About 80% of pregnant women suffer from nausea and vomiting during the first trimester. Ginger has a long history of use for the nausea of pregnancy. And modern science supports that use. . . .



When 70 pregnant women who were suffering from nausea were given either 250mg of ginger or a placebo 4 times a day in a double-blind study, nausea was significantly reduced in the ginger group compared to the placebo group, and only 37.5% of those on ginger reported vomiting compared to 65.7% on the placebo. 87.5% of those on ginger said their symptoms improved compared to only 28.5% on placebo (Obstet Gynecol 2001). A second study found that a ginger syrup improves or stops the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (Atlern Ther Health Med 2002). In a study that compared .5g of ginger to the drug dimenhydrinate, the ginger was as effective with significantly fewer side effects (77.64% of the drug group experienced drowsiness versus only 5.88% in the ginger group) (J Med Assoc Thai 2007;90(9):1703-9). Another drug comparison study compared ginger to metoclopramide. This double-blind study found that both treatments were better than placebo, but that there was no statistical difference in the effectiveness of the herb and the drug (Pak J Biol Sci 2011;14(16):817-20).

Ginger is so effective for the nausea of pregnancy that it even helps in the small percentage of pregnancies (.2-5%) in which the nausea goes beyond regular morning sickness to a severe form called hyperemesis gravidarum (Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1990). This form of morning sickness is so severe that it often requires hospitalization.

The news in ginger and morning sickness research is that, according to a recent report, 2 recent meta-analyses have evaluated the effectiveness of ginger on the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. The first meta-analysis of 6 placebo-controlled studies concluded that 1g of ginger given for at least 4 days relieved both nausea and vomiting better than a placebo (J Am Board Fam Med 2014;27(1):115-22). The second meta-analysis of 12 controlled studies found that ginger significantly relieves nausea, but not vomiting; though ginger did reduce vomiting in 3 out of 7 studies, and there was a trend toward reduced vomiting (Nutr J 2014;13:20).

The authors of the report concluded that ginger is a safe, effective way to reduce the nausea of pregnancy.


Integr Med Insights 2016;11:11-17


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