Everyone can remember an episode when they were young and were hit by that awful upset stomach. It may have been too much popcorn, one too many rides on the Ferris wheel, or the infamous 24 hour grip. Unfortunately for many children and adults it’s not just an occasional occurrence. For some it can be an almost daily event, quickly taking all the fun out of your life and reducing you to a quivering hunk of flesh.
Whether it is motion sickness, sea sickness, air sickness, migraines, severe headaches or some underlining disease, nausea can ruin any good time and take you completely out of the action; whether it is an air flight, an amusement park, fishing or even at work.
I was plagued by nausea often when I was young. A trip to the amusement Park would often end in horror. Some ride you enjoyed made you sick. And it wasn’t bad enough that you felt miserable, you had to put up with the taunts of your friends calling you a “wimp”. Even to this day riding in the back seat of a car would make me sick. I would even get sick performing summersaults in Gym class. Of course more acquisitions of being a:”wimp” followed those occurrences. Then at 12 I began to have severe migraines which were usually accompanied by nausea. These headaches have plagued me my entire lifetime. No underlining disease was ever found. I was otherwise healthy but had an incurable chronic disabling condition.
I always enjoyed fishing, particularly deep sea fishing. But it was always anywhere from a 50 to 75 percent chance that I would get violently ill half way through the trip.
Oh yes I tried all the over the counter medicine and also tried those prescription behind the ear patches to no avail.
One fishing trip out of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, the captain, John Greenleaf, a commercial fisherman, suggested that I try ginger root. He said that you have to take a fair amount; enough so that when you burp, you test nothing but ginger. Since the Captain is one of my heroes, I gave it a try. It worked fantastic! Now I want to be truthful, it did not make every future trip nausea free, but I was able to reduce the occurrences to about 25 percent of the time. Even the times I did get sick after taking ginger, it was to a much less a degree, and often I was able to return to fishing after relaxing for a period of time.
This began my investigation with herbs. I still at that time thought treatments with herbs was nothing but a placebo. I had tried a number of alternative treatments for my migraines; acupuncture, acupressure, bio-feedback, TENS, chiropractor, and others with absolutely no success. So I was suspicious.
But my wife mentioned that her hairdresser suggested that I try herbs for my migraines and nausea. It seems that the hairdresser was at her wits end with her son who had severe asthma. She was bringing her son to the emergency room at least twice a month for asthma attacks. She gave some herbs a try. She hasn’t been back to the emergency room yet.
Then once peering over the Internet I came across an interesting site called wildlettuce.com. I decided to order some wild lettuce extract. It was a serious game changer in my life. I haven’t looked back since.
First of all, I want to stress that this is not a website against western medicine. I strongly encourage you to continue to see your doctors. I consider herbs an important adjunct to medical treatments. In fact I stress above all to NOTIFY YOUR PHYSICIAN THAT YOU ARE CONSIDERING USING HERBS. He or she will know if any particular herb may interfere with any of your medications. Do not take any herb without notifying your physician if you are pregnant. And finally when you do use herbs to treat disease, always treat herbs as if they are medications. Take the proper dosage. And remember that although they are natural, many herbs have side effects just like pharmaceuticals.
I will talk more about The Miracle of Wild Lettuce in the near future.
Now some important information about ginger
Ginger is the underground root, or rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale and has been used as a medicine since ancient times. In China ginger has been used to treat nausea for more than 2,000 years. Ginger has also been used to help treat arthritis, diarrhea, fatigue, fever colds, flu, headaches, and menstrual distress. In addition to these medicinal uses, ginger continues to be used around the world as a cooking spice.
Today many people including both herbologists and medical personnel commonly recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, and cancer chemotherapy. It is used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and may even be used in heart disease or cancer.
Several studies including both sailors and non-sailors suggest that ginger may be more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms associated with motion sickness. Although one small study suggested that conventional prescription and nonprescription medicines that decrease nausea are more effective these drugs may also cause unwanted side effects, such as dry mouth and drowsiness. Given the safety of ginger, I and others welcome the ginger alternative to these medications to relieve motion sickness.
Other Uses for ginger
One study suggested that 1 gram daily of ginger may be safe and effective for pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting when used for no longer than 4 days. A few studies have shown that ginger reduces the severity and duration of nausea during chemotherapy.
Ginger has also been used for inflammation such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
Some studies suggest that ginger may be used for lowering cholesterol, prevent blood clotting, and aid atherosclerosis
Forms of Ginger
Ginger is available as whole roots, extracts, tinctures, capsules, and oils. All supermarkets sell fresh ginger root. Ginger of course is found in ginger bread, ginger snaps, and some ginger ale. Unfortunately your grandmother would be disappointed these days since her old remedy for an upset stomach, ginger ale, no longer contains any real ginger. Most large bottlers of ginger ale use ginger flavorings instead of real ginger root, although some micro brewers still use real ginger. So taking a bottle of ginger ale on a fishing trip will not cut it.
Ginger should not be used by children under 2 years of age.
Ginger intake should not exceed 4 grams (powered) daily.
For nausea and indigestion: 2 grams of freshly grated root, 1 g of powdered root, or 2 ml of liquid extract every 4 hours as needed but not to exceed 4 grams a day. If used as a preventive medicine, take first dose at least one hour before boat, plane, car, or amusement ride. Repeat only if needed every 4 hours but not to exceed 4 grams a day.
Please consult your physician for dosage
For arthritis pain:
Take 2 – 4 grams daily. Ginger oil may also be rubbed into a painful joint. Fresh ginger root may also be placed in a compress and applied to areas of inflammation.
For colds, flu, sore throat, headache, or menstrual cramps:
Place 2 tablespoons of freshly ground ginger root and add 8 once of hot water and drink as a tea.
Always consult a physician before using any herb.
Large dosages my cause belching, heartburn, or stomach upset. People with gallstones should consult a doctor before taking ginger. Make sure you notify your doctor if you are taking ginger and are having surgery or anesthesia. As with most herbs, do not take ginger if you are taking blood-thinning medications, including aspirin.
An Important tidbit:
If taking ginger by capsules for nausea, when you place both capsules in your mouth, bite down on one capsule, and then swallow both with water. By doing this you will release ginger that will quickly coat your stomach and bring relief faster.
- Complementary Medicine | http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed
- Awang DVC. Ginger. Can Pharma J. 1992:309–311.
- Bhandari U, Sharma JN, Zafar R. The protective action of ethanolic ginger (Zingiber officinale) extract in cholesterol fed rabbits. J Ethnopharm. 1998;61(2):167-171.
- Bone ME, Wilkinson DJ, Young JR, McNeil J, Charlton S. Ginger root–a new antiemetic. The effect of ginger root on postoperative nausea and vomiting after major gynecological surgery. Anaesthesia. 1990;45(8):669-71.