What to know about ginger for diarrhea

Ginger is a well-known natural treatment for diarrhea. It can help treat some of the causes of diarrhea and relieve gastrointestinal symptoms. Popular preparations that can be used as home remedies include ginger tea and ginger ale.
Research increasingly points to the value of ginger as a natural diarrhea remedy. Herbal practitioners have long used ginger to prevent muscle spasms. This property of ginger can reduce the frequency of urges to have a bowel movement, and can ease the pain of diarrhea.

Western medical practitioners are now interested in the role ginger can play in preventing gastrointestinal problems, including morning sickness, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and nausea.

Fast facts on ginger for diarrhea:

  • Ginger is rich in a variety of beneficial plant chemicals called phytochemicals.
  • Ginger may also relieve other gastrointestinal problems, such as food poisoning.
  • Ginger is unlikely to cause serious side effects.

Research on ginger and diarrhea

Woman clutching stomach in pain because of IBS.
Various studies have found that ginger may help to treat diarrhea.
Sudden, severe diarrhea may be due to bacteria called Escherichia coli (E. coli). Other infections, such as listeria, may also cause diarrhea. A limited body of research suggests that ginger might be a natural remedy for these infections.

A 2015 study assessed the ability of ginger and garlic to fight listeria and E. coli in a petri dish. Both spices slowed the growth of these bacterial infections.

A 2007 study on mice found that ginger reduced the severity of diarrhea caused by E. coli.

A 2011 study of guinea pigs suggests that ginger may change the behavior of neurotransmitters and other chemicals linked to gastrointestinal distress, including nausea and vomiting.

Research published in 2012 found that ginger could prevent or reduce diarrhea in pigs.

Should you eat ginger for diarrhea or IBS?

Ginger is safe and well tolerated, which means there are few risks associated with using it for stomach pain or diarrhea. Even studies that do not support the use of ginger to treat stomach pain find few or no adverse effects.

Research does not support the use of ginger to treat IBS. However, a 2014 study of ginger for IBS noted more negative side effects with a placebo than with ginger.

When not to use ginger for diarrhea

As with all natural remedies, ginger is not a cure-all for gastrointestinal problems and is not a substitute for medical treatment. Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration. Severe diarrhea may signal an untreated medical condition and can be fatal in children.

People who experience severe diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days should seek medical care.

Side effects

Some people report a burning sensation in the mouth or nose. Ginger can irritate the mucous membranes, so wash hands after preparing ginger and before touching the face.

People with a history of food allergies, pregnant and breast-feeding women and those with compromised immune systems should consult a doctor before trying ginger or ginger supplements.

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