Researchers have today revealed results of a new study at the 51st ESPGHAN Annual Meeting which proves the effectiveness of using ginger to treat vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis.
Acute gastroenteritis is one of the most common conditions in children, with all expected to suffer from the illness within the first three years of life. There are between 3-5 billion cases each year.
In three quarters of the children, vomiting is reported – contributing to fluid loss and oral rehydration failure, which can be life-threatening. This results in admission to paediatric emergency departments.
Globally, acute gastroenteritis is one of the leading causes of childhood mortality, accounting for 1.34 million childhood deaths a year, which is approximately 15% of all childhood deaths.
Studying the effects of ginger
The research team, led by Dr Roberto Berni Canani, has proven that ginger is effective at reducing both the duration and severity of vomiting. This has led to fewer hospitalisations and missed work days by parents.
The placebo-controlled trial was double-blind and randomised. It looked at 141 children between the ages of one and ten with acute gastroenteritis and compared the effectiveness of ginger with a placebo in treating the condition.
Vomiting episodes were 20% less in the group treated with ginger. Previous studies have already proven the effectiveness of ginger when treating vomiting in pregnant women and adults undergoing chemotherapy, but this is the first study of its kind to test ginger in children.
Improving future clinical practice
Canani said: “Acute gastroenteritis is not just an unpleasant condition for children. It has a significant burden on parents, schools, and healthcare systems.
“We anticipate that the results will have a great impact on future clinical practice and the advice given to parents in the treatment of acute gastroenteritis and could potentially save lives across Europe and the globe.”
He added: “Research should now focus on whether ginger could also be effective in treating vomiting children who are not affected by acute gastroenteritis.”
Press release: ESPGHAN Annual Meeting