Ginger has no known dose that causes toxicity, and serious side effects from consuming ginger are rare. However, if you want to use ginger medicinally, it’s still best to proceed with caution and consult a doctor before beginning because minor side effects are possible from the over-consumption of ginger and it can interact with certain drugs. Ginger is often used for pregnancy-related nausea, motion sickness, nausea following medical treatments and to fight inflammation.
When ginger is consumed in extremely high quantities it can cause diarrhea, mouth irritation and heartburn, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Bloating, flatulence, stomach upset and sedation are other possible side effects.
If you have a bleeding disorder, avoid consuming ginger, because it may worsen your condition, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Consuming ginger along with blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin and warfarin, also raises your risk for bleeding or bruising. Your risk of bruising or bleeding due to consuming ginger also is raised when you use other herbs that affect blood platelet aggregation, such as garlic, danshen, turmeric and ginkgo biloba.
Also consult a doctor before eating ginger if you have diabetes or take drugs to treat high blood pressure. You increase your risk of hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar -- if you consume ginger while taking diabetes medicines such as insulin, miglitol and glyburide. If you take ginger with medicines to treat blood pressure, it may interfere with the drug’s action.
If you use digitalis to treat a heart condition, eating too much ginger will be harmful because it will increase the effects of this drug. Symptoms of digitalis toxicity include an irregular pulse, palpitations, confusion, appetite loss, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Rarely this toxicity leads to vision disturbances such as seeing spots, blurred vision, seeing bright spots or lights or halos around objects. Other symptoms may include decreased urine output, overall swelling, decreased consciousness, a hard time breathing when lying down and excessive urination at night.
No amount of ginger is safe if you are allergic to it. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include tightness in your chest, swelling in your mouth, face or throat, itching, difficulty breathing, hives or a rash. Seek immediate medical attention if you have these symptoms after consuming ginger.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- Drugs.com: Ginger Side Effects
- “The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide”; George T. Grossberg and Barry Fox; 2007
- “Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances”; Donald G. Barceloux; 2008
- “Meyler’s Side Effects of Herbal Medicines": J. K. Aaronson; 2008
- MedlinePlus: Digitalis
- Blue Jean Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.