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Ginger: Herbal Medications, What Works

Long popular as a spice, ginger (Zingiber officinale) is also used as a traditional medication, especially in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It is primarily used to help the gastrointestinal tract. It is approved in Germany as a nonprescription medicine, and is increasingly used in the United States for preventing nausea and motion sickness.

  • Clinical investigations of ginger's antinausea properties began with a 1992 study by Mowrey and Clayson, in which a single 940 mg dose of powdered ginger root was compared with Dramamine and with a placebo in a single-blind trial. Blindfolded subjects treated with ginger lasted longer in a tilted rotating chair than either the Dramamine or the placebo group, before vomiting occurred.

  • A 1994 study at sea by Schmid and associates, involving 1,741 participants in a whale-watching cruise, found none of the 203 persons taking 250 mg of ginger had seasickness. Ginger proved as effective as five other medications. Ginger has also been effective for postoperative nausea, and nausea from chemotherapy. However, in another study, the drug scopolamine was better able to prevent motion sickness.

 

Ginger may not be safe for morning sickness nausea, however, because some components of ginger may have mutagenic effects, which could possibly cause birth defects.

Historically, ginger has also been a popular remedy for headache, migraine, inflammation, and rheumatic conditions, but such uses are not well documented by clinical studies.

 

 

 

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From THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier.

 

Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Inc.

Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.

 


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