For over two thousand years Chinese Medicine has recommended ginger to treat a number of health problems including abdominal bloating, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and rheumatism. Ginger is also used in the Ayurvedic and Tibetan systems of medicine for the treatment of inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism and a variety of other conditions.Proposed Medical Benefits of Ginger
Although officially recognized as a remedy for appetite loss, indigestion and motion sickness, ginger root has a proven ability to combat all forms of nausea and vomiting. It has also been taken to loosen phlegm, relieve gas, and tighten the tissues, although its effectiveness for these purposes hasn't been proven. Comparisons between ginger and prescription or non-prescription drugs for motion sickness relief have been conducted, but results were inconclusive. However, in some of these studies, similar effectiveness was seen between ginger and drugs.
Ginger may also ease sore throats, headaches, ulcerative colitis, some types of menstrual and arthritis pain, and fevers and aches caused by colds and flu.
Ginger has also been used in connection with minor gastrointestinal problems such as gas or heartburn. It is thought to improve muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract. A few studies have provided preliminary evidence suggesting that ginger may be also useful in relieving both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other traditional uses for ginger, such as for relieving toothaches, have not been proven by clinical studies. More research is needed for these and other possible uses of ginger. Ginger Constituents
Ginger contains approximately 1-4 volatile oils. These active constituents are believed to be responsible for ginger's medicinal effects as well as its characteristic odor and taste. The aromatic constituents in ginger include zingiberene and bisabolene, while the pungent constituents are known as gingerols and shogaols. It is these later constituents, gingerol and shogaol, that are most likely responsible for the anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects of ginger.Dosage and Administration
For commercial preparations, the following dosages are most common.
- Indigestion: 2 to 4 grams a day
- Motion sickness: 1 gram 30 minutes before travel; for continuing symptoms, 0.5 to 1 gram every 4 hours.
- To prevent vomiting: 0.5 to 2 grams daily
- Arthritis: 1 to 2 grams daily
- Pregnancy: For nausea associated with pregnancy, women can take up to 1 gram daily, but should not use ginger for extended period of time.
No dosage recommendations are made for children.Supporting LiteratureGrontved A, Brask T, Kambskard J, Hentzer E. Ginger root against seasickness. Acta Otolaryngol 1988;105:45-49.
Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 39-42.
Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders. Medical Hypotheses. 1992;39:343-348.
Vutyavanich T, Kraisarin T, Ruangsri R. Ginger for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2001;97(4):577-582