What Is Ginger
Ginger is a tropical plant that has green/purple flowers and an underground stem that is aromatic. The dried or fresh root of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale) is used as a spice in cooking and for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal Uses for Ginger
Ginger is a dietary supplement that has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Ginger is thought to work by decreasing joint pain and reducing inflammation. There have also been claims that ginger increases circulation in patients with Raynaud's disease.
Studies have shown that ginger extract inhibits TNF-alpha, COX-2, and lipoxygenase -- explaining its anti-inflammatory effect. From studies, not enough evidence supports recommending ginger for osteoarthritis.
Ginger is known to reduce nausea, vomiting, and is used to treat motion sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Another study reported that ginger killed H. pylori, a bacterium that is associated with stomach ulcers.
Availability of Ginger
Ginger is available as powder, extract, tincture, capsules, and oils. The recommended dosage is up to 2 grams in three divided doses per day, or up to 4 cups of tea daily.
Precautions and Warnings for Ginger
Ginger can interact with blood thinners (such as coumadin). Also, ginger should not be used if you have gallstones. Other theories suggest there may be other potential drug interactions. Discuss ginger with your doctor before including it in your treatment regimen.
Supplement Guide. Ginger. Arthritis Today. Accessed 3/31/2009/
Ginger. NCCAM. Accessed 3/31/09.
Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis. American Family Physician. Gregory PJ et al. January 15, 2008.