Ginger

General Information

Common Name: Ginger

Latin Name:

Zingiber Officinale

Family:

zingiberaceae

Other Names: Based on its origin:

  • African ginger;
  • Black ginger;
  • Chochin (Asian ginger);
  • Gan Jiang (Jamaican ginger).

Indications & Historical Uses

For more than 25 centuries, ginger has been used as both a spice and an herbal remedy in the Far Eastern culture. Ginger is the mainstay of Far Eastern medicine, wherein it has long been used to treat digestive ailments, bloating, cramping, nausea, cough and cold symptoms, sore throat, fever, headaches, inflammatory conditions and kidney ailments. Modern-day uses for ginger in Eastern medicine include the use of the herb to treat nausea (including motion sickness and morning sickness of pregnancy), indigestion and loss of appetite, cold and cough symptoms, sore throat, fever, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and menstrual cramps. Ginger is also a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-coagulant, and it can be used to help increase absorption of other remedies.

Indications:

  • Nausea, vomiting;
  • Motion sickness, vertigo;
  • Morning sickness of pregnancy (approved for this use in clinical guidelines – Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada);
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion (carminative);
  • Prevention & treatment of cough, colds, influenza;
  • Elevated cholesterol;
  • Mild anticoagulant-blood thinning properties;
  • Anti-oxidant;
  • Menstrual cramps.

Contraindications & Precautions

Contraindications:
None known. Approved for use in controlling nausea & vomiting in pregnancy. See Caution.

Precautions:
None known

Adverse Side Effects:
No reports of significant toxicity. Because ginger is known to inhibit thromboxane a 2 synthesis, platelet aggregation may be compromised. This may result in a bleeding tendency [very rare].

Drug Interactions:
None known. However, because of potential inhibitory effect of ginger on thromboxane synthesis, patients on anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) and those at risk for hemorrhage should avoid taking ginger

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

500 mg capsules.

Dosage:

500 mg two to three times per day of drug extract.

Pharmacology

The main components of ginger are the aromatic essential oils, anti-oxidants, and the pungent oleo-resin. These aromatic or pungent compounds have been identified as the phenylalkylketones, known as gingerols, shogaols, and zingerone. These compounds provide most of the medicinal properties of ginger. Gingerol has been found to have a similar structure to acetyl salicylic acid, and these two compounds have similar effects on prostaglandin production. This mechanism may explain ginger’s ability to reduce platelet aggregation and its anti-thrombotic properties. A diterpenoid constituent of ginger has been shown to have activity similar to a 5HT3 antagonist, similar to Zafran and other anti-emetic drugs used as adjuncts to chemotherapy. 5HT3 receptors are found in both the chemoreceptor trigger zone and on the vagal nerve terminals in the intestine. The anti-emetic effects of ginger are due to its local effect on the vagal receptors in the stomach. In a recent study, ginger was found to be more effective than drugs in the treatment of nausea and motion sickness .

Active Ingredients:

  • Phenyl alkylketones;
  • Volatile oils.

Origin

The main components of ginger are the aromatic essential oils, anti-oxidants, and the pungent oleo-resin. These aromatic or pungent compounds have been identified as the phenylalkylketones, known as gingerols, shogaols, and zingerone. These compounds provide most of the medicinal properties of ginger. Gingerol has been found to have a similar structure to acetyl salicylic acid, and these two compounds have similar effects on prostaglandin production. This mechanism may explain ginger’s ability to reduce platelet aggregation and its anti-thrombotic properties. A diterpenoid constituent of ginger has been shown to have activity similar to a 5HT3 antagonist, similar to Zafran and other anti-emetic drugs used as adjuncts to chemotherapy. 5HT3 receptors are found in both the chemoreceptor trigger zone and on the vagal nerve terminals in the intestine. The anti-emetic effects of ginger are due to its local effect on the vagal receptors in the stomach. In a recent study, ginger was found to be more effective than drugs in the treatment of nausea and motion sickness.

Processing

A specially developed alcohol and water extraction is followed by a unique micro-encapsulation process which preserves the volatile active ingredients. The extract is concentrated about 3 times compared to dry ginger and 30 times as compared to fresh ginger.

Scientific References

Mowrey, D and Claysen D. E. (1982) Motion sickness, Ginger and psychophysics: LANCET: March 20: 1; 655-657.

Govindrajan, V. S. (1982) Ginger- Chemistry, Technology and Quality Evaluation. CRC Critical Rev. in Science and Nutrition. 17(3).

Gujral, S. et al(1978): Effects of Ginger oleoresin on serum cholesterol levels in cholesterol fed rats. Nutrition Reports: 17(2) 183-189.

Shoji et al(1982): Cardiotonic principles of Ginger: J. Pharm. Sci 71:1174-1175.

Yamahara J. et al(1985): Cholegogic effects of Ginger and its active constituents. J. Ethnopharm 113: 217-225.

GINGER

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