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Ginger

The rhizome or the underground stem of the plant zingiber officinale is used since 1500s in Chinese, Indian and Japanese medicines. The name ginger comes from a Sanskrit word which means ‘with a body like a horn’. Volatile oils and pungent phenolic compounds (gingerols and shogaols) are the important active components of this herb.
Traditionally ginger is used in a variety of ailments orally, tropically or intramuscularly without any scientific evidence for its benefits.

Health and ginger

  1. Ginger when used in recommended doses for a short period of time (5 days) is very effective for nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy. However large doses of ginger for a long period are not recommended as it can cause mutations or abortions.
  2. Ginger when used in combination with nifedipine may have synergetic effect on anti-platelet aggregation in hypertensive patients.
  3. Ginger may reduce motion sickness/seasickness (reduces vomiting but not nausea).
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    But more researches need to be carried out in this field.
  4. There is limited research on ginger being beneficial in osteoarthritis treatment, rheumatoid arthritis or joint and muscle pain.
  5. Nausea is one of the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. Ginger may reduce the length of time and severity of nausea which a patient experiences after chemotherapy.
  6. Ginger if taken before a surgery can help improve nausea and vomiting that occurs in some patients after surgery.
  7. Traditionally or based on scientific theories ginger is used as a cure for various other ailments that include nausea cure, antifungal, antacid, antiseptic, antioxidant, asthma, atherosclerosis, alcohol withdrawal, baldness, dysentery, bleeding, blood thinner, burns, cancer, cold, cough, diarrhea, appetite stimulant, digestive aid, painful menstruation, promotion of menstruation, shortening labor, stimulant, stomach ulcers, fungal infection, elevated cholesterol, flu, headache, high blood pressure, impotence, kidney diseases, liver diseases, laxative, pain relief, psoriasis, toothache and upper respiratory tract infections.

Side effect of ginger

  1. Ginger can be ingested in the form of fresh root, dried root, powder, tablets, tinctures, liquid extracts, capsules and teas.
  2. Ginger powder when taken in large amounts can cause bad mouth taste, irritation, bloating, nausea and gas.
  3. People with gall stones, blocked intestines or inflammatory bowel diseases should use fresh ginger with caution as, if not chewed properly then it may block the intestines.
  4. Ginger may lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting. Ginger supplements should be used with caution in people with diabetes, hypertension and surgery (as it may increase the risk of bleeding).
  5. Ginger can increase menstruation causing abortions, mutation of the fetus or increase the risk of bleeding. Thus ginger intake during pregnancy should not exceed the amounts greater than in meals.
Ginger may also interact with other drugs or herbal supplements, so it is advisable to take it in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional.

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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