Ultimate Herbals Guide: Ginger

Ultimate Herbals Guide: Ginger

Your Herb Guide to Ginger

What is Ginger?

This Herb Guide provides everything you need to know about the herb – it’s common names, how and why it’s used, whether it works and what it works for best, research conducted, whether it’s safe to use, and the potential side effects and cautions.

An herb, in general, is a plant or part of a plant which includes the flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, stems, and roots of the plant, used for its flavor, scent, or potential therapeutic properties.

Ginger is a tropical plant that has green-purple flowers and an aromatic underground stem (called a rhizome). It is commonly used for cooking and medicinal purposes.

Common Name – Ginger
Latin Name - Zingiber Officinale

What conditions can Ginger be used to treat?
  • Ginger is used in Asian medicine to treat stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Many digestive, antinausea, and cold and flu dietary supplements sold in the United States contain ginger extract as an ingredient.
  • Ginger is used to alleviate postsurgery nausea as well as nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, and pregnancy.
  • Ginger has been used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain.
How is Ginger used as an herbal dietary supplement?

The underground stems of the ginger plant are used in cooking, baking, and for health purposes. Common forms of ginger include fresh or dried root, tablets, capsules, liquid extracts (tinctures), and teas.

What the Science Says

Does Ginger work as an herbal remedy to treat medical conditions? If so, prove it!
  • 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.
  • Currently, scientists and researchers are studying:
    • Whether ginger interacts with drugs, such as those used to suppress the immune system.
    • Ginger’s effect on reducing nausea in patients on chemotherapy.
    • The general safety and effectiveness of ginger’s use for health purposes, as well as its active components and effects on inflammation.

Side Effects and Cautions

Is Ginger safe to take as an herbal dietary supplement?
Should I be careful of anything while taking it?
  • Few side effects are linked to ginger when it is taken in small doses.
  • Side effects most often reported are gas, bloating, heartburn, and nausea. These effects are most often associated with powdered ginger.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Content Created/Medically Reviewed by our Expert Doctors