BEYOND THE ZEST: 9 Lesser-Known Side Effects Of Ginger You Need To Be Aware Of 🎊 The Scoper Media

This spice may be common in every household, but the knowledge of the downsides of consuming it is not.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health

Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd (Biological Sciences), MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition  •  

Read Time : 9 Minutes


    A few side effects of ginger may cause you to think twice before adding it to your diet. Ayurvedic practitioners have been using ginger (Zingiber officinale) to treat many conditions for centuries. Unfortunately, this herbal medicine has some detrimental effects as well.

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Excess intake of ginger can cause heart issues, diarrhea, and increase the chances of miscarriage. In addition, ipeople taking medicine for high blood pressure may wish to limit their consumption of ginger as it may interact with drugs and further lower blood pressure.

This article examines the side effects of ginger, its safety, recommended dosage, and any potential drug interactions. Read on.

Heartburn, upset stomach, and diarrhea.


May lead to miscarriage and may excessively lower blood sugar levels.



It may interact with blood thinners, immunosuppressant drugs, and anti-diabetic medications.



If you experience mouth irritation such feel a tingling sensation or swelling, then consult a doctor immediately.




Ginger has a rich history in traditional medicine and culinary science. It not only adds a delightful zing to your diet but also boasts of a range of health benefits.

One of the primary uses of ginger lies in its ability to soothe digestive and abdominal discomforts, such as nausea, indigestion, and motion sickness (1). It is also revered for its anti-inflammatory properties. Individuals often use it as a natural remedy for pain relief, particularly in the case of arthritis (2). Furthermore, ginger has immune-boosting qualities that can help fend off common colds and flu (3).

However, excessive use of ginger can also result in some side effects. Learn more about them below.





Woman suffering with heartburn

Ginger, when taken in higher doses (more than 4 grams per day), may cause mild heartburn. As per anecdotal evidence, other likely side effects include an upset stomach and belching.

In case you are using ginger as an alternative remedy and are experiencing heartburn as a side effect, you may want to try ginger in the capsule form. This might not result in side effects.

An American study reports heartburn in subjects who were given ginger (4). Most often, consuming more than 5 grams of ginger per day can lead to these side effects, including heartburn (5).

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Have alkaline foods like bananas and melons along with foods rich in water, like watermelon, to soothe your heartburn.



Ginger may aggravate bleeding issues (6). This applies not only to the herb, but also to any ingredient present in the herb.

Certain experts believe that ginger could cause bleeding due to its anti-platelet (blood thinning) properties (7). Some believe ginger can further increase the risk of bleeding when taken along with other herbs like cloves, garlic, ginseng, and red clover. However, more research is warranted in this aspect.



If taken in large quantities, ginger can cause diarrhea. Gingerols, the active ingredients in ginger, speed up the passage of food through the intestines and may cause diarrhea (8). While this was confirmed in animal studies, more studies in humans are warranted.

Diarrhea can occur when the stool moves too rapidly through the gastrointestinal tract. Abnormal gastrointestinal motility and excessive fluid secretion of the gastrointestinal tract cause diarrhea.


Woman suffering with upset stomach

There is less research in this regard. Ginger stimulates the secretion of bile, which benefits digestion. But if your stomach is empty, this may lead to excess gastric stimulation, causing digestive distress and an upset stomach.

The gingerol in ginger (which is similar to capsaicin, the active ingredient in many spices and chili peppers) is thought to irritate the stomach, making it produce more acid. This may leave you feeling unsettled.

In fact, a review of five studies conducted on 593 patients to check for ginger’s efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis found an astonishing result. It was found that the participants who were given ginger were 2.33 times more likely to discontinue treatment than the ones who were given placebo despite experiencing pain reduction. This is because they experienced various forms of stomach upset or simply did not like the taste of ginger.

However, some evidence states that ginger could actually help treat an upset stomach (9). Hence, more studies are needed to understand how ginger may cause stomach upset.


Pregnant woman

Though ginger can reduce nausea in pregnant women, it is important to note the herb’s dark side as well. According to certain experts, consuming ginger can increase the risk of miscarriage (10). It may not be dangerous if the dosage is below 1500 mg per day (1). Anything beyond this could be unsafe for pregnant women.

Taking ginger supplements in large doses can also cause miscarriage and other complications. Though ginger is safe when used in amounts found in food, it can cause problems during pregnancy. Excess intake of ginger during pregnancy may also lead to acid reflux and heartburn (1).

