Zingiber officinale Roscoe. Family: Zingiberaceae
ginger root, zingiberis rhizoma
Ginger is a perennial plant. It has grass-like leaves. The spice ginger is made from
the root of the ginger plant. It’s been used for more than 2,500 years. The root contains
essential oils and resins. These give ginger its odor and spicy flavor. They’re also
responsible for its medicinal uses.
Ginger has active ingredients called gingerols. This is the medicinal part of the
plant. Gingerols are cardiotonic in animals. In humans, ginger helps treat nausea
Medically valid uses
Ginger is used mainly to treat nausea, upset stomach, and other stomach issues. Ginger
reduces nausea through a direct effect on the stomach rather than on the central nervous
There are conflicting reports about whether ginger increases the speed of stomach
emptying. A large study showed it had no effect. But it increases movement of the
rest of the gastrointestinal system.
Ginger has been used to treat nausea due to mild gastrointestinal infections and pregnancy.
It also treats nausea due to vertigo, nausea after surgery, and vomiting from chemotherapy. Studies
show mixed results for these effects. But research shows that ginger is safe and effective
for pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness. These effects are due to the
Ginger also contains gomgerol and shogaol. They both aid in pain relief and decrease
There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.
Ginger may work as an anti-inflammatory substance. It may help treat arthritis and
arthralgia. It may also decrease pain from arthritis.
Ginger is thought to get in the way of how prostaglandins and leukotrienes are made.
These are natural chemicals that cause inflammation.
Gingerols are being studied as an anti-cancer substance. Gingerols may interfere with
tumorigenesis. This is the generation of tumors.
Ginger is available in the form of oral tablets, crystals, and powder. It’s also made
into dried or fresh root tea.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
In normal doses, ginger may cause heartburn and bloating.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers
before taking any herbal medicines.
There are no major food or medicine interactions linked with ginger. But some experts
think it may change the effects of blood thinners (anticoagulants). Talk with your
healthcare provider before taking ginger if you take blood thinner medicine.