Ginger for morning sickness safe, effectiveness questioned

December 19, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Ginger for morning sickness safe, effectiveness questioned

Using ginger to quell morning sickness does not appear to raise the risk of birth defects, according to a new study. Although safe for pregnant women to use, ginger may not actually be effective against morning sickness, researchers say.

Ginger has long been thought to ease nausea, and research has found it may aid motion sickness and other forms of queasiness. But as with any medicinal product, safety is a particular concern in pregnancy. The results of the study indicate ginger is unlikely to be harmful to the fetus.

Less clear is whether ginger helps women much. In the study, there was evidence that taken in capsule form it was mildly helpful for some women's morning sickness - but about half the women in the study said ginger was ineffective for them. In addition, the wide range of ginger products the women took - from teas to candy to capsules - made it hard to draw conclusions on the herb's effectiveness.

The first study to offer good evidence that ginger may ease morning sickness was published nearly three years ago, and used capsules containing high doses of the herb.

The researchers say that ginger is probably safe and they recommend the capsule format.

They note however, that the benefit in this study was modest, and that the lack of regulation of herbal products means women cannot be sure they're getting the amount of ginger listed on capsule products.

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