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© 2018 Steven Foster

A ginger monograph for the home

Latin Name: Zingiber officinale

Common Name: ginger

This ginger monograph provides basic information about ginger—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Ginger Basics

  • Ginger is a tropical plant that has green-purple flowers and a fragrant underground stem (called a rhizome). It is widely used as a flavoring or fragrance in foods, beverages, soaps, and cosmetics.
  • Ancient Sanskrit, Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts discussed the use of ginger for health-related purposes. In Asian medicine, dried ginger has been used for thousands of years to treat stomach ache, diarrhea, and nausea.
  • Today, ginger is used as a dietary supplement for postsurgery nausea; nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, or pregnancy; rheumatoid arthritis; and osteoarthritis.
  • Common forms of ginger include the fresh or dried root, tablets, capsules, liquid extracts, and teas.

Ginger in Health Research

  • There’s some information from studies in people on the use of ginger for nausea and vomiting.
  • Much less is known about other uses of ginger for other health conditions.

Ginger Research Summary

  • Some evidence indicates that ginger may help relieve pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
  • Ginger may help to control nausea related to cancer chemotherapy when used in addition to conventional anti-nausea medication.
  • It’s unclear whether ginger is helpful for postsurgery nausea, motion sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis.

Ginger Safety

  • Ginger, when used as a spice, is believed to be generally safe.
  • In some people, ginger can have mild side effects such as abdominal discomfort, heartburn, diarrhea, and gas.
  • Some experts recommend that people with gallstone disease use caution with ginger because it may increase the flow of bile.
  • Research has not definitely shown whether ginger interacts with medications, but concerns have been raised that it might interact with anticoagulants (blood thinners).
  • Although several studies have found no evidence of harm from taking ginger during pregnancy, it’s uncertain whether ginger is always safe for pregnant women. If you’re considering using ginger while you’re pregnant, consult your health care provider.

Ginger References


PubMed Articles About

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from: