Ginger root is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and digestive superfood.
The spice is recommended as a natural medicine for many physical ailments due to its nutrients and health-supporting phytochemicals.
There are situations, however, in which ginger is a less-than-optimal supplement to your diet and can exacerbate an already existing problem.
When To Avoid Ginger Root
Here are some of the situations in which ginger should be avoided because of their risks.
1. Blood Disorders
Ginger root is a blood anti-coagulant that promotes circulation. In the case of some blood conditions like hemophilia (in which blood coagulation does not occur properly), thinner blood can exacerbate the condition, making a small cut into a possibly life-threatening hemorrhage.
Beneficial due to exactly these effects for cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and high cholesterol, it’s best to avoid ginger if you have a blood condition without discussing it first with your healthcare provider.
2. Taking Prescription Medications
A pharmaceutical is formulated to address a specific symptom and is designed to work in a certain way in the body. Drugs come with lists of warnings and potential side effects. Because ginger root has medicinal properties, some pharmaceuticals don’t mix well with it. So to prevent any risks, side-effects, read the warnings and inform yourself as much as you can for your own safety.
Ginger is a natural blood thinner and reduces blood pressure; it also regulates blood sugar (1). Taken together with medication that is designed to do the same can mean too much of a good thing. Hence, ginger should not be taken with anticoagulants, beta blockers, aspirin, or insulin.
A list of drugs known to negatively interact with ginger can be found here.
Ginger root tea in early pregnancy has been found to relieve nausea and vomiting. After the first trimester, however, ginger root should be taken infrequently in very small doses (if at all) because it can induce uterine contractions (2). This, in turn, may result in premature delivery or miscarriage.
On the other hand, it can be usedful when your delivery date has passed and you’re ready to meet your little one face to face.
4. Being Underweight
Ginger stimulates digestion, which is why it is so effective against an upset stomach and other gastrointestinal issues. If you are significantly underweight, you want to slow digestion and absorb as many nutrients as you can from the food you eat. High fiber content in ginger root moves foods through the digestive system and other compounds in the root can raise metabolism and promote weight loss.
If you find yourself in one of these categories, there are other spices you can use for flavor and/or medicinal properties.
For flavor, try substituting paprika (dried ground peppers) and whole peppers—either cayenne or sweet, depending on your taste. Paprika can be found in different varieties with spiciness ranging from mild to hot. It contains all the nutrition of a whole pepper and is very versatile in cooking. With significant amounts of iron, vitamins A, B6, and E, paprika has a lot to offer. Plus, one of the antioxidant phytonutrients in paprika is capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory agent known for healing the digestive system.
You may also try cardamom, with its rich savory flavor, nutrition, and supportive effects. Cardamom neutralizes acid, aids digestion, and tastes great in coffee.