Ginger is a very well known herb, mainly for its culinary applications. The warming, spicy food is useful as a medicinal as well for nausea, vomiting, menstrual irregularities, and to improve digestion and reduce bloating after meals.
Ginger is a staple herb in Chinese medicine, where it is used in two different forms. Dried ginger is used for bleeding conditions and as a stimulant while fresh ginger serves as more of a tonic and is preferred for nausea and vomiting.
In Western herbal medicine, both fresh and dried ginger are used, however, for antiviral applications only the fresh root or juice has been shown to provide antiviral benefits. The drying process destroys the active compounds but will remain viable for treating nausea.
Main Herbal Actions:
- Circulatory Stimulant
- Digestive stimulant
Ginger is a popular culinary herb for its mild spicy flavour. Medicinally, ginger is used for its antiviral effects (fresh only), mild stimulating action, as an antinflammatory, and for treating nausea and vomiting. The anti-nausea activity of ginger is especially strong and can be used for almost any form of nausea, including morning sickness during pregnancy, sea or car-sickness, after alcohol or drug use, stress, and gastrointestinal infection.
Ginger is also used topically for its antinflammatory, and mild stimulating effects that can be described as "warming". Ginger salves, poultices, or tincture can be applied to the skin or sore joints to relieve the pain and downregulate inflammation in the area through rubefacient action.
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Constituents of Interest
- Shangjiang (Fresh Ginger) (China)
- Gan jiang (Dried Ginger) (China)
Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family of plants which comprises 50 different genera and 1600 species of flowering plants. The vast majority of the Zingiberaceae plants are aromatic and possess thick, creeping rhizomes. This family contains many of the most well known culinary and medicinal herbs of our time. Some of the noteable members aside from ginger includes:
- Curcuma longa (Turmeric)
- Alpinia galanga (Thai ginger)
- Amomum spp. (Cardamom)
- Hedychium spp. (Ginger lily)
Level Of Research:
Clinical Applications Of Ginger:
Ginger is useful as an antiviral if the fresh juice is used and at the first sign of infection. The antinausea effects of ginger are among its most reliable activities, reducing nausea for a wide range of unrelated conditions including morning sickness, bacterial infection, and sea or car sickness.
Ginger is also useful for treating flatulence, or bloating after meals, and can improve the digestive process by stimulating the release of digestive enzymes.
Topically, ginger is a reliable rubefacient useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis and muscle aches.
Avoid ginger if gallstones are present.
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For a list of references, visit the full ginger monograph.