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Ginger (Zingiber officinale)


Also listed as: Zingiber officinale
Related terms

Related Terms
  • 1-(4'-Hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-2-nonadecen-1-one, 1-(4-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-3-methoxyphenyl)-3,5-dihydroxydecane, 1,7-bis-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-3-hydroxy-5-acetoxyheptane, 1,7-bis-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-5-methoxyheptan-3-one, 1-dehydrogingerdione, 1-hydroxy-[6]-paradol, 3-acetoxy-[4]-gingerdiol, 3-acetoxydihydro-[6]-paradol methyl ether, [4]-gingerdiol, 5-acetoxy-3-deoxy-[6]-gingerol, 5-acetoxy-[6]-gingerdiol, 5-methoxy-[n]-gingerols, 5-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-3-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)decane, 6-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-2-nonyl-2-hydroxytetrahydropyran, 6-dehydro-[6]-gingerol, 6-dehydrogingerdione, 6-gingerdiol, 6-gingerol, 6-gingesulfonic acid, 6-hydroxy-[n]-shogaol, [6]-isoshogaol, 6-paradol, 6-shogaol, 8-gingerol, 8-shogaol, 10-gingerol, 10-shogaol, aadaa (Assamese, Bengali), acetoxy-3-dihydrodemethoxy-[6]-shogaol, adarak (Hindi), adrak (Urdu), adraka (Urdu), adruka (Hindi), aduvaa (Nepalese), African ginger, allaama (Telugu), allaamu (Telugu), alpha-copaene, alpha-curcumene, alpha-phellandrene, alpha-zingiberene, Amomum zingiber L., ar-curcumene, beta-bisabolene, beta-pinene, beta-sesquiphellandrene, bisabolene, black ginger, bordia, calcium, cây gung (Vietnamese), Chayenne ginger, cochin ginger, curcumene, curcumin, diacetoxy-[8]-gingerdiol, diarylheptanoids, EV.EXT 35, galanolactone, gan jiang (Chinese), gember (Dutch), gengibre (Portuguese), geranial, geranyl 6-O-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside, geranyl 6-O-beta-D-apiofuranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside, geranyl 6-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside, (+)-germacrene D synthase, gingembre (French), ginger BP, ginger oil, ginger oleoresin, ginger power BP, ginger proteases, ginger root, ginger trips, gingerall, gingerdione, gingerglycolipid A, gingerglycolipid B, gingerglycolipid C, gingerly, gingerols, gingesulfonic acid, green ginger, g?ng (Vietnamese), gyömbér (Hungarian), halia (Malay), imber (Slovenian), Inbwer (German), ingefaer (Danish, Norwegian), ingefära (Swedish), inguru (Sinhalese), Ingwer (German), inji (Tamil), inkivääri (Finnish), iron, jahe (Malay - Indonesia, Sundanese), jahya (Malay - Bali), Jamaica ginger, jamveel (Persian), jengibre (Spanish), jhai (Madurese), jiang (Chinese), kankyo, khing (Laotian, Thai), lahya (Malay - Bali), methyl [4]-shogaol, methyl [6]-isogingerol, methyl [8]-paradol, methyl diacetoxy-[8]-gingerdiol, Myanmar ginseng, oleoresins, race ginger, rhizoma Zingeberis, (R)-linalool, saeng gang (Korean), sheng jiang (Chinese), shogaol, shogasulfonic acid, shokyo (Japanese), shouga (Japanese), shukku (Tamil), sindhi (Hindi), sonth (Hindi), sonthi (Telugu), tangawizi (Swahili), terpinolene, vanillyl ketones, vanillylacetone, verma, Z. officinale Roscoe, Z. zerumbet Smith, zanjabil (Persian), zencebil (Turkish), zencefil (Turkish), zentzephil (Turkish), zenzero (Italian), zenzevero (Italian), zerzero, zingerone, zingibain, Zingiberaceae, zingiberene, Zingiber blancoi Massk, Zingiber capitatum, Zingiber majus Rumph., Zingiber officinale Rosc., Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiber zerumbet Smith, Zingiberis rhizome, Zintona® EC.
  • Select combination products: Dai-kenchu-to/Daikenchuto (DKT, TJ-100; traditional Japanese herbal medicine composed of ginger rhizome, ginseng root, malt sugar, and zanthoxylum fruit), EV.EXT 77 (combination of Zingiber officinale and Alpinia galanga), GelStat Migraine® (combination of ginger and feverfew), Goshuyuto (Evodiae fructus, Zingiberis rhizoma, Zizyphi fructus, and Ginseng radix), Hochu-ekki-to (combination of astragalus root, licorice (liquorice), jujube, ginseng, white Atractylodes rhizome, fresh ginger, and Chinese angelica root), Keishi-ka-kei-to (a traditional Chinese herbal medicine composed of a mixture of crude extracts from five medicinal plants; Cinnamomi cortex, Paeoniae radix, Zizyphi fructus, Zingiberis rhizome, and Glycyrrhizae radix), KSS formula (traditional folk remedy composed of Zingiber officinale rhizome, citrus tangerine Hort. et Tanaka pith, and brown sugar), LipiGesicT M (combination of ginger and feverfew), NT (dietary herbal supplement made from ginger, rhubarb, astragalus, red sage, and turmeric, and gallic acid), sho-saiko-to-ka-kikyo-sekko (TJ-109; folk medicine composed of Bupleurum root, Glycyrrhiza root, Pinellia tuber, Platycodon root, Scutellaria root, gypsum, jujube fruit, ginseng root, and ginger rhizome), Si-ni-tang (traditional Chinese medicine composed of Zingiber officinale, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, and Aconitum carmichaeli), Sudantha (herbal toothpaste composed of Zingiber officinale Roscoe., Acacia chundra Willd, Adhatoda vasica Nees., Mimusops elengi L., Piper nigrum L., Pongamia pinnata L. Pirerre, Quercus infectoria Olivier., Syzygium aromaticum L., and Terminalia chebula Retz), Tongyan spray (traditional Chinese medicine spray composed of ginger and Clematis radix), Xiong-gui-tiao-xue-yin (13-herb formulation containing ginger), Zhengchaihu Yin (combination of six traditional Chinese medicines: Chinese thorowax, orange peel, root of fangfeng, Chinese herbaceous peony, licorice root, and ginger), Zinopin® (combination of Pycnogenol® and standardized ginger root extract), Zintona EC®.
  • Note: Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) is the official drug mentioned in various pharmacopoeias (Chinese, Japanese, British, Indian, etc.). Other Zingiber species such as Zingiber zerumbet, Zingiber cassumunar, Zingiber capitatum, Zingiber blancoi, and Zingiber majus also share some common medicinal properties and uses with Zingiber officinale but are very different species from the official ginger, with different chemical constituents.

