Being a natural remedy, ginger usually has no adverse side effects. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives ginger a status of ‘generally recognized as safe’, meaning it has been checked and tested by experts and has been confirmed acceptable to be added to food or to be consumed as is. However, there are a few things to consider when you are planning to integrate ginger into your daily life.
Finally, remember that as always, you should talk to your doctor before starting to add any form of ginger to your everyday diet.
Allergies are an abnormal reaction of the immune system to substances that are usually harmless to human body. Typical foods that cause allergies are heavy protein foods like milk, eggs, seafood and peanuts. Allergies to herbs and spices are rather uncommon; however, if after consuming ginger you notice a rash, itching or redness on your skin, or have other allergic symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, inflammation, swelling, etc. then seek medical attention to help identify the cause and establish whether you have an allergy or it is your body’s reaction to another factor. There are various tests that can be done to check for potential allergic reactions to different substances, so if you are prone to allergies and you have never taken ginger before you can do a ginger allergy test before starting to include this herb in your daily consumption.
Ginger is a very mild natural anti-coagulant (blood thinner) – a beneficial property that helps prevent blood clotting in your blood vessels. But if you are taking any anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications, such as aspirin, naproxen, warfarin, etc. ginger might interfere or adversely interact with them, therefore always seek professional advice regarding taking ginger or any other supplements.
Very rarely ginger, much like chilli, black pepper, garlic or any other ‘hot’ and spicy food can cause gastric juices to flow up into the esophagus from the stomach, leading to a burning sensation in the throat that we know as heartburn. Try reducing the amount of ginger you consume or try taking it in a different form, or mixed with other foods. If the condition persists, you might have to stop taking ginger for a while.
Sometime taking concentrated forms of ginger, like dried ginger powder or undiluted ginger juice, on an empty stomach can cause a feeling of minor discomfort in the upper abdomen. Ginger stimulates bile production, which is one of its properties that aid food digestion, but when there is no food in the stomach such increased gastric stimulation might lead to discomfort and upset stomach. In this case simply try taking your ginger with some food.
As with any foods and substances, avoid excessive consumption of ginger – any side effects are only likely to occur if too much of ginger is taken. Start adding it to your food little by little – you can always gradually increase the amount over time.
When taking ginger as a supplement, in the form of capsules or tablets, you should always follow the instructions on the packaging. As always, regardless if you are taking any medications or not, make sure you first check with your doctor before starting to add any form of ginger to your everyday diet. And, of course, if you start experiencing an adverse reaction to ginger consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.