Natural Health Products

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General Information

Ginger is a plant native to Asia that has green-purple flowers and an aromatic underground stem (called a rhizome). It is now cultivated in South America, Africa, and the Middle East. It is commonly used for cooking and medicinal purposes.

Common Name(s)
Ginger, African Ginger, Black Ginger, Gan Jiang, Ginger Root, Indian Ginger
Scientific Name(s)
Zingiber officinale
How is this product usually used?

The underground stems of the ginger plant are used in cooking and baking and for health purposes. Common forms of ginger include fresh or dried root, tablets, capsules, liquid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients (tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solutions), and teas.

For relieving nausea:

  • 0.5 g to 2 g per day of dried rhizome
  • a single dose should be taken 30 minutes prior to travel, and every 4 hours as needed

For digestive upsets/disturbances:

  • 0.3 g to 3 g per day of dried rhizome
What is this product used for?

Ginger is used to help prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness or seasickness.

Traditionally, ginger is used to help relieve stomach aches, digestive upset, indigestion, heartburn, digestive spasms, and diarrhea. It is also used as an expectorantexpectorantan agent that thins mucus (phlegm) so that it can be absorbed or coughed up for cough and colds.

Ginger is used to alleviate post-surgery nausea as well as nausea caused by chemotherapy and pregnancy.

Ginger has been used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Studies suggest that the short-term use of ginger can safely relieve pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.

Studies are mixed on whether ginger is effective for nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, or surgery.

It is unclear whether ginger is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or joint and muscle pain.

Researchers funded by the United States National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine have looked at whether ginger interacts with drugs, such as those used to suppress the immune system, and at ginger’s effect on reducing nausea and vomiting. They are also studying:

  • the general safety and effectiveness of ginger’s use for health purposes, as well as its active components and effects on inflammation
  • the effects of ginger dietary supplements on joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis

Few side effects are linked to ginger when it is taken in small doses.

Side effects most often reported are gas, bloating, heartburn, burning sensation, oral numbness, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. These effects are most often associated with powdered ginger.

Some of the medications that interact with ginger include:

  • anticoagulant/antiplatelet medication: Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding when taken at the same time as anticoagulants or antiplatelet medication such as aspirin, clopidogrel, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, or warfarin.
  • nifedipine: Your blood may not clot as readily if you are taking nifedipine at the same time as ginger.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Ginger. Accessed March 19, 2014.

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