Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Is it true that ginger can help with nausea?
A: Ginger has been used as food and medicine for millennia. Ginger’s modern use dates back to the early 1980s, when a scientist named D. Mowrey noticed that ginger-filled capsules reduced his nausea during an episode of flu. Subsequent research ultimately led to approve ginger being used as a treatment for indigestion and motion sickness.
Ginger is typically not as effective as standard drugs for motion sickness, but it has the advantage of not causing drowsiness. Some physicians recommend ginger over other motion sickness drugs for older individuals who are unusually sensitive to drowsiness or loss of balance.
Ginger is also used for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, and some conventional medical textbooks mention it. However, physicians are hesitant to recommend any treatment during pregnancy until full safety studies have been performed.