Can Ginger make Anxiety (and Depression) Worse?
It was the oddest thing to me when my korean acupuncturist/ herbalist told me to stay away from ginger one day. He proclaimed that I had too much fire and that spices, particularly ginger, would make my condition worse. Fyi My condition is mainly a combination of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a compromised immune system, candida, hormonal imbalance and mood disorder- specifically anxiety. However the strangest thing to me was that I had a few different gastroenterologists (stomach doctors) actually prescribe ginger pills for me to take before I went to sleep at night. Ginger is supposed to help with gut motility.
I started to notice that something was wrong with the ginger pills when I began to get stomach cramps after taking them. Upon complaint, one of my doctors actually suggested replacing the ginger pills with a low dose psychotropic drug for depression. Ofcourse, being adamantly against the use of pharmaceuticals, especially psychotropic drugs, I did not take the doctor's advice. Instead I just stopped taking the ginger pills... and continued my search for a better holistic doctor.
However, it wasn't until I completely eliminated ginger from my diet and then accidentally ingested it again, that I knew ginger was a big problem for me! How so? Because the anxiety that I was no longer experiencing began to resurface again. At first I was unaware that ginger was the culprit. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what went wrong. What did I eat? Or what new supplement did I take? It finally dawned on me. I had decided to start taking my Vitamineral Green powder again...and lo and behold, one of the ingredients was ginger powder! How profound that one tiny little ingredient had thrown my mood off so terribly. The anxiety was getting progressively worse every day...until ofcourse, I figured out that it was the vitamineral green powder that was causing the anxiety. Well, not the vitamineral green powder itself, but the ginger powder in it. After I stopped taking the powder, the anxiety simply disappeared.
Before I found my current korean acupuncturist/ herbalist, I had started to see another acupuncturist who told me to drink ginger and orange peel tea everyday. She said my condition was very bad. At the time I had a cough that wouldn't go away and I was feeling particularly weak. Well, guess what? My condition only got worse with the ginger and orange peel tea. I decided to stop seeing this lady because I realized something was amiss. That's when I found my current acupuncturist who couldn't believe that my previous acupuncturist was telling me to drink ginger tea all day long. He insisted that I must stay away from ginger. And with his recommendation, and his amazing herbs, I grew stronger and became healthy again. Thank goodness I found Dr. Kim!
But I began to wonder how in the hell a few of my gastroenterologists could have been prescribing ginger pills for me, all the while I was suffering from anxiety...and the pills were making me worse! Apparently these doctors were not aware of the detrimental effects that ginger could have on a mood disorder. So much for western holistic medicine right? I would've never guessed that ginger could have such negative side effects! Amazing! Could you even imagine? We have all been taught to believe that ginger is good for us. Right? We take ginger when we're sick. Drink it in tea, etc... But the truth of the matter is that ginger is good for some and not good for others. It is definitely not good for those suffering from anxiety...and from what I've read, it doesn't help depression either!
To get a better understanding of why this is the case, one must take a look at Chinese/ Asian Medicine and their dietary suggestions. According to Chinese/ Asian Medicine, besides ginger, foods to avoid if suffering from depression and/ or anxiety are spicy or hot foods like chili peppers, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, chocolate as well as greasy or congesting foods such as dairy, alcohol, fatty foods, sugar, soy milk, bananas and pineapple. I personally do not eat any of the foods/ spices on this list accept for the occasional bit of garlic found in salad dressings at certain restaurants I eat at. This tiny bit of occasional garlic doesn't seem to be a problem, however I am careful to watch for any negative symptoms that may arise.
Diet plays a huge role in health. It's important to monitor what we ingest. One simple ingredient elimination can make all the difference! So if you are suffering from anxiety (or depression), I highly suggest eliminating ginger from your diet to see if it makes a difference. Perhaps try eliminating other things on the elimination list as well? I suggest eliminating one food item at a time so that keeping track of symptoms doesn't become too confusing. I have a feeling your results will be quite surprising! Wishing you the very best on your journey to perfect health!
Jennie Haiman is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!