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What is ginger?
A knotted, beige-colored root, ginger has been used in cooking
in China and India for more than 4,000 years. It is known
for its sharp, spicy flavor. In addition to its culinary uses,
it has several medicinal properties.
Why do we need ginger? What is it
In animal studies, ginger has inhibited the absorption of
cholesterol and increased the flow of bile. It also stimulates
the circulatory system and acts as a blood thinner.
In humans, ginger has been shown to relieve motion sickness
better than any over-the-counter medication. Other studies
have found it to ease pain from sore throats and aches caused
by colds and flu. High doses of ginger (10-20g per day) have
been found to significantly decrease pain associated with
migraines and rheumatoid arthritis.
How much ginger should I take?
Intake of ginger depends on the condition. In general, no
more than 2-4 grams of fresh ginger should be taken daily
in addition to whatever ginger you may get from your diet.
However, other doses are recommended for the following conditions:
- Nausea, gas or indigestion: 2-4g of fresh root (0.25-1.00g
of powdered root)
- Cold and flue symptoms, headaches: ginger tea (2 tablespoons
of freshly shredded ginger steeped in boiled water 2-3 times
- Arthritis: 2-4g daily; use oil or fresh root in a warm
poultice or compress and apply to the painful areas.
What forms of ginger are available?
Ginger is available in a variety of forms. In addition to
fresh ginger root (which is available at most supermarkets),
it can be found as an extract, tincture, capsule or oil. Another
good source is crystallized ginger, which is covered in sugar.
What can happen if I take too much
ginger? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What
precautions should I take?
The American Herbal Products Association has given fresh
ginger root a class I safety rating, meaning it is a safe
herb with a wide dosage range. However, dried ginger root
has a class II B rating, which means it should not be used
Some evidence suggests that ginger may interfere with heart
medications, diabetes medications and anticoagulants. Since
ginger also increases the flow of bile, it should not be taken
by patients with gallstones. Excessive amounts of ginger may
cause mild heartburn.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
1. Awang DVC. Ginger. Can Pharma J
2. Bone K. Ginger. Br J Phytother 1997;4(3):110120.
3. USP publishes information monographs on ginger and valerian.
4. Grontved A, et al. Ginger root against seasickness: a controlled
trial on the open sea. Acta Otolaryngol 1988;105:45-49.
5. Schulick P. The many roles of ginger. Natural Foods
Merchandiser's Nutrition Science News 1995:67.
6. Schulz V, Hnsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy:
A Physicians' Guide to Herbal Medicine, 3rd ed. Berlin,
Germany: Springer; 1998.