Ginger

Botanicals

18/Description

About

Ginger is a plant with leafy stems and yellowish green flowers. The ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant. Ginger is native to warmer parts of Asia, such as China, Japan, and India, but now is grown in parts of South American and Africa. It is also now grown in the Middle East to use as medicine and with food.

Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of "stomach problems," including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea caused by HIV/AIDS treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite.

Other uses include pain relief from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, respiratory problems, migraine headache, bronchitis, and diabetes. Ginger is also sometimes used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain, discontinuing use of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anorexia, to stimulate breast milk, as a diuretic, and to increase sweating. It is also used to treat cholera, bleeding, bacterial bloody diarrhea, baldness, malaria, inflamed testicles, poisonous snake bites, and toothaches.

Some people pour the fresh juice on their skin to treat burns. The oil made from ginger is sometimes applied to the skin to relieve pain. Ginger extract is also applied to the skin to prevent insect bites.

In foods and beverages, ginger is used as a flavoring agent.

In manufacturing, ginger is used as for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

One of the chemicals in ginger is also used as an ingredient in laxative, anti-gas, and antacid medications.

How it works

Ginger contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
Nausea and vomiting caused by HIV/AIDS treatment

Research suggests that taking ginger daily, 30 minutes before each dose of antiretroviral treatment for 14 days, reduces the risk of nausea and vomiting in patients receiving HIV treatment.

Painful menstrual periods

Research shows that taking ginger powder 500-2000 mg during the first 3-4 days of a menstrual cycle modestly decreases pain in women with painful menstrual periods. Some specific doses that have been used include 500 mg of ginger three times daily and a specific ginger extract (Zintoma, Goldaru) 250 mg four times daily. Doses were given for 3 days starting at the beginning of the menstrual period. The specific ginger extract (Zintoma) seems to work about as well as the medications ibuprofen or mefenamic acid.

Morning sickness

Taking ginger by mouth seems to reduce nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. But it might work slower or not as well as some drugs used for nausea. Also, taking any herb or medication during pregnancy is a big decision. Before taking ginger, be sure to discuss the possible risks with your healthcare provider.

Osteoarthritis

Some research shows that taking ginger can modestly reduce pain in some people with a form of arthritis called "osteoarthritis." One study shows that taking 250 mg of a specific ginger extract (Zintona EC) four times daily reduces arthritis pain in the knee after 3 months of treatment. Another study shows that using a different ginger extract (Eurovita Extract 77; EV ext-77), which combines a ginger with alpinia, also reduces pain upon standing, pain after walking, and stiffness. Some research has compared ginger to medications such as ibuprofen. In one study, a specific ginger extract (Eurovita Extract 33; EV ext-33) did not reduce arthritis pain as well as taking 400 mg of ibuprofen three times daily. But in another study, taking 500 mg of ginger extract twice daily worked about as well as 400 mg of ibuprofen three times daily for hip and knee pain related to arthritis. In another study, a specific ginger extract combined with glucosamine (Zinaxin glucosamine, EV ext-35) worked as well as the anti-inflammatory medication diclofenac slow release (100 mg daily) plus glucosamine sulfate (1 gram daily). Research also suggests that massage therapy using an oil containing ginger and orange seems to reduce short-term stiffness and pain in people with knee pain.

Nausea and vomiting following surgery

Most clinical research shows that taking 1 to 1.5 gram of ginger one hour before surgery seems to reduce nausea and vomiting during the first 24 hours after surgery. One study found ginger reduced nausea and vomiting by 38%. Also, applying 5% ginger oil to patients' wrists before surgery seems to prevent nausea in about 80% of patients. However, taking ginger by mouth might not reduce nausea and vomiting in the period 3-6 hours after surgery. Also, ginger might not have additive effects when used with medications for nausea and vomiting. In addition, ginger might not lower the risk of nausea and vomiting after surgery in people who have a low risk for this event.

Dizziness (vertigo)

Taking ginger seems to reduce the symptoms of dizziness, including nausea .

Concerns

Likely safe

Ginger is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Some people can have mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort. Some women have reported extra menstrual bleeding while taking ginger

Possibly safe

Ginger is POSSIBLY SAFE when it is applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. It might cause irritation on the skin for some people.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy: Ginger isPOSSIBLY SAFEwhen taken by mouth for medicinal uses during pregnancy. But using ginger during pregnancy is controversial. There is some concern that ginger might affect fetal sex hormones. There is also a report ofmiscarriageduring week 12 of pregnancy in a woman who used ginger for morning sickness. However, studies in pregnant women suggest that ginger can be used safely for morning sickness without harm to the baby. The risk formajormalformations in infants of women taking ginger does not appear to be higher than the usual rate of 1% to 3%. Also there doesn't appear to be an increased risk of early labor or low birth weight. There is some concern that ginger might increase the risk of bleeding, so some experts advise against using it close to your delivery date. As with any medication given during pregnancy, it's important to weigh the benefit against the risk. Before using ginger during pregnancy, talk it over with your healthcare provider.

Breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking ginger if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding.

Diabetes: Ginger might increase your insulin levels and/or lower your blood sugar. As a result, your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Heart conditions: High doses of ginger might worsen some heart conditions.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Major
Nifedipine

Taking ginger along with nifedipine might slow blood clotting and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Moderate
Phenprocoumon

Ginger might slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.Phenprocoumon is used in Europe to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with phenprocoumon might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your phenprocoumon might need to be changed.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Ginger can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginger along with warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Minor
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)

Taking ginger two hours before taking cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) might increase how much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) the body absorbs. This might increase the side effects of cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). However, ginger does not seem to affect how much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) the body absorbs when taken at the same time.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional. The content on this page has been provided with thanks by RxList.com