Ginger and postoperative nausea and vomiting.




American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Ginger has been used throughout history as both a culinary herb and a medicinal agent. Ginger has gained attention in the United States because of its effect on motion sickness, nausea, and as an aid in digestion. Derivation of a standardized extract of ginger is from the rhizome.

Ginger is best known for its ability to lessen the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. In fact, studies have found that it may be more effective than drug alternatives for many conditions and situations that make the stomach feel unsettled. What's more, in the case of motion sickness, ginger may be preferred to antihistamines because it does not cause drowsiness. Ginger root preparations may also be useful in controlling nausea and vomiting in outpatient surgery, for lessening the nausea and loss of appetite associated with chemotherapy, and in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition of excessive vomiting and dehydration that occurs during early pregnancy.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology examined the role of ginger in postoperative nausea and vomiting. This meta-analysis looked at numerous studies using ginger versus placebo. Researchers looked at published studies and articles, including bibliographies and contacted authors and experts in the field. After review, five randomized studies were examined that included 363 participants. The results showed that a fixed dose of at least one gram of ginger was more effective than placebo in reducing both postoperative nausea and postoperative vomiting. One side effect was reported, which was abdominal discomfort. The authors concluded that, “Use of ginger is an effective means for reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting.”1

1. Chaiyakunapruk N, et al. The efficacy of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Jan 2006;194(1):95-9.