  • The roots and stems of ginger have had roles in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian medicine since the 1500s. The oil and resin of ginger is often contained in digestive products, cough suppressants, anti-gas products, and laxatives.
  • Research supports ginger for reducing the severity and duration of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy. Effects appear to be additive when used with prochlorperazine (Compazine®). The optimal dose remains unclear. Ginger's effects on other types of nausea and vomiting, such as postoperative nausea, chemotherapy-induced nausea, or motion sickness, remains unclear.
  • Ginger is taken by mouth, applied to the skin, and injected into the muscle for a wide array of conditions, without clear scientific evidence of benefit.
  • The most frequent side effects from ginger use are upset stomach, heartburn, gas, and bloating. Ginger may theoretically increase bleeding risk.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

A few studies suggest that up to 1.5 grams of ginger daily may be safe and effective for pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Some publications discourage large doses of ginger during pregnancy due to concerns about mutations or abortions. Additional research focused on the safety of ginger during pregnancy is needed.

Early research reports that ginger may reduce the severity and length of time that cancer patients feel nauseous after chemotherapy. Other studies show a lack of effect. Additional research is needed in this area.

Ginger and its components have been explored as anti-inflammatory agents. Ginger has been shown to lower the level of some inflammatory markers in the colon. Additional high-quality research in this area is needed.

Preliminary evidence suggests that a ginger root combination product reduces symptoms of alcoholic hangover and improves well-being. Further research on the effects of ginger alone is needed.

Ginger moxibustion or combination ginger medication cakes have shown beneficial effects for asthma. Incorporating ginger into acupoint treatment has improved symptoms, quality of life, and markers of the immune system. Further research using ginger alone is needed.

A combination product with ginger may benefit patients with bleeding in the upper digestive tract. However, the effects of ginger alone are unclear, and additional studies are needed.

The use of ginger in combination with agents that promote bleeding may enhance their effect and increase bleeding risk. Ginger has also been reported to act as an anticoagulant. Additional research is needed in this area.

Ginger-partition moxibustion with acupuncture has demonstrated improved treatment efficacy for cardiac arrhythmias compared to conventional Western medications. Additional research using ginger alone is needed.

Ginger-partitioned moxibustion may be effective in treating low blood cell count from chemotherapy. While the results are promising, the role of ginger alone is unclear. Additional studies are needed to make a conclusion.

Preliminary research suggests that the combination ginger medicine packs with acupoint sticking may benefit COPD treatment. Further research focused on ginger alone is needed in this area.

In early research, a toothpaste with ginger improved bacterial count, plaque index, and reduced the sites prone to bleeding in the mouth. Additional research using ginger alone is needed before any firm conclusions may be made.

Aromatherapy using both ginger and lavender essential oils demonstrated a lack of effect on distress level and treatment satisfaction. The effect of ginger aromatherapy alone is unclear. Further research in this area is needed.

Early results on the effects of ginger on post-exercise muscle recovery are conflicting. Some research has demonstrated reductions in pain intensity vs. placebo, while others have shown a lack of effect. More well-designed trials are needed in this area.

Preliminary research suggests that ginger exerts some effects on gastrointestinal motility. However, evidence in this area is limited. Further high-quality research is needed to draw a conclusion.

Ginger has been investigated as a cholesterol-lowering agent with promising results. More well-designed trials are needed before a firm conclusion may be made.

Ginger may prevent irregular heartbeat by reducing production of a substance for muscle contraction. Additional research is needed before a conclusion may be made.

In preliminary research, ginger increased the rate of gastric emptying in individuals with indigestion. Further well-designed research is needed in this area.

Ginger-partitioned moxibustion has demonstrated an effective treatment rate for malaria. Further well-designed research using ginger alone is needed in this area.

Ginger in combination with feverfew has been studied for migraine prevention. Additional studies involving ginger alone are needed.

Research has found ginger to have varying effects on motion sickness. Ginger may reduce vomiting, but not nausea or vertigo. Additional studies are warranted before a conclusion may be made.

Some human studies report improvement in nausea or vomiting after surgery if patients take ginger before surgery. However, other research shows a lack of effect. Additional studies are needed in this area before a conclusion can be made. Use of ginger during surgery should be approached with caution.

Ginger has been studied as a possible treatment for osteoarthritis. However, results of these studies are mixed. More research is needed in this area.

Research suggests conflicting results regarding the effect of ginger on pain. A ginger aromatic essential oil combined with massage may be effective in reducing knee pain. Further high-quality research with ginger alone is warranted.

According to early evidence, ginger-partitioned moxibustion has demonstrated some beneficial treatment effects. More well-designed trials are needed before a conclusion may be made.

Early research suggests that ginger combined with Tongyan spray may help treat difficulty swallowing following a stroke. Ginger-salt-partitioned moxibustion combined with acupuncture may be effective for urinary disorders following a stroke. Further high-quality research using ginger alone is needed.

Early research suggests that ginger has beneficial effects in some outcomes associated with adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Further well-designed research is needed to draw a conclusion.

There is insufficient evidence for or against the use of ginger for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additional research using ginger alone is needed on this topic.

