Zingiber officinalis

Ginger - Zingiber officinalis (in the Zingiberaceae or Ginger family)

Parts used: Root.

Taste/smell: Aromatic and spicy. Note: The dried root is considered hotter than the fresh root.

Tendencies: Heating, stimulating and drying.

Dosage: Fresh infusion: Ginger, approximately 2-3 centimeters in length, per cup of water. Infusion: teaspoonful of dry ginger per cup of water.; or 1:1 fresh + dry liquid extract: 10-60 drops in a little water. Note: For the anti-emetic effect, 2 grams has been shown to be effective, for example, 3 - 4 capsules or 1/2 - 1 teaspoon liquid extract.

Mental picture and specific indications: Ginger is indicated for cold and congestive conditions with digestive, genitourinary or respiratory debility.

Use: (a) Carminative, (b) Decreases platelet aggregation, (c) Antiatherosclerotic, (d) Diaphoretic, (e) Cardiotonic, (f) Antipyretic, (g) Antitussive, (h) Expectorant, (i) Stomachic, (j) Anti-inflammatory, (k) Antimicrobial, (l) Antispasmodic, (m) Diuretic, (n) Anti-emetic, (o) Choleretic, (p) Hypolipidemic, (q) Analgesic, (r) Antioxidant.

Ginger is useful for digestive disturbances that involve flatulence, burping and colic. It is useful for a slow digestive system as well as circulatory sluggishness and can inhibit digestive ulcers. The stimulating diaphoretic quality is wondeful for colds as a hot tea and is gentle enough for both elderly and children to use. It has been used to abort migraine headaches and is well known for its use in motion sickness, post operative nausea and nausea of pregnancy. Research with chemotherapy-induced vomiting showed ginger tea to be ineffective while the tincture (liquid extract) was very effective. The fresh juice is used to treat first and second degree burns. As a heating herb, it is indicated for disorders due to cold conditions. Ginger has a positive inotropic effect on the heart. It possesses a fibrinolytic quality. Fibrin is deposited in tissue near varicose veins and causes skin to become hard and lumpy because of the presence of fibrin and fat. It also decreases the risk of thrombus formation in thrombophlebitis and inhibits production of prostaglandins which cause physical pain.

Ginger is rich in volatile oils, including zingiberene, zingiberole, gingerol, shogoal, phellandrene, borneol, cineole, as well as citral, starch, mucilage and resin. Different varieties of ginger contain different essential oils.

Contraindications: Large doses are contraindicated in pregnancy. Animal studies have shown a potential for CNS depression and cardiac arrhythmias when the animals are given large overdoses. This has not been seen in human studies.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.