The Wonders of Ginger
The rich benefits to be gained from ginger can be felt all over our bodies, from healing an upset stomach to killing cancer cells. It has been known to be a potent weapon in man’s never-ending battle with health for thousands of years, and more recently this knowledge has been transmitted to the grateful West. Nowadays, ginger is the root on everybody’s lips.
These great benefits and more can be gained from either consuming ground ginger as a food or by taking it as a supplement. However, ginger is not always a good idea for everyone. For the following people, ginger should either be avoided or limited.
When to shun or reduce ginger usage
WebMD states that certain medications can react badly with ginger. This relates particularly to those taking medications prescribed for diabetes, clotting disorders and hypertension.
1. Those who are taking prescribed clotting medication
Ginger is known to cause thinning of the blood. Therefore, anyone who is being treated for either clotting or bleeding disorders must consult with their doctor if they wish to use ginger. In such cases, ginger may exacerbate the effects of your medicine or weaken them, undermining the dosage your doctor has determined to be optimum for your recovery.
2. Those taking diabetes medication
Ginger is very suitable for those with a high level of blood sugar (including diabetics who manage the disease without medication), due to its natural propensity to lower one’s blood sugar levels. However, for those who are taking medication for diabetes – for example, Metformin or insulin injections – this could undermine the effectiveness of the doctor’s prescription.
Always discuss with your doctor the amount of ginger you are permitted to consume if you are to have any at all. Otherwise, your blood sugar level may descend too low.
3. Those taking medication for high blood pressure
The medications that are used to manage hypertension, for instance, the calcium channel blockers Norvasc, Cardizem and others of this ilk, can, unfortunately, combine with ginger to drop your heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously low levels. This may even lead to medical complications, such as an irregular heartbeat.
Always consult with your doctor as to the amount of ginger you are using, and they will make the required adjustments to your prescription, or else tell you to avoid the root altogether.
4. Those prone to gallstones
Anyone who is prone to gallstones could see their condition worsen if they use ginger. Gallstones can form in the gallbladder, which stores the bile needed to break down the fat located in your intestines. When these gallstones travel down the bile duct they can cause bile to ‘back up’ in your liver. Ginger may actually increase the production of bile if taken in large enough quantities.
This could then increase the occurrence of gallstone blockages, which itself can cause extremely serious illness and may lead to an emergency situation. However, some medics actually recommend the use of ginger in such cases anyway, believing the extra bile assuages the problem of gallstones rather than exacerbates it. Because this is so controversial, the best thing to do is consult with your doctor concerning your ginger use.
5. The risks of ginger during pregnancy
Whether pregnant women should continue to consume ginger is a matter of some debate, since the extent of the risks has not been definitively established. Many claim that ginger does affect the sex hormones of the fetus, and some worry that it might be unwise to use it to combat morning sickness.
Furthermore, ginger is known to increase the likelihood of bleeding, therefore it is claimed that ginger should be avoided when close to the due date. Though none of these claims have been substantiated, it would be fair to say that there is some doubt about the benefits of using ginger when pregnant. Therefore, consult with your doctor about this subject to ascertain what you ought to do.
Safe dosage of ginger
It is well worth noting that the vast majority of people do enjoy the health (and taste) benefits of ginger without any hiccups. The Maryland Medical Center states that the recommended powdered ginger root intake for those who are not suffering from any of the above is 4 grams per day. Pregnant women are advised to not exceed 1 gram per day.
You can use ginger in its ground form and its fresh form. You should know, however, that the ground form is more concentrated than the fresh. As a good rule of thumb, think of a tablespoon of fresh ginger root as equal to a ¼ teaspoon of dried ground ginger.