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  Ginger Root (Zingiber officinalis)  
 
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Ginger is more than a spice, and very safe for general use in the diet. It has found usefulness in many conditions.

  • Nausea: Ginger is often used to ease nausea caused by motion sickness, pregnancy or other causes. It is sold as a safe alternative to over-the-counter motion sickness remedies.
  • Digestion: It has the ability to calm the stomach, promote the flow of bile, and improve the appetite. It is a digestive stimulant, useful when appetite may be low.
  • Stomach and Intestinal cramps from gas: It can relieve these, often quicker than any other herbal medicine.
  • Circulation: It helps to support a healthy cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky, therefore reducing the likelihood of clots. For this reason, self-medication is advised against, especially if you are taking anticoagulant drugs or are using aspirin. Much recent work has focused on the use of ginger in circulatory disorders such as cold extremities and Raynaudís disease. Ginger may lower blood pressure for several hours. There may also be a pulse-lowering effect.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It has traditionally been used to help inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis. It is also valued for its analgesic action, which may help arthritic conditions.
  • For women: It may be of use in ovarian and menstrual pain.
  • Cholesterol: Studies have suggested that ginger may be useful in keeping cholesterol levels under control, although the mechanism for this is not yet understood.
  • Respiratory infections: It is well known for its warming expectorant action on the upper respiratory tract, and this is why Chinese herbalists have traditionally used ginger to treat colds and influenza.

 

 
 

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinalis) can help with the following:
 
 
Allergy  Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever

Circulation

  Raynaud's Phenomenon
  Atherosclerosis
  Hypercoagulation (Thickened Blood)
 Ginger has been shown in research studies to inhibit platelet aggregation thus reducing abnormal clotting of the blood.

  Varicose Veins

Digestion

  Nausea, Vomiting
 Standard anti-nausea medications often work through the central nervous system, causing drowsiness. Ginger isn't likely to cause this reaction, however, because it acts directly on the digestive tract. In studies of women undergoing major gynecological or exploratory (laparoscopic) surgery, those who took 1 gram of ginger before the procedure experienced significantly less postoperative reaction to anesthesia and surgery - namely, nausea and vomiting - than did those who were given a placebo. Ginger also may be useful in easing the nausea that frequently follows chemotherapy treatments.

  Dyspepsia / Poor Digestion
 Because ginger soothes the digestive tract, it can be useful in relieving flatulence. Supplements or freshly grated ginger root mixed with diluted lime juice work well for this purpose.

Emergency Care

Not recommended for:
  Upcoming Surgical Procedure
 Large doses of ginger may increase the risk of bleeding, but can be useful after surgery to control nausea. Please check with your doctor.

Hormones

  Hypothyroidism
 The liberal use of ginger, cayenne and other spicy herbs has helped restore a normal body temperature for some people with hypothyroidism.

Medications

Not recommended for:
  Anticoagulant Use
 Ginger has been shown to reduce platelet stickiness in test tubes. Although there are no reports of interactions with anticoagulant drugs, people should consult a healthcare professional if they are taking an anticoagulant and wish to use ginger.

Musculo-Skeletal

  Osteoarthritis
 A concentrated extract of 2 ginger species (255mg bid) over a period of 6 weeks reduced pain in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 261patients with moderate to severe pain from osteoarthritis of the knee. Acetaminophen was allowed to be used if the pain was not controlled sufficiently. [Arthritis Rheum 2001;44(11): pp.2531-2538]

Researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University enrolled 29 patients who suffered from osteoarthritis of the knees. The six men and 23 women (aged 42 to 85 years) were divided into two groups. One group received a 250mg dose of ginger extract four times each day for 12 weeks, while the other group received a placebo. The treatments were then switched for an additional 12 weeks. Overall, the "ginger extract group showed a significant superiority over the placebo group," and researchers concluded that 24 weeks of treatment with ginger extract may be optimal for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knees.

Nervous System

  Motion Sickness
 In a widely cited study of Danish naval cadets, those given 1 gram of powdered ginger daily had much fewer incidents of cold sweats and vomiting (classic symptoms of seasickness) than did those given a placebo. A number of other studies have demonstrated similar findings concerning ginger's calming effect on motion sickness.

Take l00 - 250mg 2 hours before departing and then every 4 hours afterward, as needed.

Organ Health

  Vertigo
 Ginger's anti-nausea action also helps dispel dizziness, particularly when the dizziness is aggravated by motion sickness. Older people, who can be unsteady on their feet, may particularly benefit from ginger's steadying influence.


Not recommended for:
  Gallbladder Disease
 Avoid medicinal amounts of ginger (e.g. large doses of dried ginger extract) if you have gallstones because it increases bile flow. Bottles of ginger root often contain the warning not to take if gallstones are present.

So if you are in a gallstone crisis, avoiding ginger, or anything that stimulates bile flow and/or gallbladder contraction would seem wise. If not in crisis, it may be well tolerated and act to improve bile flow and reduce sludge.

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Cold Hands and Feet
 A warming herb sometimes helpful in improving circulation.

Uro-Genital

  Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues
 Ginger syrup was used to reduce nausea and vomiting in a controlled study of 26 women during the first trimester of pregnancy. 250mg ginger was used four times daily [Altern Ther Health Med 2002;8(5): pp.89-91]. Although this was the amount used in the study, the recommended dose is 1 gram as needed several times per day, says Varro Tyler, PhD., dean and distinguished professor emeritus at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Using capsules of ginger root purchased at a health food store will give you the greatest convenience and control over the amount of ginger you are using. There may be a variety of products available from your health food store designed to help control nausea which include ginger. One such product is called Preggie Pops, a lollipop created for this problem. It does, however, contain sugar.

Do not use more than 3-5gm of dried ginger per day during early pregnancy.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

Analgesic:  Agent which relieves pain without causing loss of consciousness.

Anticoagulant:  A substance that prevents or delays blood clots (coagulation).

Arthritis:  Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.

Bile:  A bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and is released when fat enters the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) in order to aid digestion.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Cholesterol:  A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Expectorant:  A substance that promotes the removal of mucous from the respiratory tract.

Herbs:  Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.

Nausea:  Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

Over-The-Counter:  A drug or medication that can legally be bought without a doctor's prescription being required.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:  A long-term, destructive connective tissue disease that results from the body rejecting its own tissue cells (autoimmune reaction).

Stomach:  A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomachís mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.