Is ginger helpful or harmful for the stomach?

Ginger is one of the best-known remedies for relieving cold symptoms

Ginger is known for its ability to soothe the stomach, but it can cause more harm than good if you overdo it.

Here’s a question we received from a viewer

Dear Dr. Manny,

I've started drinking 2 to 4 cups of fresh ginger tea every morning because I read ginger is good for my stomach.  I drink it before having breakfast, and I've been having some gallbladder pains. Can this be related?



Ginger is one of the best-known remedies for relieving cold symptoms— it can actually kill the rhinovirus that causes a cold. Plus, it’s been known to help with motion sickness and to calm an upset stomach. We checked in with our alternative medicine expert, The Medicine Hunter, for more:

"Ginger stimulates the production of bile and so as such it's a beneficial digestive aid. But if you don't have anything in your stomach— as it turns out this particular woman was drinking ginger tea on an empty stomach— it can sometimes cause… enough gastric stimulation that you can get some digestive distress," The Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham said. "It’s not a typical reaction. In fact, it's rather uncommon, but it can happen." 

More on this...

To avoid gastric upset while still getting anti-inflammatory benefits, Kilham advised those with a sensitive digestive system have a bit of food in their stomachs and only drink modest amounts of ginger tea— one cup at a time.