Ginger as part of a traditional Chinese medicine has been investigated in the treatment of septic shock. Further research in this area is needed.

Ginger has a long history of use during pregnancy; it is commonly used to relieve nausea and vomiting. However, additional studies are needed for use in shortening labor.

A folk medicine that includes ginger reduced the incidence of tonsil infection. Further high-quality research employing ginger alone is needed in this area.

Ginger has been suggested as a possible weight loss aid. However, research has demonstrated conflicting results. Additional studies involving ginger alone are needed in this area.
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Allergies, Alzheimer's disease, anesthesia, antacid, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, athlete's foot, baldness, bile secretion, blood circulation (rubefacient), bronchitis, burns (topical), cancer, cholera (watery diarrhea), clogged arteries, colds, colic, constipation, coronary artery disease, cramps, cough, dementia, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive aid, diminished appetite (anorexia), dieresis (increased urine), dysentery (bloody diarrhea), energy metabolism, expectorant (loosens mucus), fever, flu, food flavoring, gallbladder disease, gas, headache, heart disease, infection, high blood pressure, immune system disorders (Kawasaki disease), immune system stimulation, impotence, increasing breast milk, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), insect repellent, insecticide, intestinal parasites, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, kidney toxicity, leukemia, liver disease, liver toxicity, low blood pressure, malabsorption, muscle aches, neuroblastoma (cancer), neurological disorders, orchitis (swollen or painful testes), poisonous snake bites, postoperative ileus (bowel obstruction), promotion of menstruation, psoriasis, radioprotection, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) discontinuation or tapering, serotonin-induced hypothermia (low body temperature), sexual arousal, sore throat, sprains, stimulation of energy, stomachache, sweating, thrombosis (clots), tonic, toothache, ulcers, urinary disorders, vomiting (general), wrinkle prevention.


Adults (over 18 years old)

