Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Rhizome Herbal Monograph

Ginger Root Powder In A Bowl
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A popular hot, fragrant kitchen spice used widely in cooking. Its popularity both as a food, a spice, a flavor and as herbal medicine speaks for itself. Every freezer should contain whole ginger root and every pantry some ground ginger.

Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from the roots is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and is a common ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes (1)

Traditional Uses

In India ginger is a central ingredient in sauces in many vegetarian and meat-based dishes, especially curries, plus it has a role in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger is also consumed in candied and pickled form. Tea can be made using ginger. (1)

In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles. It is made into a candy called shoga no sato zuke. (1)

In the traditional Korean kimchi, ginger is either finely minced or just juiced to avoid the fibrous texture and added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process. (1)

Ginger has a long history of medicinal use dating back 2,500 years in China and India for conditions such as headaches, nausea, rheumatism, and colds. (2)

Characterized in traditional Chinese medicine as spicy and hot, ginger is claimed to warm the body and treat cold extremities, improve a weak and tardy pulse, address a pale complexion, and strengthen the body after blood loss. (2)

During cold weather, drinking ginger tea is a good way to keep warm. It is diaphoretic, which means that it promotes sweating, working to warm the body from within. A great home remedy to ward off the coughs and colds. (16)

ginger tea

The rhizomes have been used since antiquity in the various traditional systems of medicine to treat arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscular aches, pains, sore throats, cramps, hypertension, dementia, fever, infectious diseases, catarrh, nervous diseases, gingivitis, toothache, asthma, stroke, and diabetes. (15)

Ginger is also used as a home remedy and is of immense value in treating various gastric ailments like constipation, dyspepsia, belching, bloating, gastritis, epigastric discomfort, gastric ulcerations, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, and scientific studies have validated the traditional uses. (15)

Ginger is also shown to be effective in preventing gastric ulcers induced by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs like indomethacin, aspirin], reserpine, ethanol, stress (hypothermic and swimming), acetic acid and Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric ulcerations in laboratory animals. (15)

Active Constituents

Ginger contains a number of pungent constituents and active ingredients. Steam distillation of powdered ginger produces ginger oil, which contains a high proportion of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, predominantly zingiberene.3

The major pungent compounds in ginger have yielded potentially active gingerols, which can be converted to shogaols, zingerone, and paradol. The compound 6-gingerol appears to be responsible for its characteristic taste. Zingerone and shogaols are found in small amounts in fresh ginger and in larger amounts in dried or extracted products. (2)

Therapeutic actions & Clinical Studies

Ginger has been reported to exert anti-obesity, anti-oxidant and anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, carminative, diaphrodic and digestive, expectorant, as well as gastroprotective activities. (17)


Fat Metabolism

In one study with rats, findings suggest that ginger inhibits body weight gain and adipose tissue on a high-fat diet. Additionally, ginger reduces lipid levels in blood serum and liver, promotes lipid excretion through feces.


Clinical study results demonstrated that 6-gingerol suppresses cytokine production for T cell activation and proliferation, thereby not causing B cell and mast cell activation and resulting in prevention or alleviation of allergic rhinitis symptoms. (18) Another study showed that ginger can help reduce asthma by downregulating the inflammatory protein pathway involving histamine, in relation to lung tissue inflammation. (19)

Ginger as an Anti-inflammatory
When your body tissues are inflammed you are for more vulnerable to both infectious and degenrative diseases. Ginger has been studied as an antiageing agent that protects against oxidative stress and inflammation in the pathogenesis of many diseases. Due to its bioactive compounds and constituents, ginger has shown various types of therapeutic effects, including antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, gastroprotective, antioxidant, and neuroprotective activities. (21)


Ulcers result from an imbalance between aggressive factors and the maintenance of mucosal integrity through the endogenous defense mechanisms. To regain the balance, different therapeutics including spice and plant extracts have been used. One study with rats clearly demonstrated that aqueous extract of ginger was able to protect the gastric mucosa from stress-induced mucosal lesions and inhibits gastric acid secretion. (17)


The mechanism underlying ginger’s anti-emetic activity is not clearly understood, but the aromatic, spasmolytic, carminative, and absorbent properties of ginger suggest it has direct effects on the gastrointestinal tract. (3)

Five double-blind studies have been performed that demonstrate a positive effect of ginger on motion sickness. (4-8)


The ethanol extract of ginger has exhibited cardio-protective potential after a heart attack. (9)

Oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is thought to play a key role in atherosclerotic plaque formation. Currently, there is a renewed interest in ginger because of its antioxidants and cardio-protective properties. Overall, ginger extracts, including the water extract possess the antioxidant activities to inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro. (10)

The results of one present study, for the first time, provide clear evidence that ginger extract enhances the antioxidant defense against heart damage (11)


Four clinical studies reported that ginger reduced platelet aggregation, which are responsible for blood coagulation. (12)

Lowers Blood Pressure

Ginger has been used traditionally in a wide variety of ailments including hypertension. The cardiovascular effects of ginger were reported under controlled experimental conditions to induce a dose-dependent fall in the arterial blood pressure. (13)

Another study provides a sound mechanistic basis for the use of ginger in hypertension and palpitations. (14)

You can see why I love this herb and include in so many of our Herbal Health Recipes

Ginger can be found in these Ultimate Herbal Health products:

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