Ginger Root

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. [1] Botanically, ginger appears as a creeping perennial on a rhizome, which spreads underground. [2] In the first year, a green, reed-like stem about 60 cm high grows from the plant's rhizome. The plant is characterized by narrow, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate leaves some 15 - 30 cm long, which die off every year. The flower grows directly from the rhizome & terminates as a long, curved spike with white or yellow flowers. The thick, tuberous rhizome is the part of the plant harvested for therapeutic application. Preparations are said to taste aromatic and moderately spicy. [1]

Although native to Southeast Asia, Ginger is now cultivated throughout the world; including the United States, India, China, West Indies, Mexico, Africa, Fiji, and Australia. Ginger has historically been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine - the traditional system of medicine in India. In India, it is often applied topically to relieve headaches, toothaches, and to improve circulation to the limbs; as well as to address nausea and other conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. [3]

In following with Traditional Chinese Medicine, dried ginger is used for cold conditions characterized by pallor, poor appetite and digestion, cold limbs, vomiting, diarrhea, pale tongue, or thin, watery or white sputum. [4, 5] Fresh ginger is used to promote sweating and to disperse the exterior cold caused by external influences upon the body; like pathogenic wind cold that results in upper respiratory tract infections.

Medicinal actions ascribed to ginger:

  • general stimulant
  • positive inotropic and chronotropic
  • peripheral circulatory stimulant
  • thermogenic
  • diaphoretic
  • rubefacient
  • gastrointestinal stimulant
  • antiemetic
  • choleretic
  • carminative
  • antibiotic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • spasmolytic
  • expectorant
  • analgesic

The main constituents in ginger are; volatile oils, accounting for approximately 1 - 3% (i.e. sesquiterpenes, zingiberene, beta-sesquiphellandrene and beta-bisabolene); as well as starch, proteins, proteases, vitamins, and resins. [7] The pungent or hot principles are attributed to the gingerols (1 - 2.5%) and shogaols. [8] Gingerols decompose into shogaols upon drying and storage. Shogaol has shown the ability to act as an analgesic in clinical study. Ginger extracts have also demonstrated antibiotic effects against Salmonella typhi, E. coli, Staph aureus, and Strep viridans. [9] Furthermore, aqueous extracts of ginger (as dilute as 2.5%) have demonstrated effectiveness against Trichomonas vaginalis.

Anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are attributed to the inhibition of prostaglandin (COX-2), leukotriene (5-LOX), and thromboxane synthesis. [6, 10, 11] Inhibition of thromboxane synthesis and lipid peroxide formation is also purported to cause a reductions in platelet aggregation. Ginger also inhibits IL-1 and TNF (tumor necrosis factor).

Pharmacologic activity in the gastrointestinal tract includes ginger's ability to impair cholesterol absorption, thereby reducing serum and hepatic cholesterol levels. Ginger is also thought to stimulate 7-alpha-hydroxylase; the rate limiting enzyme in bile acid synthesis.

Products Containing Ginger Root
Name Price Rating Serving Price # of Servings Manufacturer Health Condition
Charge Epehdra Free $17.87
$0.30 60 Labrada
DymaBurn Xtreme $15.95
$0.32 50 Dymatize
Hem-Relief $49.95
$1.11 45 Western Herbal Hemorrhoids


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