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Ginger

For over two thousand years Chinese medicine has recommended ginger to treat a number of health problems including abdominal bloating, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea, 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 other conditions.

Proposed Medical Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is recognised as a remedy for appetite loss, indigestion and motion sickness and 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 has not been proven. Comparisons between ginger and prescription and non-prescription drugs for motion sickness relief have been conducted, but results were inconclusive.

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 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 up to four volatile oils and are responsible for ginger's medicinal effects and characteristic odor and taste. The aromatic constituents in ginger include zingiberene and bisabolene and the pungent constituents are known as gingerols and shogaols. It is gingerol and shogaol which are most likely responsible for the anti-nausea and anti-vomiting properties 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, up to 1 gram daily, but ginger should not be used for extended periods.

No dosage recommendations are made for children.

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