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.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for GINGER are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate ginger for these uses.
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.
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.
Ginger is POSSIBLY SAFE when it is applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. It might cause irritation on the skin for some people.
Pregnancy: Ginger is POSSIBLY SAFE when 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 of miscarriage during 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 for major malformations 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.
Interaction Rating = Minor Be watchful with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
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.
Ginger might increase your insulin levels and/or decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ginger along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.
Ginger might reduce blood pressure in a way that is similar to some medications for blood pressure and heart disease. Taking ginger along with these medications might cause your blood pressure to drop too low or cause an irregular heartbeat.
Some medications for high blood pressure and heart disease include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.
Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
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.
Ginger can increase how much metronidazole (Flagyl) the body absorbs. Taking ginger along with metronidazole (Flagyl) might increase the side effects of metronidazole.
Interaction Rating = Major Do not take this combination.
Taking ginger along with nifedipine might slow blood clotting and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
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) 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.
Ginger might increase your insulin levels and/or lower blood sugar. Using ginger along with other herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar might lower blood sugar too much. Herbs that might lower blood sugar include devil's claw, fenugreek, guar gum, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and others.
Using ginger along with herbs that might slow blood clotting could increase the risk of bleeding in some people. These herbs include angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, red clover, turmeric, and others.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
INHALED AS AROMATHERAPY:
African Ginger, Amomum Zingiber, Ardraka, Black Ginger, Cochin Ginger, Gan Jiang, Gingembre, Gingembre Africain, Gingembre Cochin, Gingembre Indien, Gingembre Jamaïquain, Gingembre Noir, Ginger Essential Oil, Ginger Root, Huile Essentielle de Gingembre, Imber, Indian Ginger, Jamaica Ginger, Jengibre, Jiang, Kankyo, Kanshokyo, Nagara, Race Ginger, Racine de Gingembre, Rhizoma Zingiberi, Rhizoma Zingiberis, Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens, Shen Jiang, Sheng Jiang, Shoga, Shokyo, Shunthi, Srungavera, Sunth, Sunthi, Vishvabheshaja, Zingiber Officinale, Zingiberis Rhizoma, Zingiberis Siccatum Rhizoma, Zinzeberis, Zinziber Officinale, Zinziber Officinalis.
Natural Medicines disclaims any
responsibility related to medical consequences of using any medical
product. Effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this
Natural Medicines monograph is accurate at the time it was published.
However, we cannot guarantee the information is error-free and disclaim
any liability or responsibility for any reliance on it. The information
is also not intended to be a substitute for medical or other
professional advice, and you should not use any product or substances
reference herein without consulting a medical professional. Consumers
and medical professionals who consult this Natural Medicines
monograph are cautioned that any medical or product related decision is
the sole responsibility of the consumer and/or the health care
professional. A legal License Agreement sets limitations on downloading,
storing, or printing content from Natural Medicines. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from Natural Medicines is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from Natural Medicines or this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2017 Therapeutic Research Center, publishers of Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Prescriber's Letter, and Pharmacist's Letter. All rights reserved.
Discover the different ways you can help
1-877 GO KOMEN(1-877-465-6636)
Give hope to others in your situation