Can Ginger Treat Diarrhea?

Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on June 21, 2017Written by Emily Cronkleton on June 21, 2017

Ginger and diarrhea

The healing potential of ginger makes it a useful remedy for treating diarrhea. Eastern doctors have used ginger to treat diarrhea for thousands of years.

Ginger warms the stomach and is a tonic for the digestive system. It also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial properties that aid in healing stomach ailments. Its antioxidant effects have a positive effect on overall stomach health.

Drinking ginger tea can help to rehydrate your body and replenish fluids that may be lost during a bout of diarrhea. Usually, diarrhea will only last for a few days. Ginger can help to soothe your stomach during this time so that your recovery is swift and comfortable.

How to use ginger to treat diarrhea

You can eat fresh ginger or use it to make tea. These are the safest ways to take ginger. Ginger is also available in capsules, powder, and as a tincture. Be sure not to take more than 4 grams of ginger per day. You can take 2 to 4 milliliters of ginger tincture per day.

Always check the label carefully as different brands can vary in terms of strength and dosage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the quality of supplements, choose to buy from a reliable source.

How to make ginger tea

Add a few tablespoons of freshly grated or finely chopped ginger to a cup of boiling water. Steep for five minutes or longer depending on how strong you prefer your tea. You can add lemon and honey to taste. You can also use powdered ginger or buy ginger teabags.

Research on using ginger to treat diarrhea

Researchers are looking to find ways to treat diarrhea caused by intestinal pathogens. This is the number one cause of death in infants in developing countries.

An animal study from 2007 found that ginger is an effective treatment for diarrhea caused by E. coli. Ginger works by blocking the toxic bacteria that causes diarrhea and preventing fluid from accumulating in the intestines. This has an antidiarrheal effect on the body.

Research from 2015 supports using ginger to treat diarrhea as well as other abdominal issues. Ginger is believed to cure diarrhea that is caused by eating contaminated food. It also prevents nausea, vomiting, and abdominal spasms. And it relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion. A study from 1990 showed that ginger significantly inhibited serotonin-induced diarrhea. More research is warranted to discover potential uses of ginger as a medicine.

Ginger has been successfully used to prevent diarrhea in pigs. Diarrhea in pigs is often caused by bacterial infections, which is a problem for pork production. A study from 2012 showed the potential of ginger in preventing diarrhea and improving intestinal health in pigs. This enhances growth performance and meat quality.

What to know before using ginger

Most people can take ginger with no adverse effects. You may experience some type of abdominal discomfort, heartburn, or gas. Some people find it causes them to have diarrhea.

Consult your healthcare provider before taking ginger for medicinal purposes if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Don’t take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, diabetes, or any heart conditions. Use with caution if you have gallstone disease. Don’t give ginger to children younger than 2 years of age.

Ginger may interact with:

  • medications that slow blood clotting
  • phenprocoumon
  • warfarin (Coumadin) or other blood thinners
  • diabetes medications
  • high blood pressure medications
  • heart disease medications

The bottom line

For most people, ginger is a safe and effective way to treat diarrhea. Pay attention to how your body reacts to different types of ginger. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use.

Remember to take time for your body to heal and recuperate. Take a break from your normal activities if it’s possible and give yourself a chance to rest.

Learn more: Does ginger tea have bad side effects? »

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