The side effects of ginger and who should not eat it?

This plant has been used for over five thousand years for cooking and also as a medicinal remedy in many Asian countries thanks to its powerful properties. It is surely one of the most commonly used roots on the planet.

According to Ayurvedic traditions, this plant is considered the most “sattvic” spice and is one of the most essential roots in these traditions. Ginger is considered as Katu-rasam (bitter taste), Ushna-veerya (warm activity), Vata-kapha-har-prabhavam (corrective effect of respiratory imperfections and phlegm), Katu-vipaka (tangy effect), Laghu-snigdha -gunam (soft and unctuous property), and is valuable as a remedy and a way to eliminate Kapha and Vatta disorders.

The side effects of ginger when consumed in large quantities, it can cause heartburn, gas, bloating, nausea or stomach upset.

This plant is called Vishava-bheshaj (the universal remedy) and Maha-aushadhi (broad-spectrum remedy). The concept of digestive and metabolic fire (agni) is central to Ayurveda. If the food is properly treated and assimilated, it will not create toxins in the body, called Ama. Even though “ama” is created, it can be destroyed by “agni” that can be obtained with ginger. Ayurveda regards ginger as a pungent plant that does not have the irritating and concentrated pungency of pepper, but is irritating enough to wake the blood vessels. Moreover, in Chinese medicine, this root is famous for its use in the elimination of toxins. It is used as an antidote for poisoning by food, for medicines or with other plants.

But can such a powerful plant have undesirable effects?

The answer is yes, in fact herbalists advise not to take more than 4 grams of ginger in one day. Because, if taken in large quantities, it can cause heartburn, gas, bloating, nausea or upset stomach, because it enhances the action of warfarin by heterogeneous mechanisms. It can also increase the risk of bleeding or possibly potentiate the effects of warfarin therapy, especially when taken as a powder.


  • It has an exceptional flavor and gives a delicious oriental touch to any dish.
  • Its thin marinated slices can “clean” the palate between two dishes with pronounced flavors.
  • It can be made into an ice tea that can be used as is or mixed with mineral water.
  • It facilitates digestion.
  • It prevents nausea and vomiting in people with motion sickness

Ginger, garlic and onion:

By eating ginger with garlic or onion (or better still, both) we would create a synergy between their different antioxidant compounds. This would allow them to surpass their individual antioxidant effects.

Source : Shobana S, Naidu KA. Antioxidant activity of selected Indian spices . Prostaglandins Leukot Essent FattyAcids 2000 February;62(2):107-10.

Cancer patients sometimes consume ginger to combat nausea and vomiting (3).

Several studies mention a positive effect of taking ginger capsule to fight against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. This effect is present whether or not it is used in combination with conventional medications (5,6,9,10,11,12).

Ginger may reduce nausea and vomiting after surgery, but this effect is not systematic (3,4).

No anti-cancer activity related to ginger could be shown (2).

The undesirable effects of ginger:

General side effects

The consumption of ginger, especially in the form of powder, can sometimes cause: burns and stomachaches, diarrhea and more abundant menstruation (4,5).

Possible negative effects on cancer treatments

There is no known negative effect related to ginger consumption (4.6).

Interactions with other medicines and dietary supplements

Ginger may have an anticoagulant effect (3,7) and lower blood sugar levels (3). If you are on a “classic” treatment with the same effects (especially in the case of warfarin, fenprocoumon and salycilates such as aspirin) (9), it is advisable to inform your doctor that you are using ginger.

For the same reasons, caution should be exercised when eating ginger simultaneously with other food supplements that lower blood sugar (garlic, aloe vera, beta-glucans, milk thistle, co-enzyme Q10, turmeric, ginkgo, ginseng, omega-3 or EPA / DHA fatty acids) or having an anticoagulant effect (garlic / quercetin, milk thistle, turmeric, grape seed extract / resveratrol, ginkgo, ginseng, flaxseed, omega-3 or EPA / DHA fish fatty acids, quercetin, vitamin E). Always tell your doctor about this type of combination.

Interrupt the use of ginger a few days before surgery. You can take an hour before the operation the equivalent of one gram of ginger, to reduce nausea and vomiting after surgery (8).

People with gallstones should also consult their doctor before consuming ginger (7).

Who should not eat ginger?

