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HERBS: Ginger


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Ginger

Ginger

Scientific name

Zingiber officinale

Other names

Zingiberis rhizoma, zingiberaceae, ginger root, shen jiang

Purported uses

  • To stimulate the appetite: Ginger is known to stimulate the flow of saliva and digestive secretions, but no clinical trials have been performed to test this use.
  • To treat colic and reduce gas in the stomach and intestine: Compounds found in ginger are known to calm the contractions of the stomach and intestine, but no clinical trials have been performed to test this use. 
  • To treat diarrhea: Compounds found in ginger are known to calm the contractions of the stomach and intestine, but no clinical trials have been performed to test this use.
  • To relieve symptoms of drug withdrawal: Clinical trials show that ginger can relieve nausea, but no scientific evidence supports its use for any other symptoms of drug withdrawal.
  • To relieve indigestion: Ginger is known to stimulate the flow of saliva and digestive secretions, but no clinical trials have been performed to evaluate this use.
  • To treat nausea and vomiting: Several clinical trials support the use of ginger for short-term treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness, and surgical anesthesia.
  • To promote urination: No scientific evidence supports this use. 
  • To treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis: The few clinical trials that studied this use have shown some, although not very strong, support.
  • To calm muscle spasms: No scientific evidence supports this use

Adverse reactions

  • Common: Heartburn and dermatitis
  • Toxicity: CNS depression and arrhythmias have occurred following overdose.

Drug interactions

  • Anticoagulants / Antiplatelets: Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • H2-blockers / Proton pump inhibitors: Ginger may antagonize activity by increasing stomach acid production.
  • Antihypertensives: Ginger may cause additive hypotensive effects.
  • Hypoglycemics / Insulin: Ginger may cause additive reductions in blood glucose.

References

1. Newall, CA et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professional. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

2. Fetrow CW, et al. Professional’s Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Philadelphia: Springhouse; 1999.

3. Bisset NG. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals; a Handbook for Practice on Scientific Basis. Boca Raton: Medpharm Publishers; 1994.

4. Lumb AB. Mechanism of antiemetic effect of ginger. Anaesthesia 1993;48:1118.

5. Srivastava KC. Isolation and effects of some ginger components on platelet aggregation and eicosanoid biosynthesis. Prostaglandins Leukot Med 1986;25:187-98.

6. Lumb AB. Effect of dried ginger on human platelet function. Thromb Haemost 1994;71:110-1.

7. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 2nd ed. Sandy (OR) Eclectic Med. Publications; 1998.

8. Vutyavanich T, Kraisarin T, Ruangsri R. Ginger for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2001;97:577-82.

9. Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systemic review of randomized clinical trials. Br J Anaesth 2000;84:367-71.

10. Schechter JO. Treatment of disequilibrium and nausea in the SRI discontinuation syndrome. J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59:431-2.

11. Kim DS, Kim DS, Oppel MN. Shogaols from Zingiber officinale protect IMR32 human neuroblastoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from beta-amyloid(25-35) insult. Planta Med 2002;68:375-6.

12. Phillips B, et al. Zingiber officinale (ginger)-- an antiemetic for day case surgery. Anaesthesia 1993;48:715-7.

13. Bone ME, et al. Ginger root—a new antemetic. The effect of ginger on postoperative nausea and vomiting after major gynaecological surgery. Anaesthesia 1990;45:669-71.

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Overview of Herbs | Alfalfa | Aloe Vera | Burdock | Capsaicin | Cascara | Chamomile | Chaparral | Comfrey | Echinacea | Garlic | Ginger | Ginseng (Asian) | Ginseng (American) | Gotu Kola | Hawthorn | Licorice | Ephedra | Milk Thistle | Sassafras | Blue-Green Algae