Exploring the Benefits of Ginger for Nausea

Published on August 24, 2023


By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

Oh no — there it is. That feeling in your stomach rises to your throat. Your head may begin to swim, and you may even experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. You’re feeling nauseated, and you need fast relief. 

No matter the source of your nausea, you need a fast, natural remedy that works, and ginger is ready to become your go-to nausea supplement. 

We’ll talk about what causes nausea, its mechanisms, and how ginger can help give you relief fast and effectively

What Causes Nausea?

There are numerous reasons why a person might experience nausea. 

Thesemay include:

  • Motion sickness
  • Occasional Heartburn and indigestion from a meal or snack
  • Morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Stress and emotional distress
  • Food poisoning 
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Postoperative nausea 

The reasons why you have an upset stomach may vary, but your need for relief remains.

What is Nausea?

We all know what nausea feels like, and we know that it may or may not lead to vomiting. However, the actual physical changes in the body that cause the sensation of nausea aren’t well established. 

It’s hypothesized that every person has a threshold for nausea, which changes from minute to minute each day.REF#2719 These changes are based on numerous factors, like a person’s geographical location, stress levels, current biological and physiological conditions, and any foods they may have eaten or medications they may be taking.REF#2719

The threshold may be crossed by any number of visceral, vestibular, or other triggers picked up by the body and then translated into the nervous system.REF#2719 In plain terms, serotonin, dopamine, histamine, and acetylcholine are released into the gut faster than they can be digested, which researchers believe gives way to nausea.REF#2719

Because little is known about the nausea sensation, we usually look for ways to treat the most likely source of nausea, which is an upset stomach related to poor digestion. This is why antacids are so popular; they provide relief for acids in the stomach that could be causing you discomfort. 

This is where ginger comes into play.

What are the Effects of Ginger on Nausea?

Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale, has been used for centuries in traditional healthcare to support healthy digestion and relieve stomach upset. 

What’s Inside Ginger?

There are two active ingredients in the rhizomes of ginger that researchers believe play an integral part in how it is able to ease the sensation of nausea: gingerol and shogaols.REF#2720 These are both pungent compounds responsible for giving fresh ginger root its characteristic scent, and they’re also packed with nutrients that interact with the body. 

How Does Ginger Work?

Although the use of ginger to support nausea dates back centuries, we now have science that supports the reasons why it works so well. There are four reasons why ginger can help the body find fast relief from nausea:

  • Ginger interacts with acetylcholine in the gut. Because it is believed that this neurotransmitter may be involved with the feelings of nausea, it’s hypothesized that by interacting with it, ginger can help relieve nausea.REF#2720
  • Ginger interacts with serotonin in the gut. Don’t worry — ginger shouldn’t make you feel sad or like you’re missing out on vital serotonin in your brain. Instead, it can help with the way that serotonin dumps into the gut, easing the sensation of nausea.REF#2720
  • Ginger helps with gastric emptying. When digestion feels slow or sluggish, ginger can help keep it moving. One of the benefits of ginger is its ability to help with gastric emptying, which means it can help move food out of your stomach.REF#2720
  • Ginger contains antioxidants. We know that antioxidants have a wide array of health benefits, but one of them may be helping you feel less nauseous. In animal studies, antioxidants can have antiemetic effects.REF#2721

All the evidence indicates that ginger may have more than just a placebo effect on feelings of nausea.

How Can You Use Ginger for Nausea?

When you feel sick, the last thing you may want to do is eat or drink anything. To help ease nausea, here are a few ways you can use ginger to get relief. 

Fresh Ginger

If you have a fresh ginger root, you can grate it or slice it and steep it in hot water to make ginger tea. If you don’t have any fresh ginger available, ground ginger can also work.

You can use as much fresh ginger as you can tolerate. It’s generally recommended that you drink ginger tea slowly to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Edible Ginger

Dried ginger and crystallized (or candied) ginger can help get relief from nausea. This type of ginger supplement may come in chews or as hard candies or lozenges. It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll also get a bit of added sugar from these sources, which may not work for people watching their added sugar intake. 

Essential Oil

Using essential oils can be a good way to get the aromatic effects of ginger. Because the olfactory glands play a role in nausea, simply smelling ginger oil or ginger extract may be enough to settle your system and help alleviate nausea. 

You can also apply essential oil to your wrists and temples, which may provide additional relief. 

Ginger Ale

There’s a reason why the number one beverage requested on airplanes is ginger ale. The combination of ginger extract and carbonation can help ease feelings of nausea and settle the stomach. However, keep in mind, there may not be as high ginger amounts in ginger ale as there are in other ginger products.

Additionally, if you are watching sugar intake, you can always ask for a diet ginger ale, but remember that these sources may contain artificial sweeteners, which could lead to gas and bloating and make you feel worse.REF#2722

Ginger Supplements

One easy way to get the ginger you want for the relief you need is in the form of a ginger supplement. Taking a ginger supplement eliminates the need to chew, taste, or drink anything, which may be off-putting when you don’t feel well. 

Get Relief Fast With Ginger

When you feel that uncomfortable, uneasy feeling of nausea creeping into your body, try reaching for your favorite ginger supplement or resource. Ginger can act fast so you can get the relief you need, naturally. 

Don’t let feelings of nausea stand in your way. Grab some ginger and get on with your day.

REFERENCES:

  • 1. Singh P, Yoon SS, Kuo B, "Nausea: a review of pathophysiology and therapeutics", Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2016 Jan;9(1):98-112. doi: 10.1177/1756283X15618131. PMID: 26770271; PMCID: PMC4699282.
  • 2. Lete I, Allué J, "The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy", Integr Med Insights. 2016 Mar 31;11:11-7. doi: 10.4137/IMI.S36273. PMID: 27053918; PMCID: PMC4818021..
  • 3. Mehendale SR, Aung HH, Yin JJ, Lin E, Fishbein A, Wang CZ, Xie JT, Yuan CS, "Effects of antioxidant herbs on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in a rat-pica model", Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(6):897-905. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X04002508. PMID: 15673195.
  • 4. Spencer M, Gupta A, Dam LV, Shannon C, Menees S, Chey WD, "Artificial Sweeteners: A Systematic Review and Primer for Gastroenterologists", J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Apr 30;22(2):168-80. doi: 10.5056/jnm15206. PMID: 26932837; PMCID: PMC4819855..