Newsletters - May-June 2000

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Motion sickness, commonly called travel sickness, occurs when the balance organs in the inner air are overstimulated by repeated small changes in the body’s position or under conditions where visual contact with the outside horizon are lost. Symptoms include nausea, headache, and tiredness which may progress to vomiting. Conditions that commonly lead to motion sickness include travel in rough seas, turbulent flights, and bumpy drives.

Recently, researchers at the Digestive Disease Week meetings held in San Diego have reported that ginger is effective in reducing the nausea associated with motion sickness.

Ginger has been traditionally used in China to alleviate nausea, and Dr. Wei Ming Sun and colleagues from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor proved this in their clinical study.

Wei and coworkers induced motion sickness in 7 healthy subjects, aged 18 to 35 years, by spinning them in a large drum for 30 minutes after they ate. Each participant received either 1,000 mg ginger powder or a placebo pill one hour before motion sickness was induced.

At the end of the experiment, the following findings were reported:

  1. Nausea scores during the drum rotation, rated on a scale from 1 to 3, were significantly lower for the group that received ginger powder (average ginger group score = 1.0) than for the control group (average placebo group score = 2.5).
  2. Nausea scores after the drum rotation, rated on a scale of 1 to 10, were also in favor of the ginger group subjects (average nausea score for ginger group = 1.5; average nausea score for placebo group = 7.8).
  3. Subjects who took ginger experienced a greater delay in developing nausea compared to those of the control group (11.4 minutes for the ginger group compared to 4.6 minutes for the control group).

The authors have attributed ginger’s effectiveness in reducing motion sickness to its ability to normalize the rate at which the stomach contracts during accelerations of movement. Through electrical activity measurements, it was determined that ginger kept the rate of stomach contractions normal during drum rotation, while subjects who took the placebo experienced a 7% increase in stomach contractions.

Ginger appears to be an effective herbal alternative to the conventional antihistamine drugs used to treat motion sickness that cause significant side effects, such as dizziness and dry mouth.

  1. Reuters Health
    Sabinsa Corporation supplies ginger extracts, Ginger Dry Extract standardized for a minimum of 5% gingerols and Ginger Soft Extract standardized for a minimum of 20% gingerols.

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