Ginger has a history as a digestive aid. Chemicals in the ginger can impact your appetite and the way you feel, but not in terms of suppressing appetite. Instead, ginger can actually make you feel more hungry if you've lost your appetite due to nausea. Ask your doctor before using ginger or any alternative remedy for appetite.
Ginger -- either raw or candied, alone or added to foods -- is part of the traditional herbal armamentarium. Its medicinal properties come largely from the molecule zingerone, which has a spicy-hot flavor. According to Drs. Penny Le Courteur and Jay Bureson in their book "Napoleon's Buttons," the zingerone molecule is chemically related to capsaicin from spicy peppers, and piperine from black pepper 1. It has a similar shape, and so acts similarly in the body.
Ginger and Your Digestive Tract
The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that ginger is a traditional remedy for nausea and vomiting 2. There's also scientific research to support its use as an anti-nauseant if you're pregnant and are experiencing morning sickness; an added benefit of ginger in this case is that it's safe for use in pregnancy. Chemotherapy patients also benefit from ginger for relief of nausea. Some individuals may find that ginger helps relieve inflammation and swelling in addition to its anti-nauseant properties.
Ginger and Appetite
While ginger can certainly have an effect on your appetite, it's not likely to be one of suppressing it. Instead, ginger can make those suffering from nausea feel well enough to eat. There is no scientific research to suggest that ginger has appetite-suppressant properties. However, many people feel full after consuming flavored beverages. As such, drinking ginger tea might suppress your appetite temporarily simply because the tea fills your belly.
If you're interested in trying to use ginger as an appetite suppressant or for any other purpose, you should first consult with your doctor. Increased appetite can be a symptom of a digestive ailment -- a parasite, for instance -- and it's best to get a medical opinion before you try to treat it yourself. Options for suppressing appetite that are more effective than ginger include eating meals that contain combinations of protein and carbohydrates, as well as increasing your fiber and water intake.
- “Napoleon’s Buttons”; Penny Le Couteur and Jay Bureson; 2004
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
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