Zingiber officinale

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-3-18 (EDT)

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Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is well-known for its effectiveness in treating nausea and vomiting, but it is also effective as a digestive aid and in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated. [1], [2]

Contents

Characteristics

Uses

Historical Uses:

Zingiber has historically been used for dyspepsia, vomiting, cholera, and malaria. It is thought to have been derived from the Garden of Eden.

Medicinal Uses:

  • vertigo, motion sickness, morning sickness in pregnancy (see Cautions and Contraindications), post-operative nausea

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Infusion - 1 tsp/cup as needed
  • Dried rhizome - 0.25-1.0g taken orally as a capsule, tablet, powder, or decoction three times daily
  • Tincture - 1.5-5mL (1:5, 40%) three times daily or 1.5-3mL (1:5, 90%) three times daily
  • Powder - 1-2g as a single dose antiemetic (For motions sickness, take 2-4g daily)

Safety

The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3], [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are rare but may include heartburn and digestive upset.
  • Cautions and Contraindications: pregnancy due to its emmenagogue/abortifacient action (empirical) in a dose of >2g daily, doses greater than 1g daily should be used only when the patient is under medical supervision; gallstones without physician consult due to its cholagogue action (speculative)
  • Drug-Herb Interactions.[3]
  • Anesthesia, General - Beneficial or supportive interaction with professional management, prevention or reduction of drug adverse effect; Zingiber reduces post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) caused by anesthetics. Possible alternative to pharmaceuticals in moderate PONV. Insufficient activity for emetic rescue in acute cases. Consider pretreatment in elective surgery patients.
  • Antiplatelet Agents - Potential or theoretical adverse interaction of uncertain severity; This is based on Zingiber's "NSAID-like" activity (clinical occurrence and significance not established, increase risk of bleed negligible). Professional monitoring advised but preferably avoid.
  • Cisplatin and Emetogenic Antineoplastic Chemotherapies - Beneficial or supportive interaction with professional management, prevention or reduction of drug adverse effect; Zingiber reduces acute nausea and vomiting associated with these drugs. Consider pretreatment and post-treatment (up to 24 hours) for nausea.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Analgesic Antiarthritics - Beneficial or supportive interaction not requiring professional management, prevention or reduction of drug adverse effects; Zingiber given as an adjuvant helps to increase symptom relief and reduces side effects of drug allowing for lower doses.
  • Phenprocoumon and Related Oral Vitamin K Antagonist Anticoagulants - Potential or theoretical adverse interaction of uncertain severity; Zingiber has a theoretical additive effect on hemostasis (one case report, conflict with clinical data, suggests risk generally overstated). Monitor INR.

References

  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.
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