The common cooking ginger is an herbaceous perennial with upright stems and narrow medium green leaves arranged in two ranks on each stem. The plant gets about 4 ft (1.2 m) tall with leaves about 3/4 in (1.9 cm) wide and 7 (17.8 cm) long. Ginger grows from an aromatic tuber like rhizome (underground stem), which is warty and branched. The inflorescence grows on a separate stem from the foliage stem, and forms a dense spike, to 3 in (7.6 cm) tall. The bracts are green with translucent margins and the small flowers are yellow green with purple lips and cream-colored blotches. Most gingers in cultivation are sterile cultivars grown for the edible rhizome, and the flower is rarely seen
Aromatic, carminative, stimulant to gastro intestinal tract and stomachic, sialagogue and digestive. Externally ginger is a local stimulant and rubefacient. The high content of these minerals in ginger makes it a useful candidate for muscle spasms, depression, hypertension, muscle weakness, convulsions, confusion, personality changes, nausea, lack of coordination and gastrointestinal disorders. The high content of potassium in ginger will protects the body against bone fragility, paralysis, sterility, muscle weakness, mental apathy and confusion, kidney damage, and damage to the heart. In addition to potassium's role in blood pressure regulation, it also regulates heartbeat. Ginger has a high content of antioxidants. This makes it a free radical scavenger. This means, it has antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. The alcohol extract of ginger can directly stimulate the heart and the motor centre of the blood vessels. Dried ginger can arrest vomiting, tranquilize the patient, kill pain, dispel wind, strengthen the stomach and arrest coughing. Aqueous extracts at 2.5%, 5%, and 25% concentration have been effective against Trichomonas vaginalis
Action and uses in Ayurveda
It is used in vibandh, anah, sula, sopha and kanthroga, aamvat, chard, grahani and agnimanthyam.
It is used for respiratory problems such as colds, sore throats, bronchitis, congestion, headaches and pain. It is used for numerous ailments including menstrual symptoms, inflammation, arthritis, high cholesterol, liver problems, gastrointestinal problems and motion sickness.
Indian ginger contains an aromatic volatile oil, 1-5 % of light yellow color having a characteristic odour and containing camphene, phellandrene, zingiberine, cineol and borneol; gingerol a yellow pungent body; an oleo resin-ginigerine (the active principle); other resins and starch and K-oxalate. The essential oil (1 to 3% of the fresh rhizome) contains mostly sesquiterpenes, e.g., (-)-zingiberene (up to 70%), (+)-ar-curcumene β-sesquiphellandrene, bisabolene and farnesene. Monoterpenoids occur in traces (β-phelladrene, cineol, citral).
Properties and action
Guna: tiksna, ruksha, guru
Karma: vatahara, kaphahara, rocana, dipana, bhedna, svary, hrdya, vrsya.
Paste, decoction, and powder
Therapeutic classification index
- Cardiovascular system: Ginger is thought to have blood thinning properties and the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels
- Digestive system: ginger is extremely valuable in dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasms and other painful affection of stomach and bowels. From biliousness and delirium due to biliousness ginger juice with milk is administered. The agent stimulates the stomach actively, producing, a pleasing sense of warmth. It overcomes flatulence and quickly relieves flatulent colic. In atonic conditions of the stomach and intestinal tract, it stimulates the structure to renewed activity and materially assists in the restoration of normal tone.
- Respiratory system: it is useful in cold, cough, asthma, and rhinitis.
- Genito-urinary system: In dysmenorrhea, ovarian neuralgia and uterine pain from any cause at the menstrual epoch, this remedy is reliable
- Musculoskeletal system: infusion of ginger in rheumatism relieves pain due to arthritis.
Efficacy of ginger in controlling nausea
Use of ginger in vertigo
- Zingiber Officinale (ginger)--an anti emetic for day case surgery.
Phillips S, Ruggier R, Hutchinson SE.
Department of Anaesthetics, Kingston Hospital, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.
