Name: Ginger ( Zingiber officinale )


Family: Zingiberaceae

Common names: Ginger, Ginger root, Root Ginger, Jamaica Ginger

Range: Native to Asia, now widely cultivated in India, Africa, and throughout the Caribbean islands.

Parts Used: Rhizome

Preparations: Tea and tinctures prepared from the freshly grated root, and encapsulation of the dried, powdered root.

History: Ginger is one of the most widely used and well-documented medicinal herbs known. While it is prominently featured in Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginger has been used extensively throughout most of the world for centuries.

The pungent flavor and aroma of ginger is due to the presence of gingerols and shogaols, volatile oils that possess potent antibacterial and analgesic properties. A hot compress of the freshly grated root is very effective for treating muscle aches due to the presence of capsaicin. When taken internally, the primary actions of ginger is to increase salivation, enhance blood circulation, and stimulate digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, ginger is well known to improve nausea with equal or greater efficacy when compared to conventional medications, but without negative side effects. It is also safe to use during pregnancy to deter morning sickness. Ginger is also an excellent remedy for seasickness, as well as nausea associated with chemotherapy. Zingerone, another volatile oil found in the root, has been used successfully to treat a deadly form of diarrhea produced by E. coli that frequently occurs in infants in developing counties.

Other medicinal benefits of ginger include relieving headaches, including migraines. It also appears to relieve pain associated with arthritis. There is clinical evidence that indicates that regular consumption of ginger may lower serum cholesterol levels and possibly reduce the risk of heart disease. One study investigating the anti-cancer value of ginger showed that the volatile oils inhibit skin cancer and destroy ovarian cancer cells.

Constituents: Shogaols (6-shogaol, 8-shogaol), gingerols, zingerone, zingiberene, 1,8-cineole, alpha-linolenic acid, arginine, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, ascorbic acid, capsaicin, caffeic acid, camphor.

Cautions/Contraindications: Not recommended for patients taking warfarin due to an increase risk of bleeding. Ginger should also be avoided if there is a history of gallstones since the herb stimulates bile production.

Disclaimer: This information has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.