Ginger: Herbal Remedies


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Ginger is a herbal remedy for calming nausea and arthritis.

This botanical and popular spice is native to southeast Asia but is readily available in the United States. Fresh ginger root is a staple in Asian cooking. Dried and powdered, it's used as an herbal remedy.

Ginger is high in volatile oils, also known as essential oils. Volatile oils are the aromatic part of the plants that lend the flavor and aroma we associate with most culinary herbs. They are called "volatile" because as unstable molecules, they are given off freely into the atmosphere. But ginger isn't just a tasty meal addition. Its root is a popular herbal remedy for easing upset stomachs, bloating and more.

Uses for Ginger

Ginger root is effective in reducing nausea and also may be useful in reducing the pain, stiffness, and immobility of arthritis. Dosages of approximately 3 or 4 grams of ginger powder daily appear most effective for long-standing arthritis. But powder may not be the only effective form of ginger root: One study demonstrated a response from the ingestion of lightly cooked ginger.

Ginger has also has a long history of use as an antinausea herb recommended for morning sickness, motion sickness, and nausea that accompanies gastroenteritis (more commonly called stomach flu). As a stomach-calming agent, ginger also reduces gas, bloating, and indigestion, and aids in the body's use and absorption of other nutrients and medicines. It is also a valuable deterrent to intestinal worms, particularly roundworms.

Ginger may even improve some cases of constant severe dizziness and vertigo. It may also be useful for some migraine headaches. Ginger also prevents platelets from clumping together in the bloodstream. This serves to thin the blood and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots.

A warming herb, ginger can promote perspiration when ingested in large amounts. It stimulates circulation, particularly in the abdominal and pelvic regions, and occasionally can promote menstrual flow. If you are often cold, you can use warm ginger to help raise your body temperature. When used topically, ginger stimulates circulation in the skin, and the volatile oils travel into underlying tissues.

Try ginger root poultices on the chest for lung congestion or on the abdomen for gas and nausea. Powdered ginger and essential oils are the strongest form of ginger for topical use.

In the next section, you will learn how to prepare ginger for herbal remedies and some of the potentially dangerous side effects.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.

Preparations and Warnings for Ginger

Like all herbs, ginger should be handled and taken with care.

Ginger Preparations and Dosage

Ginger can be taken in a number of ways. Such as:

Capsules: For nausea, take 1 to 2 capsules every two to six hours. To alleviate arthritis pain, try higher dosages of 15 to 25 capsules per day.

lozenges: Assemble the items below.

  • Fresh ginger root, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 10 drops of each the following essential oils: thyme, orange, mint, and eucalyptus
  • Licorice powder
  • Slippery elm powder

Simmer ginger root in a pan of water until just soft (about a half hour). Dry briefly on paper towels. To 1/2 cup of honey, add essential oils and stir. Dip the ginger root slices into the honey mixture, and place on a sheet of wax paper. Mix licorice and slippery elm powders in equal proportions, and dust the sticky ginger slices with the powder mixture repeatedly over several days until the powder no longer absorbs. Store the lozenges in an airtight container or wrap them individually. Suck on the ginger slices for throat pain and to soothe coughs.Ginger poultice for throat or lung congestion: Grate one whole ginger root into a bowl. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne oil or powder and 2 drops of essential oil of thyme. Place a liberal coat of plain oil or ointment on the area of skin to be treated. For swollen tonsils and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, oil the neck, throat, and underside of the chin. For bronchitis and lung congestion, oil the upper chest and back. Spread the grated ginger root mixture on the skin and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover this with a heating pad or hot, moist towel. Leave in place for 15 to 30 minutes. The skin should turn red and feel warm and stimulated, but you should feel no pain with this procedure. Remove the poultice promptly if you experience any discomfort or burning. For infants and adults with sensitive skin, you may want to omit the cayenne and thyme oil and instead use plain grated ginger. Ginger Precautions and WarningsAvoid ginger preparations for fevers that are over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Although ginger is recommended for morning sickness, those with a history of miscarriage should avoid it. Since ginger stimulates blood flow and thins the blood, promoting uterine bleeding is a concern.

Some people actually become nauseated if they consume a large quantity of ginger; for others, ginger relieves nausea. It is best to use ginger cautiously at first.

Side Effects of Ginger

People who suffer with heartburn or the symptoms of gallstones occasionally experience a worsening of symptoms when taking ginger.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.