Design: Double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: A tertiary metropolitan teaching hospital, March 1999–November 1999.
Participants: The participants included 120 women less than 20 weeks pregnant, who had experienced morning sickness daily for at least a week and had had no relief of symptoms through dietary changes.
Intervention: Random allocation of 125 mg ginger extract (EV.EXT35; equivalent to 1.5 g of dried ginger) or placebo given four times per day for 4 days.
Main outcome measures: Nausea, vomiting and retching as measured by the Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting and Retching.
Results: The nausea experience score was significantly less for the ginger extract group relative to the placebo group after the first day of treatment and this difference was present for each treatment day. Retching was also reduced by the ginger extract although to a lesser extent. No significant effect was observed on vomiting. Follow-up of the pregnancies revealed normal ranges of birthweight, gestational age, Apgar scores and frequencies of congenital abnormalities when the study group infants were compared to the general population of infants born at the Royal Hospital for Women for the year 1999–2000.
Conclusion: Ginger can be considered as a useful treatment option for women suffering from morning sickness.
Key words: ginger, pregnancy, nausea, Zingiber officinale, morning sickness