BY: JERMANE COOPER
Zingiber officinale, more commonly known as ginger, is a plant known very well for its culinary and medicinal properties. Native to the Southeastern parts of Asia, it has a long and storied history there as an ingredient in many dishes. That fame has now spread worldwide. More often than not, it is sliced, or powdered for ease of use depending on the dish. For example, it might be sliced for tea, and powdered for use in curry; other times, it may be preserved in syrup, or candied as a treat. Regardless of the method of preparation, it is quite popular.
The part of ginger that we actually make use of is called the rhizome; most people think of ginger as a root, but this is somewhat inaccurate. The rhizome is a stem, not a root. In the case of ginger, that rhizome is packed with powerful nutrients, enzymes, and various compounds that altogether make ginger an herb very beneficial to our health. Medicinally speaking, most often ginger serves to relieve nausea, dizziness, vertigo, or to facilitate digestion; in the latter case, this is because ginger promotes the production of saliva, and furthermore, its fiber content makes passing bowel movements easier.
Ginger benefits the body in a number of ways, and research is always being done to see how else it can help us. For example, in addition to the uses mentioned above, there is research that suggests ginger has some promise as a painkiller, as a cleanser of cellulite and minor skin blemishes, as a soothing agent for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as a means to lower triglycerides or blood sugar, and even a tool to fight certain kinds of cancer. Using ginger as a remedy for these conditions, and others, has received some mixed returns from various research studies.
While ginger is a great spice and natural remedy, keep in mind that taking it in excess, or if you are affected by certain conditions can actually end up causing you more harm than good. If any of the following situations apply to you, you should speak to a medical professional to discuss your options before taking high levels of ginger or ginger supplements.
Certain blood disorders such as hemophilia can make the use of ginger a risky proposition. This is because ginger acts as a blood thinner, which can prevent the blood from clotting. This behavior can be very helpful for those with high blood pressure, or those who are prone to vessel blockages and other trouble in their circulatory system. However, for hemophiliacs, this can be incredibly dangerous. Given that hemophiliacs already have trouble recovering from open wounds due to the inability of their blood to clot, ginger’s blood thinning properties can exacerbate the problem, causing hemorrhaging that could easily become fatal.
Low Blood Pressure
Given the previous point, it should go without saying that ginger may be harmful to those who possess extremely low blood pressure. On its own, low blood pressure is typically asymptomatic and does not cause many problems. In fact, it is not entirely uncommon to experience low blood pressure from sudden shifts in posture, such as laying to sitting or sitting to standing. However, low blood pressure can cause symptoms like dizziness and confusion, fainting, and when persistent and severe, it can cause serious complications such as heart attack, shock, and organ failure, all of which require timely medical intervention.
There are certain medications that can have adverse effects when ginger is taken with them. As mentioned before, ginger is a blood thinner; for some conditions, such as high blood pressure, anticoagulants are prescribed which already thin the blood. Adding ginger to the mix can thin blood further, creating dangerously low blood pressure. Given its digestive properties, ginger can also have an adverse effect on antacids and other digestion related medications. Due to the way that ginger can alter the effects of medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any medication you are using before taking ginger too.
Just like with medications, certain herbal remedies may be problematic when ginger is added to the mix. These include clove; the “G” family, which consists of garlic, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng; turmeric, and angelica; many of these herbs, like ginger itself, cause a thinning of the blood, which as mentioned earlier, can cause problems with hemorrhaging and low blood pressure. Otherwise, ginger may have other adverse effects with various herbs. Ultimately, you should meet with your doctor weigh the pros and cons of each of these herbs, and select which ones to use in which amounts according to your needs.
If you are trying to gain weight for whatever reason, ginger may stand in your way. While ginger can improve digestion, one of its other potential effects, ironically enough, is the suppression of appetite. This is because ginger may give those who consume it the sense of being sated, shutting off the desire to eat. There is definitely room for more research on this phenomenon, but should it become more firmly supported, it would be best for those who need to put on weight to steer clear of excess ginger in their diet until they manage to reach their goal.
Gallstones are an often painful condition that can affect the gallbladder; essentially bile produced in the liver moves into the gallbladder, and when the bile becomes a near-solid material, it can block up the gallbladder, causing discomfort, pain, and a host of other symptoms. Because of the way that ginger increases the production of bile, it is thought in some parts of the medical community that ginger can make gallstones worse. Ultimately, the concern is that a gallstone may cause a blockage, and ginger may lead to the overproduction of bile, which can be harmful to organs in excessive amounts.
If you are scheduled to undergo surgery, it is a good rule of thumb to stop taking ginger at a minimum of one week, but up to two weeks in advance. This is because of ginger’s blood thinning properties, which slow clotting and may cause problems with excessive bleeding during surgery, which could result in infection, or the need for transfusions. Likewise, after the surgery, you may need to refrain from taking ginger and other blood thinners as you wait for your body to fully recover. Talk to your doctor to know when to stop, and then resume taking ginger.
There may be other conditions or situations that limit your ability to consume ginger or take ginger supplements; generally speaking, however, ginger supplements tend to reduce the likelihood of ill side effects due to delaying the release of ginger until it is well into the digestive tract. As always, you should consult your doctor if you are thinking about taking herbal supplements or making changes in your medication. If you fall into one of these categories, or are otherwise looking for a culinary substitute that you can use in place of ginger, consider red paprika, sweet peppers, or cayenne pepper.
CULLED FROM: https://www.healthiguide.com/health/