People with ulcers or inflammation

Fresh, unmachted ginger can cause intestinal obstruction, and people who have had ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or blocked intestines can respond badly to large amounts of fresh ginger.

People with gallstones

Ginger can negatively affect individuals with gallstones and it is therefore contraindicated in this case because it promotes the production of bile.

People suffering from bleeding disorders

Ginger stimulates circulation and increases blood flow while preventing blood clots. It may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking drugs that slow blood clotting.

Pregnant women

Women who are expecting a baby should also be careful because ginger can cause uterine contractions. It has also been shown to interfere with the absorption of dietary iron and fat-soluble vitamins. It is recommended to consult an herbalist or naturopath before using ginger as a supplement or in your diet. Drinking ginger tea is particularly discouraged in the last weeks of pregnancy because of the increased risk of bleeding.

Before an operation

According to an article published in “Der Anaesthesist” in 2007, the consumption of ginger before a surgical operation also presents a risk because of the risk of bleeding. If you have to undergo surgery, you should avoid drinking ginger tea in the previous two weeks.

Reaction to some drugs

If you take medication, ask your therapist for advice because it may interfere with some medications. Ginger should also not be taken by people taking blood thinners, barbiturates, beta-blockers, insulin, or those taking antiplatelet therapy. According to MedlinePlus, part of the National Institute on Health, ginger can interact with many other drugs like antacids that can be affected by ginger, by stimulating the production of stomach acid. Ginger can also interact with other heart medications, antihistamines, cancer treatments and weight loss medications.

Interactions with certain plants

Ginger can also interact with plants that stimulate blood circulation and slow down blood clotting such as cloves, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, turmeric, angelica. The combination of ginger with these plants could increase the risk of bleeding.

Moderate appetite

A pilot study published in “Metabolism: An Experimental Clinical Study” in 2012 found that ginger reduces appetite and improves satiety in overweight people. The researchers in the study believe that ginger’s ability to regulate and modulate serotonin hormone levels plays a role in moderating appetite. Because this is a pilot study, however, further research is needed to validate these findings. If you are trying to gain weight, you should know that drinking ginger tea can potentially reduce your appetite.

Diabetes – high blood pressure

Avoid taking ginger tea and blood thinning medications such as warfarin or aspirin at the same time. Ginger can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, so if you are taking medications for diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor because you may not need as much medicine if you also take ginger tea regularly.

Many of these side effects can be avoided by taking ginger supplements in capsules, such as enteric-coated capsules, which delay the digestion of the plant by the body until it enters the digestive tract. But ginger, if consumed in reasonable amounts, has few adverse side effects and is on the “generally recognized safe” list by the FDA. There have been cases where herbal supplements have been sold and are contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Also, herbal supplements must be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Dosage for adults

The consumption of ginger, especially in small quantities, is generally safe. Ginger is available in supermarkets in the form of root or powder. It is also found in various forms of food supplements: capsules, extract, tincture and oil.

In daily consumption, it is advisable not to exceed the total dose of 4 grams, including for culinary use (4). The use of ginger is not recommended during pregnancy (4,7).


  • American Institute for Cancer Research. Dietary Options for Cancer Survivors. 2002.
  • Bloch A. et al. Eating well, Staying well During and After Cancer. American Cancer Society, 2004.
  • Vandebroek A. Dietary supplements. Symposium on non-conventional cancer treatments, Stichting tegen Kanker, 2011.
  • Sheikhi MA. et al. Alternative Methods to Treat Nausea and Vomiting from Cancer Chemotherapy. Chemother Res Pract. 2015;2015:818759.
  • Del Fabbro B. et al. Nutrition and the Cancer Patient. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Sanaati F. et al. Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer.Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016;17(8):4125-9.
  • Arslan et al. Oral intake of ginger for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting among women with breast cancer. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2015 Oct;19(5):E92-7.
  • Ansari M. et al. Efficacy of Ginger in Control of Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Doxorubicin-Based Chemotherapy. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016;17(8):3877-80.
  • Konmun J. et al. A phase II randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of 6-gingerol as an anti-emetic in solid tumor patients receiving moderately to highly emetogenic chemotherapy. Med Oncol. 2017 Apr;34(4):69.

Sources The adverse effects of ginger : and / and /

» Medical » The side effects of ginger and who should not eat it?