Who should avoid ginger? Interactions with medications


Who should avoid ginger?

Ginger is generally considered safe for most people, but there are specific groups who should be cautious or avoid it:

  1. Pregnant Women: While ginger can help alleviate morning sickness, high doses might be risky for pregnant women, particularly in the late stages of pregnancy.
  2. People with Bleeding Disorders: Ginger can slow blood clotting, so it may increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Those taking blood thinners or have a history of bleeding disorders should be cautious.
  3. People with Gallstones: Ginger can increase bile production, which might be harmful for people with gallbladder issues, like gallstones.
  4. People Undergoing Surgery: Due to its blood-thinning properties, it’s usually advised to avoid ginger at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.
  5. People with Low Blood Pressure or on Blood Pressure Medications: Ginger can lower blood pressure, which might cause issues for those already on blood pressure medications or those with naturally low blood pressure.
  6. People with Heart Conditions: Though ginger can be beneficial for heart health, those with certain heart conditions should consult with their doctor before using it.

What medications should not be taken with ginger?

Ginger can interact with certain medications, and it’s important to be cautious if you are taking any of the following:

  1. Blood Thinners (Anticoagulants and Antiplatelets): Ginger can enhance the effects of blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin, increasing the risk of bleeding.
  2. Diabetes Medications: Ginger can lower blood sugar levels, potentially enhancing the effects of diabetes medications and leading to hypoglycemia. Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels is advised if you are taking medications like insulin, metformin, or sulfonylureas.
  3. High Blood Pressure Medications (Antihypertensives): Since ginger can lower blood pressure, it might cause blood pressure to drop too low if used in conjunction with blood pressure medications like beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, or calcium channel blockers.
  4. Immune Suppressants: Ginger has immune-boosting properties, which might counteract the effects of drugs that suppress the immune system, such as those used following organ transplants.
  5. Antacids, H2 Blockers, and Proton-Pump Inhibitors: Ginger can affect the stomach’s acid levels, potentially interfering with medications used for heartburn and GERD, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), ranitidine (Zantac), and antacids.
  6. Cardiac Glycosides: Ginger can affect heart rhythms and might interact with heart medications like digoxin.

When not to take ginger tea?

Ginger tea is a popular and generally safe herbal drink, but there are certain situations where it might be best to avoid or limit its consumption:

  1. If You Have Bleeding Disorders: Ginger can slow blood clotting, potentially increasing the risk of bleeding, especially in individuals with bleeding disorders.
  2. If You Are Taking Blood Thinners: Similar to its effects on bleeding disorders, ginger can interact with blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and clopidogrel (Plavix), increasing the risk of bleeding.
  3. Before Surgery: Due to its blood-thinning properties, it’s generally advised to avoid ginger tea for at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.
  4. If You Have Gallbladder Disease: Ginger stimulates bile production, which could exacerbate conditions like gallstones.
  5. If You Are Pregnant: While ginger tea can help with morning sickness, excessive amounts might be risky, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.
  6. If You Have Low Blood Pressure or Are on Blood Pressure Medications: Ginger can lower blood pressure, which might be a concern for those already on blood pressure medications or those with hypotension.
  7. If You Suffer from Heartburn or GERD: In some people, ginger can exacerbate heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  8. If You Have a High Fever or Sweating Profusely: Ginger tea can warm the body and induce sweating, which might not be ideal if you’re already overheating.
  9. If You Are Sensitive or Allergic to Ginger: Some people might have allergic reactions or sensitivity to ginger.
  10. If You Have Certain Heart Conditions: Consult a doctor if you have heart conditions, as ginger can affect heart rates and rhythms.

Ginger on empty stomach side effects

Consuming ginger on an empty stomach can have different effects on individuals, and while many people tolerate it well, some may experience side effects. Here are some potential side effects of taking ginger on an empty stomach:

  1. Gastrointestinal Irritation: Ginger can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, or stomach discomfort, especially if consumed on an empty stomach.
  2. Acid Reflux or Heartburn: For some people, ginger can exacerbate acid reflux or heartburn, particularly when taken without any food to buffer its effects.
  3. Nausea: While ginger is often used to alleviate nausea, in some cases, especially if consumed in large amounts on an empty stomach, it might actually cause or worsen nausea.
  4. Diarrhea or Increased Bowel Movements: Ginger can speed up the digestive process, which might lead to diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements in some people.
  5. Lower Blood Sugar Levels: Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Taking it on an empty stomach might enhance this effect, which could be a concern for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  6. Lower Blood Pressure: Ginger can also lower blood pressure, and taking it on an empty stomach might increase this effect. This could be a problem for people with low blood pressure or those taking blood pressure medications.
Last update: 17 January 2024, 10:00


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group