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Zingiber officinalis (Ginger)

Zingiber officinalis                                 Common name: Ginger

Family: Zingiberaceae

Part used:  Rhizome

Constituents: Volatile oil (zingiberene), sesquiterpenes, oleo-resins (gingerols, shogaols), starch, proteins, lipids, nutrients, amino acids

Medical actions:  Choleretic, cholagogue, positive inotropic and chronotropic, gastrointestinal stimulant, thermogenic, antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, anti-thrombotic, anti-cholesterol, anti-emetic, rubefacient, vasodilator, peripheral circulatory stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, hepatoprotective, antioxidant

Medical uses: Zingiber increases the flow of saliva and is a stimulating tonic for the digestive system. Reduces cramping, gas and nausea. Indicated for motion sickness. Increases the peripheral circulation and detoxifies the body from toxins associated with rheumatism. Can be used topically for inflammatory conditions such as RA, OA, bursitis and muscle sprains.

Pharmacology:

  • Gingerols (mainly in fresh root) increase uptake of calcium by the myocardium and enhance the force of contractions (cardiotonic). Also hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, and promote gastric secretions.
  • Volatile oils (zingiberene, b-bisabolene) are anti-cholesterol, antioxidant, analgesic, rubefacient and anti-spasmodic.
  • Inhibit both platelet aggregation and prostaglandins & leukotrienes associated with inflammation.

Pharmacy: Dry herb: 1-10 g in divided doses (start low and gradually increase the dosage). Fresh herb: 5 g fresh QD. Infusion: 1g/cup, TID. Tincture: (1:5, 90%) 1.5 – 3ml TID. Also as compress, cough syrup or candied.

Contraindications:  People with sensitive stomachs do not always tolerate. Use caution with ulcers, GERD, gallstones, kidney disease, and tendency to hemorrhage.

Toxicity:  No adverse effects expected with recommended dosages. Best taken with food as high doses can cause heartburn. Topically may cause contact dermatitis.

Interactions: Increases absorption of all drugs. Can reduce absorption of iron and fat soluble vitamins.

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