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Ginger Root Side Effects

By Shelley Moore

Ginger root is not only a flavorful spice but an alternative health supplement, especially recognized for its ability to relieve nausea. People also use ginger to aid in digestion and treat arthritis and heart conditions. Side effects associated with ginger root are uncommon, and usually only occur when someone takes very high doses of this supplement.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Ginger root side effects can include belching, bloating, diarrhea, gas and heartburn. These mainly occur with a large intake of powdered ginger, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Some individuals experience mouth irritation or an unpleasant taste. People who develop these side effects may need to take ginger supplements in capsules rather than fresh ginger root. Taking large amounts of ginger over a long time frame can result in a stomach ulcer, as noted by the Physicians' Desktop Reference (PDR). Swallowing fresh ginger without chewing it effectively may lead to an intestinal blockage. People with a history of gastrointestinal disorders should not take large amounts of fresh ginger before talking with their physicians. These disorders include ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and other intestinal problems.

Increased Bleeding

Individuals with a bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may not be able to safely take large amounts of ginger. The spice may reduce blood clotting ability, according to the UMMC, leading to more bleeding from a cut or wound.

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Reduced Blood Sugar

Ginger has traditionally been viewed as a spice that can reduce blood sugar when taken in high doses. Although research is lacking to support this theory, people taking medication such as insulin or metformin to lower blood sugar should consult with a doctor before using ginger as a supplement.

Allergic Reaction

Ginger may rarely cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of a ginger allergy include an itchy rash or hives, mouth tingling, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and swelling in the face, mouth or hands. An allergic eye reaction also is possible.

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