  • Most experts suggest a dose of 1-4 grams daily of ginger powder, tablets, or fresh-cut ginger in divided doses by mouth. Many publications note that the maximum recommended daily dose of ginger is 4 grams.
  • For an anti-inflammatory use, 2 grams of ginger root extract has been taken daily for 28 days by mouth as eight 250 milligram capsules (Pure Encapsulations®).
  • For chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, liquid ginger root extract has been taken in doses of 0.5 grams, 1 gram, and 1.5 grams in divided doses by mouth twice daily for six days. Ginger root powder capsules have also been taken in doses of 1 gram or 2 grams by mouth daily over the first three days of chemotherapy.
  • For exercise recovery, six capsules totaling 2 grams of raw or 2 grams of heat-treated ginger have been taken by mouth daily for 11 days.
  • For gastrointestinal motility, 1 gram of ginger powder diluted in 100 milliliters of distilled water has been taken by mouth.
  • For high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger capsules has been taken daily by mouth in three divided doses for 45 days.
  • For indigestion, 1.2 grams of ginger root powder has been taken by mouth as a single dose.
  • For irregular heart beat from high blood sugar, 1 gram of ginger root has been taken by mouth before undergoing fasting electrogastrography.
  • For motion sickness or seasickness, 1-2 grams of ginger has been taken daily by mouth in divided doses.
  • For nausea and vomiting after surgery, 0.5-1 grams of ginger has been taken one hour prior to surgery. Two to three capsules of ginger (each containing 0.5 grams of ginger powder) have been taken by mouth one hour before a gynecological laparoscopy. Ginger use during surgery should be approached cautiously.
  • For nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, 500-2000 milligrams of ginger extract (EX.EXT 35) or powder has been taken by mouth for up to three weeks in capsule or syrup form in single or divided doses. Consumption of ginger in amounts greater than those commonly found in food (<1 gram of dry weight daily) is not suggested during pregnancy by some authors.
  • For osteoarthritis, 30-1,000 milligrams of ginger has been taken daily by mouth for periods of 3-12 weeks in single or divided doses. Specifically, a combination formulation of two ginger species, Zingiber officinale and Alpinia galanga (EV.EXT 77), has been taken by mouth twice daily for six weeks.
  • For painful menstruation, one capsule containing 250 milligrams of ginger root powder has been taken by mouth four times daily for three days from the start of the menstrual period.
  • For pain relief, 30-2000 milligrams of ginger, ginger extract, or ginger root powder has been taken by mouth in single or divided doses for exercise-induced muscle pain, osteoarthritis pain, pain during menstruation, or gonarthritis pain.
  • For respiratory distress, 120 milligrams of ginger extract has been taken in three divided doses for 21 days through a feeding tube inserted in the nose.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, 1-4 grams of powdered ginger or ginger has been taken by mouth daily.
  • For weight loss, 2 grams of dried ginger powder dissolved in 6 ounces of hot water has been taken by mouth as a single dose.
  • Note: The mild gastrointestinal distress sometimes associated with ginger may be reduced by taking ginger as a capsule, rather than powdered ginger.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for ginger in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to ginger, its parts, or other members of the Zingiberaceae family, including Alpinia formosana, Alpinia purpurata (red ginger), Alpinia zerumbet (shell ginger), Costus barbatus, Costus malortieanus, Costus pictus, Costus productus, Dimerocostus strobilaceus, and Elettaria cardamomum (green cardamom). Contact dermatitis (skin inflammation) has been reported, with a prevalence of 6% among people with known allergy to balsam of Peru.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Ginger is likely safe when the fresh or dried root or stem is used in amounts found in food, including during pregnancy. Ginger has a long history of human consumption and application on the skin in both the East and West, with minimal evidence of harm. The maximum suggested daily dose of ginger is 4 grams.
  • Ginger is possibly safe when the fresh or dried root in a capsule is taken by mouth in recommended doses. Use cautiously long-term.
  • Ginger may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Use cautiously in people with gastrointestinal conditions, including gastric or duodenal ulcers, or in people with sensitive skin, or gallstones.
  • Use cautiously during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as some experts suggest amounts no greater than those commonly found in food (<1 gram of dry weight daily).
  • Use cautiously in people taking agents for heart disease, agents metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, agents that alter immune function, antacids, antibiotics, central nervous system (CNS) depressants (including barbiturates or benzodiazepines), cyclosporine, estrogen, H2 blockers, nifedipine, proton pump inhibitors, or serotonergics.
  • Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding. Avoid in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Avoid ginger use before surgery, or in people taking anticoagulants or antiplatelets. Avoid fresh-cut ginger in large quantities in people with inflammatory bowel disease or a history of intestinal obstruction. Avoid in children. Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to ginger, its constituents, or other members of the Zingiberaceae family, due to case reports of an allergic skin reaction.
  • Ginger may also cause: allergic reaction resulting in skin inflammation, alteration of immune function, altered blood pressure, altered sperm motility, bad taste in the mouth, belching, bloating, bowel obstruction, bruising, burning or "chilly hot" sensation of the tongue and throat, CNS depression, decreased platelet aggregation, dizziness, eczema, flushing, gas nausea, headache, heartburn, hives, indigestion, irregular heartbeat, low heart rate, numbness in the mouth, pink eye, prolonged bleeding time, promotion of menstruation, rash, stimulation of bile flow, stomach or intestinal complaints or irritation, urge to urinate, uterine contractions.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Consumption of ginger during pregnancy in amounts greater than those commonly found in food (<1 gram of dry weight daily) is not suggested. Garlic may have menstrual discharge-promoting effects, possible stimulation of uterine contract, altered DNA in the infant, or inhibition of blood clotting effects.
  • Numerous studies have investigated ginger for the management of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Investigators of a study concluded that 1 gram of ginger in syrup taken daily in divided doses for two weeks was safe to treat nausea in the first trimester.
  • Ginger use during pregnancy lacks an association with congenital malformations, low Apgar score, low birthweight, preterm birth, or stillbirth or perinatal death.
  • Limited evidence suggests ginger may promote lactation.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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