- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy :
Morning sickness during pregnancy (popular use)
Motion sickness (popular use)
Postoperative nausea/vomiting in the absence of narcotic anesthesia or analgesia
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Orchitis (testicular inflammation)
Poisonous snake bites
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Low
- Adverse Effects: Not Frequent
Part of the plant used: rhizomes
Ginger is a perennial plant native to South-West Asia that is now being cultivated in several tropical areas throughout the world. Its rhizome (root) is commonly used in cooking and is prized for its particular taste and fragrance. Ginger has been a staple in traditional Asian medicine for hundreds of years. It is used as a digestive to control indigestion, bloating and stomach ache.
Rhizomes contain between 1 and 3% of volatile oils and it is these oils that are behind the pharmacological properties and characteristic fragrance of ginger. As for its medicinal use, rhizomes are ingested fresh or dried or taken as an oral capsule.
Direction of use
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea:
1000 mg of dried root daily have been used.
- Morning sickness during pregnancy:
250 to 500 mg of dried root 4 times daily has been used in studies. However, the safety of ginger during pregnancy is controversial.
- Motion sickness:
500 to 1000 mg of dried root 30 minutes to 4 hours before departure (not to exceed 4000 mg per day).
- Postoperative nausea/vomiting in the absence of narcotic anesthesia or analgesia:
1000 to 2000 mg of dried root is given 1 hour before induction of anesthesia.
May reduce symptoms of vertigo, including nausea.
Used doses: 1000 mg dried root
1 to 2 grams of dried ginger is equivalent to 10 grams
of fresh ginger, which is one slice of 6 to 7 mm.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that ginger is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Ginger is not associated with any severe toxicity. But some light adverse effects are possible: abdominal discomfort, heartburn, diarrhea, mouth irritation and some individuals may experience a skin reaction upon contact. Very large amounts of ginger can apparently cause cardiac arrhythmias and drowsiness. Food amounts are usually associated with no adverse effects.
Individuals with gallstones should not use ginger except after medical evaluation.
Large amounts of ginger can apparently "thin the blood" (antiplatetlet effect). To reduce the rusk of bleeding, people who take anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents should avoid excessive amounts of ginger. Before taking ginger, check with your pharmacist to make sure that there are no interactions with your regular medication.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregnant women should limit their intake of ginger to typical food amounts since large quantities are thought to promote spontaneous abortions. Current data are insufficient to conclude to its safety during breast-feeding. Lactating women should avoid using amounts greater than those found in foods.
- Ginger has been used as a spice for centuries. Current information about this product leads us to believe that it may be useful as a digestive aid and to prevent motion sickness. However, further research is required to clearly establish its medicinal potential in other clinical situations.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.