Don’t get cute about acute gastro: Just take ginger
New tests show that remedies using the root can no longer be dismissed as old wives’ tales
Ginger is known as a folklore remedy for nausea and vomiting but now a scientific study shows the knobby root helps to treat vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis.
Acute gastroenteritis is a common cause of emergency hospital visits for children and a leading cause of childhood deaths, estimated at 1.34 million deaths a year.
Within the first three years of life all kids are expected to get acute gastro. Three quarters of them will have vomiting, contributing to oral dehydration which can be life threatening.
Dr Roberto Berni Canani’s team from the University of Naples, in Italy, have proved that “ginger is effective at reducing both the duration and the severity of vomiting, leading to fewer lost school days”.The clinical trial enrolling 141 children, between one and 10, found that:
Vomiting was 20% less in the group treated with ginger than a placebo.
The number of children missing school for at least a day was 28% less.
This was a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, essentially the gold standard of scientific study. Ginger remedies can no longer be dismissed as old wives’ tales.
Prior studies have found ginger to be effective at treating vomiting in adults undergoing chemotherapy and pregnant women, but this is the first time it has been tested on children.Ginger is accessible and affordable, and globally there are some three to five billion cases of gastro a year worldwide.
More than half the global cases of gastroenteritis are caused by noroviruses, which can be spread by air up to several metres.
Noroviruses and bacteria have become more common causes of diarrhoea in South Africa since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine, which protects against strains of the rotavirus, into the childhood immunisation programme.
The rotavirus vaccine has proven to be effective in reducing severe diarrhoea and infant deaths.
Canani said: “Acute gastroenteritis is not just an unpleasant condition for children. It has a significant burden on parents, schools and the healthcare system.
“ We anticipate that the results will have a great impact on future clinical practice … and could potentially save lives across Europe and the globe.”..