The effect of powdered ginger root was compared with metoclopramide and placebo. In a prospective, randomised, double-blind trial the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting was measured in 120 women presenting for elective laparoscopic gynaecological surgery on a day stay basis. The incidence of nausea and vomiting was similar in patients given metoclopramide and ginger (27% and 21%) and less than in those who received placebo (41%). The requirement for postoperative antiemetics was lower in those patients receiving ginger. The requirements for postoperative analgesia, recovery time and time until discharge were the same in all groups. There was no difference in the incidence of possible side effects such as sedation, abnormal movement, itch and visual disturbance between the three groups. Zingiber officinale is an effective and promising prophylactic antiemetic, which may be especially useful for day case surgery.
- Ginger treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum.
Fischer-Rasmussen W, Kjaer SK, Dahl C, Asping U.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Thirty women participated in a double-blind randomized cross-over trial of the efficacy of a natural product, the powdered root of ginger (Zingiber officinale), and placebo in hyperemesis gravidarum. Three patients had to be withdrawn. Each woman swallowed capsules containing either 250 mg ginger or lactose q.i.d. during the first 4 days of the treatment period. Interrupted by a 2 days wash-out period the alternative medication was given in the second 4-day period. The severity and relief of symptoms before and after each period were evaluated by two scoring systems. The scores were used for statistical analyses of possible differences. Subjectively assessed, 19 women (70.4%) stated preference to the period in which ginger, as was later disclosed, had been given (P = 0.003). More objectively assessed by relief scores a significantly greater relief of the symptoms was found after ginger treatment compared to placebo (P = 0.035). No side effects were observed. The possible mutagenic and antimutagenic characters of ginger reported in a study of E. coli have not been evaluated with respect to any significance in humans. Powdered root of ginger in daily doses of 1 g during 4 days was better than placebo in diminishing or eliminating the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum
- Ginger root against seasickness. A controlled trial on the open sea.
Grontved A, Brask T, Kambskard J, Hentzer E.
Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Svendborg Hospital, Denmark.
In a double-blind randomized placebo trial, the effect of the powdered rhizome of ginger (Zingiber officinale) was tested on seasickness. Eighty naval cadets, unaccustomed to sailing in heavy seas reported during voyages on the high seas, symptoms of seasickness every hour for 4 consecutive hours after ingestion of 1 g of the drug or placebo. Ginger root reduced the tendency to vomiting and cold sweating significantly better than placebo did (p less than 0.05). With regard to vomiting, a modified Protection Index (PI) = 72% was calculated. Remarkably fewer symptoms of nausea and vertigo were reported after ginger root ingestion
Vertigo-reducing effect of ginger root. A controlled clinical study.
Grontved A, Hentzer E.
The effect of powdered ginger root (Zingiber officinale) upon vertigo and nystagmus following caloric stimulation of the vestibular system was studied in 8 healthy volunteers in a double-blind crossover placebo trial. The results reported are based upon 48 vertigo scores and 48 electronystagmograms. Ginger root reduced the induced vertigo significantly better than did placebo. There was no statistically significant action upon the duration or the maximum slow phase velocity of nystagmus
Use of ginger in rheumatism
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders.
Srivastava KC, Mustafa T.
Department of Environmental Medicine, Odense University, Denmark.
One of the features of inflammation is increased oxygenation of arachidonic acid which is metabolized by two enzymic pathways--the cyclooxygenase (CO) and the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO)--leading to the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes respectively. Amongst the CO products, PGE2 and amongst the 5-LO products, LTB4 are considered important mediators of inflammation. More than 200 potential drugs ranging from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, gold salts, disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, methotrexate, cyclosporine are being tested. None of the drugs has been found safe; all are known to produce from mild to serious side-effects. Ginger is described in Ayurvedic and Tibb systems of medicine to be useful in inflammation and rheumatism. In all 56 patients (28 with rheumatoid arthritis, 18 with osteoarthritis and 10 with muscular discomfort) used powdered ginger against their afflictions. Amongst the arthritis patients more than three-quarters experienced, to varying degrees, relief in pain and swelling. All the patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief in pain. None of the patients reported adverse effects during the period of ginger consumption which ranged from 3 months to 2.5 years. It is suggested that at least one of the mechanisms by which ginger shows its ameliorative effects could be related to inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis, i.e. it works as a dual inhibitor of eicosanoid biosynthesis
Dose: powder-1-2 gm Fresh juice 5-10 ml
Capsule Ginger contains pure and concentrated Ginger.
Dosage: one capsule twice a day
Package size: 60 capsules.
- Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 1308
- Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 331
- The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.II, pg12-14