Ginger: Health Benefits and Dietary Recommendations During Cancer Treatment
What is ginger?
Ginger is an herb. It is a member of the plant family that includes turmeric and cardamom. Ginger has been used for many years for things like colds, arthritis, nausea, migraines, and more. Not much is known about exactly how ginger works in your body, but it is thought to be safe for most people. Talk with your care team before starting or stopping any herbs, vitamins, or medications.
Will ginger help me?
Ginger has been shown to help with many health problems, like stomach and digestive issues. During treatment, you may have issues with nausea. Ginger may help. It may also help with motion sickness, morning sickness, gas, and diarrhea.
Is ginger safe during treatment?
Ginger is often safe to eat during treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are thinking about using ginger in any form to help with your symptoms as it may affect medications you may be taking.
If your provider tells you it is ok to add ginger to your diet, you should not eat more than 4 grams (1 tablespoon) of raw ginger per day or 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger per day. More details are listed in the chart below.
You should try to buy things that are made with real ginger. The safest form to eat is natural ginger root. Although ginger supplements are easy to take, 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:
How to Use
Natural Ginger Root (Raw)
Ginger Hard Candies, Chews, or Snap Cookies.
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, let it 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 have more than just ginger, like chamomile or lemongrass. Buying teas that only have natural ginger root may lower the risk of unwanted side effects from other ingredients in the tea.
Since most store-bought teas also have 1 gram or more of ginger per tea bag, you should not have more than 3-4 tea bags per day.
If you think ginger may help lessen some of your symptoms, talk with your care team or ask to talk to a registered dietician (RD).
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.