Ginger can prevent stomach upset from many sources, including pregnancy, motion sickness, and chemotherapy. “This is one of Mom’s remedies that really works,” says Suzanna M. Zick, ND, MPH, a research investigator at the University of Michigan. A powerful antioxidant, ginger works by blocking the effects of serotonin, a chemical produced by both the brain and stomach when you’re nauseated, and by stopping the production of free radicals, another cause of upset in your stomach.
MORE: The Smoothie Cure For Gas And Bloating
It might also: Decrease your blood pressure, arthritis pain, and cancer risk. Ginger helps regulate blood flow, which may lower blood pressure, says Zick, and its anti-inflammatory properties might help ease arthritis. Ginger extract had a significant effect on reducing pain in all 124 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, in a study conducted at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami. Those same anti-inflammatory powers help powdered ginger kill ovarian cancer cells as well as—or better than—traditional chemotherapy, at least in the test tube, found a study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Maximize the benefits: For nausea, ginger is best taken before symptoms start, at least 30 minutes before departure, say the Graedons. They recommend capsules containing 500 to 1,000 mg of dried ginger every four hours, up to a maximum of 4g daily.