Ginger: Health Benefits and Dietary Recommendations During Cancer Treatment

Author: Dimitra Krissi Thomopoulos
Last Reviewed: December 10, 2018

Will Ginger Help Me?

Ginger has many benefits to offer you. Ginger may be helpful with reducing “stomach problems”, such as nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, gas, and diarrhea.  Ginger may be effective for decreasing nausea and vomiting after surgery.  Ginger may calm your stomach and reduce nausea during treatment, however, everyone is different. 

Research studies have looked at the medicinal effects of ginger for over 100 health conditions. Although limited, research suggests ginger may help oncology patients. In many studies, ginger reduced the nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and dizziness that patients experienced post-surgery. Women who experienced morning sickness during pregnancy also found that ginger calmed their stomach. 

Ginger is generally considered safe to eat during treatment. You should not take more than 4 grams per day. 

Talk with your healthcare provider if you are thinking about using ginger in any form to help with symptom management as it may interfere with medications for diabetes, blood thinning (anti-coagulant), high blood pressure, and more. 

Is Ginger Safe During Treatment?

Yes, ginger is safe to take as long as the product is made with real ginger. The safest form to consume is natural ginger root. See the chart below for dietician recommendations for taking ginger.  

Although ginger supplements are the most convenient form, they are not always the best during treatment. The amount of ginger in some supplements may be more than is recommended. These may make you feel even worse. The preferred forms of ginger, recommended by dietitians are:

  

Ginger Form

How to Use

Dietitian Recommendations

Natural Ginger Root (Raw)

  • Remove skin and cut ginger root to preferred size and add to a stir-fry or soup
  • Wash thoroughly and consume ginger raw.
  • Try our homemade ginger tea recipe below! 
  • This is the preferred form of ginger. 
  • Do not consume more than 4 grams per day (approximately one tablespoon per day).
  • This is the preferred form of ginger. 
  • Do not consume more than 4 grams per day (approximately one tablespoon per day).

Ginger Hard Candies, Chews, or Snap Cookies.

 

 

  • Ginger candies, chews, and cookies can be found in stores or online. 
  • Be sure to purchase products which state that they are “made with real ginger”.
  • Read the nutrition label or contact your dietitian to ensure you do not exceed 4 grams per day.
  • Read the nutrition label or contact your dietitian to ensure you do not exceed 4 grams per day.

Powdered Ginger

 

  • Powdered (ground) ginger can be used on while cooking or used to make tea. 
  • Since powdered ginger is more concentrated, try not to consume more than 2 teaspoons per day. 
  • Since powdered ginger is more concentrated, try not to consume more than 2 teaspoons per day. 

 

Ginger Tea Recipe

Steep ginger tea bag in hot or boiling water for 5-10 minutes, remove tea bag, and enjoy!

For iced ginger tea: 

Steep ginger tea bag in hot water for 5-10 minutes, allow to cool, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Add honey for sweetness or lemon for tartness.  

You may also simmer a 1” piece of fresh ginger in 4 cups of water. Steep and drink.

**Most store-bought ginger teas may contain more than just ginger, like chamomile or lemongrass. Buying teas which only contain natural ginger root may reduce the risk of unwanted side effects from other ingredients in the tea. 

Since most store-bought teas also have more than or approximately 1 gram of ginger per tea bag, you should not consume more than 3-4 tea bags per day. 

References

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx&p=DevEx.LB.1,5063.1

Benzie, I. F., & Wachtel-Galor, S. (2011). Herbal medicine: Biomolecular and clinical aspects. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

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by OncoLink Team
July 15, 2019

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