Description: Zingiber officinale Roscoe is an herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m high and with an underground rhizome. The stem grows above ground and leaves are narrow, long, lanceolate, with distinct venation pattern and pointed apex. Flowers are white or yellowish-green, streaked with purple and fragrant.
Origin: Originate from tropical Asia, widely cultivated in the tropics.
Phytoconstituents: Gingerol, zingiberene, farnesene, camphene, neral, nerol, 1,8-cineole, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate and others.[3-7]
Traditional Medicinal Uses: Ginger is the folk remedy for anaemia, nephritis, tuberculosis, and antidote to Arisaema and Pinellia. Sialogogue when chewed, causes sneezing when inhaled and rubefacient when applied externally. Antidotal to mushroom poisoning, ginger peel is used for opacity of the cornea. The juice is used as a digestive stimulant and local application in ecchymoses. Underground stem is used to treat stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, rheumatism, coughs, blood in stools, to improve digestion, expel intestinal gas, and stimulate appetite. The rhizomes are used to treat bleeding, chest congestion, cholera, cold, diarrhoea, dropsy, dysmenorrhoea, nausea, stomachache, and also for baldness, cancer, rheumatism, snakebite and toothache. It is also used as postpartum protective medicine, treatment for dysentery, treatment for congestion of the liver, complaints with the urino-genital system/female reproduction system and sinus. Besides that, it is used to alleviate nausea, as a carminative, circulatory stimulant and to treat inflammation and bacterial infection. The Commision E approved the internal use of ginger for dyspepsia and prevention of motion sickness. The British Herbal Compendium indicates ginger for atonic dyspepsia, colic, vomiting of pregnancy, anorexia, bronchitis and rheumatic complaints.1 European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) indicates its use for prophylaxis of the nausea and vomiting of motion sickness and to alleviate nausea after minor surgical procedures.
Pharmacological Activities: Analgesic,[14-16] Anthelmintic, Antiarthritic, Anticancer/19-33 Antidiabetic/34'33 Antidiarrhoeal, Antiemetic/37-53 Antihyperlipidaemic, Antihypertensive, Anti-inflammatory,[141556-66] Antimicrobial/67-73 Antioxidant,®7,79-83 Antiplatelet/83-83 Antispasmodic, Antiulcer,[89,90] Antiviral/91-93 Anxiolytic, Hepatoprotective,[93-97]
Hypocholesterolaemic,[57,98,99] Hypoglycaemic,[14,100,101] Hypolipidaemic,
Hypotensive, Immunomodulatory/104-109 Neuroprotective/103 Insect repellent[69'108] and Radioprotective/109-113
Dosage: A tea is prepared by pouring boiling water over 0.5 to 1 g of the coarsely powdered ginger for 5 min and passing through a tea strainer, taken to prevent vomitting.
Adverse Reactions: Fresh rhizome can be safely consumed with proper usage. Contact dermatitis of the fingertips has been reported in sensitive patients.
Toxicity: It is nontoxic when tested in rats but overdose may cause cardiac arrhythmia and CNS depression.
Contraindications: Consult physician before using ginger preparations in patients with blood coagulation disorders, taking anticoagulant drugs or with gallstones. Avoid dried rhizomes during pregnancy/113
Drug-Herb Interactions: Interacts with anticoagulants such as heparin, warfarin, drugs used in chemotherapy and ticlopidine. Ginger taken prior to 8-MOP (treatment for patients undergoing photopheresis) may substantially reduce nausea caused by 8-MOP. Ginger appears to increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking warfarin. However, ginger at recommended doses does not significantly affect clotting status, the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of warfarin in healthy subjects. Ginger also significantly decreased the oral bioavailability of cyclosporine.
[Authors' Note: Ginger is widely eaten as a food ingredient and used in many different cultures as traditional medicine. Ongoing scientific research has shown diverse pharmacological activities.]
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