In the kitchen, ginger makes a flavorful addition to stir-fries, soups, smoothies and even desserts. But it’s outside of the kitchen where ginger really shines. Research suggests that this herb boasts countless health benefits thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Findings from several studies indicate that ginger helps reduce blood sugars and can help regulate insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes.1 Other research2 reveals that the phytochemical properties of ginger may help combat inflammation in the body, which plays a role in many serious health conditions, including heart disease3 and rheumatoid arthritis4. There’s even some evidence that consuming ginger may be an effective preventative measure against colorectal cancer and possibly other types of cancer, thanks to the herb’s high levels of antioxidants.5 Consuming this powerful herb may also help reduce high blood pressure.6 And those who suffer from motion sickness will be happy to hear that some research supports the use of ginger as an effective treatment.7
With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that ginger ranks among the ten top-selling herbal supplements in the United States.8 But that’s not all this potent herb can do.
According to naturopathic doctor and midwife Dr. Caitlin O’Connor, ginger is especially helpful for moms-to-be. “Ginger is an amazing herb with a multitude of health benefits, and it’s one of the few botanicals to have robust safety data supporting its use in pregnancy. Unlike common over-the-counter pain relievers, ginger is actually gentle on the stomach and prevents damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract,” she explains.
3 Surprising Health Benefits of Ginger for Moms-to-Be
It helps reduce nausea and vomiting.
At least seven in ten pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.9 Collectively, these symptoms are referred to as “morning sickness.” But for many moms-to-be, they linger all day long.
Luckily, ginger makes an excellent natural remedy for this often debilitating condition, and research suggests that pregnant women who take one gram of fresh ginger root daily for four days may experience a significant decrease in nausea and vomiting—with no risk to herself or the unborn baby.10 These findings were echoed in a 2014 meta-analysis in which researchers determined that ginger is an effective non-pharmacological treatment for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.11 Yet another 2014 systematic review demonstrated that ginger can help reduce nausea symptoms in pregnancy and does not pose a risk for side effects.12
According to Dr. O’Connor, “For women experiencing nausea in the first trimester, ginger is a very safe option to consider. It is one of the few herbs with data to support safety in pregnancy, and can be a great ally for those experiencing nausea in early pregnancy—and beyond. I find it works best when taken as dried ginger in a capsule—although sipping real ginger ale or ginger tea can be soothing as well.”
Perelel’s 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack vitamins include a proprietary ginger capsule designed to help alleviate morning sickness.
Ginger can help relieve headaches.
As if pregnancy didn’t bring enough aches and pains: Fifteen to 20 percent of women experience migraines while pregnant—and even more will suffer from tension or cluster headaches.
Managing headaches can be particularly challenging when you’re expecting, since so many medications are deemed unsafe to the unborn baby. But according to Dr. O’Connor, ginger is both safe and effective for treating headaches.
“Ginger is a fabulous anti-inflammatory so I will often use it for headaches,” she says. “And it’s one of the few botanicals to have robust safety data supporting its use in pregnancy.”
Not only is ginger safe to take for headaches—research on this natural remedy has shown great promise regarding its efficacy.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that 250 milligrams (mg) of a ginger powder supplement was as effective in reducing migraine symptoms as sumatriptan, a medication often prescribed for migraines.13 Further, a 2018 study demonstrated that taking a ginger extract supplement along with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug reduced migraine symptoms better than just taking the medication.14 A third study revealed that placing a gel containing ginger and the herb feverfew under the tongue at the first sign of a migraine can help decrease the intensity and duration.15
It may reduce pain from cramping.
Research suggests that many women’s periods return before their babies are even three months old.16 Unfortunately, research also reveals that some women experience more painful periods after having a baby.17 While the exact reason for this remains unknown, experts posit that it may be due to changes in the uterine cavity, which cause more of the mucous lining in the uterus to shed.
One thing’s for sure: When you’re a new mom, the last thing you need is to be doubled over in pain from period cramps when you have an infant to care for.
Luckily, there is evidence that ginger can be an effective natural remedy for period cramps, more formally referred to as dysmenorrhea. In one study, 250 mg of ginger powder administered four times per day for three days helped provide relief from period-related pain.18 In fact, the researchers found that the ginger treatment was as effective as ibuprofen.
A review of several randomized control trials investigating the impact of ginger on period symptoms found that consuming 750 to 2000 mg of ginger powder during the first three to four days of the menstrual cycle was an effective treatment for reducing painful cramps.19
What is the Best Way to Take Ginger?
Fresh ginger makes a great addition to meals like stir-fries, chilis, salads and smoothies. Ginger powder, ginger extract and ginger root are alternative forms that can be used in cooking. Other forms of ginger include dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized and candied. The flavor is part peppery and slightly sweet, with a potent, almost spicy aroma.
According to Dr. O’Connor, ginger can be included in the diet as a culinary spice or a tea, or taken in higher doses via ginger supplementation. “For nausea relief, some folks find chewing ginger candies or drinking a high quality ginger tea to be helpful. Others need the higher doses provided by encapsulated dried ginger. For acute impact—such as for cramps or headaches, usually a higher dose in pill form works best.”
Dr. O’Connor advises that women considering ginger supplementation should work directly with their healthcare providers to determine the best dosage and frequency.
Ready to add ginger into your daily routine? Shop Perelel's 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack now with added ginger to combat nausea and morning sickness. Plus, get more tips for navigating your first trimester of pregnancy from an OB/GYN in our handy guide.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.