Ginger can increases the bleeding risk by decreasing aggregation of platelets (11). Hence, mothers who have lost a significant amount of blood during childbirth must abstain from ginger during the early days following childbirth.


Man suffering with bloating

Ginger tea may cause certain mild digestive side effects. It most often impacts the upper digestive system and causes upper digestive gas. Replacing ginger with supplements could be one solution to this. But make sure you talk to your doctor before using them.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, ginger may cause gas (12).

Some believe the same could happen with ginger ale, the carbonated drink. The drink may aggravate bloating in certain individuals.


Checking blood sugar levels

Ginger is usually known to aid diabetes treatment by lowering blood sugar levels. However, taking it along with diabetes medication may cause problems (13). Ginger may enhance the effects of the medication and cause hypoglycemia a condition that leads to excessive low blood sugar levels.



This is also called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Certain allergies occur when you consume certain foods. The symptoms are generally specific to the ears, skin, and mouth. One such allergy occurs when you consume ginger (not in all individuals, though), where your mouth starts to itch.

Mouth irritation might also lead to an unpleasant taste. Though switching to a ginger supplement might help, this is not always the case. Other related allergies include tingling and swelling of the mouth. However, limited research is available in this aspect, and we need further studies to understand why ginger may cause these allergies




According to an Iranian study, the most common allergic reaction to ginger is a skin rash (14). Other allergies to ginger include itchy eyes, skin redness, and skin inflammation.

These are the major side effects of ginger. But there are certain other ill-effects of ginger (or of the different forms of ginger) that you need to be aware of.

Side Effects Of Eating Ginger In Other Forms



Consuming ginger root in excess can cause stomach discomfort and a bad taste in the mouth. It might also cause nausea (6)



Anecdotal evidence suggests that turmeric ginger tea may cause complications in individuals with a history of kidney stones or gallstones. The tea may aggravate the condition by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood. It may also cause stomach cramping and bloating. However, there is less research in this regard. Hence, consult your doctor.


The only side effect of this tea that was noted was frequent urination. Excess consumption of lemon ginger tea (or any beverage for that matter) may cause frequent urination. Hence, limit the intake of this beverage.


This is also known as ginger tea in certain regions. The side effects are similar to that of ginger, which include heartburn, stomach ache, gas, and a burning sensation in the mouth.

Another side effect of ginger water (the tea) is that it may disturb your sleep. This means that it can keep you up for a long time at night if you consume it before hitting the bed. However, limited information is available to support this point.


Research is limited in this area. One dangerous side effect of ginger ale could be its possible interaction with cancer medications. It can also aggravate gallbladder disease.



The major problem with ginger supplements is their tendency to interact with prescription medications. Most of their side effects are similar to that of raw ginger.

Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, LD, ACSM-CPT, says, “For most people, ginger is safe to eat raw when eaten in amounts typically used in food and recipes. Eating more than 5 grams of raw ginger or taking ginger supplements may increase your chances of digestive issues, such as heartburn, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.”

Ginger was found to have anti-diabetic properties. If taken along with anti-diabetes medications, ginger (or its capsules) can lower blood sugar levels way too much (15).

Ginger has been closely related to turmeric (also called yellow ginger) for its therapeutic properties. However, turmeric too may have side effects, if taken in excess amounts. Turmeric may interact with certain medications. These include cardiovascular drugs, antibiotics, anticoagulantsi


drugs, and antihistamines (16). Though research is limited to conclude the medical interactions of yellow ginger, it is important to exercise caution.




Stephanie says, “Ginger can interact with some medications, particularly blood thinners that slow blood clotting and some blood pressure medications. It may also interfere with diabetes medications that lower blood sugar, medications that suppress the immune system, and certain antibiotics. If you take any of these medications, speak with your doctor before adding ginger or ginger supplements to your diet.”

Ginger also interacts with other drugs like phenprocoumon (a drug used in Europe to slow blood clotting) and warfarin (another drug to slow down blood clotting). Consuming ginger along with these medications might increase your risk of bruising and bleeding (6). So, if you are wondering when not to take ginger, try avoiding it if you consume any of these medications.



Dosages of around 1500 mg per day were found to treat nausea (14). Going beyond this dosage may cause adverse effects, though information is unclear. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor.

If it is ginger root, the following dosages may be ideal (these are just guidelines; for ideal values, please consult your doctor):

  • For children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, not more than 2 mg of ginger root in a day.
  • For adults, not more than 4 grams of ginger root in a day.
  • For pregnant women, not more than 1 gram of ginger root in a day


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