ginger, sweetener and marshmallow to taste, but best to start small. Be gentle on your system. Less is more.
Patricia's Ginger Beer Concentrate
3 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
Bring to boil. Add:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Boil again, reduce to simmer 15 min. Bottle. Makes two cups.
Patricia F Anderson
For even general upset tummies, we buy Reed's Extra Ginger Beer (all natural Jamaican style ginger beer) at Trader Joe's grocery store, a national chain with branches in many cities. Or try Yogi Tea brand Ginger Tea.
I have also made my own ginger tea:
Peel and slice fresh ginger into a saucepan
Cover with water
Simmer gently (covered) for an hour
Cool, sweeten to taste and enjoy.
My father, who ran the family seltzer delivery business in the Bronx, swears that coca cola syrup, available at pharmacies, could cure stomachache.
Ginger is useful to treat nausea during chemotherapy, generally 0.5 - 2.0 gms. daily in capsules/powder. Make your own tea using sliced ginger root steeped in a few cups of hot water; crystallized ginger candy is also used by patients as a portable ginger source. Remember to always store ginger in a cool place and protect from light. Cautions: avoid ginger use if your platelet count is low.
Bernadette Festa, RD, MS
Ginger tea is available in stores like Whole Foods, or any health food or oriental grocery store. Just check the label to see that it contains ginger root. It makes a nice pungent beverage that you can drink hot or cold, sweetened or not.