Zingiber officinale

scientific name: 
Zingiber officinale Roscoe
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Herb 30-100 cm high, with robust, branched, rhizome near the surface of the soil. Leaves, 5-25 x 1-3 cm, linear-lanceolate, sessile, with acute apex and cuneate base, glabrous; inflorescence cylindrical, spikes 4-7 x 1.5-2.5 cm, corolla yellowish-green; flower produced in the axil of yellowish bracts; fruit a three-valved capsule with small black arillate seeds.









rhizome, decoction, orally9,11


rhizome, decoction, orally1,3,8,9,11


rhizome, decoction, orally1,3-4


rhizome, decoction, orally10


rhizome, decoction, orally1


rhizome, decoction, orally2

stomach pain:

rhizome, decoction, orally3,7


rhizome, decoction, orally3


rhizome, decoction, orally5


rhizome, decoction, orally6

whooping cough:

rhizome, decoction, orally8


rhizome, decoction, orally9,11-12

The rhizome of Zingiber officinale is widely used for human consumption and is an industrial source of essential oil.

According to ESCOP, ginger rhizome has been prescribed for the prevention of nausea and vomiting resulting from motion sickness (sea sickness) and as a post-surgical anti-emetic in minor surgeries.  The effectiveness of both indications has been confirmed by clinical assays.  The indications approved by Commission E are: dyspepsia and prevention of the gastrointestinal symptoms of motion sickness68.

For asthma, catarrh, flu, cold, stomach pain, fever, indigestion, cough, whooping cough, vomiting and flatulence:

Prepare a decoction with 5 grams of fresh rhizome in 250 mL (1 cup) of water. Boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot, leave to cool down and drink 2 to 4 times a day.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

According to published and other information:

Uses for catarrh, flu, cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, flatulence and indigestion are classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies and available published scientific information.

Uses for asthma, cough and whooping cough are classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)13 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should stomach pain, fever or vomiting persist for more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

Due to the health risks involved with whooping cough, an initial medical evaluation is recommended.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to medical treatment.

Not for use during lactation or by children under 6 years old14.

Ginger may increase bioavailability of sulfaguanidine by maximizing its absorption.

Patients who are receiving oral anticoagulants or anti-platelet aggregation treatments should seek the advice of their physician before taking any ginger preparations, due to increased risks of hemorrhage.

It is recommended that patients with gallstones seek the advice of their physician before taking any ginger preparations15.

TRAMIL Research61

The hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the fresh rhizome (3.4% total solids) orally administered to mice at a single incremental dose of 102, 153, 204 and 255mg/kg (mg of dried vegetal material /kg) caused mortality with an LD50 = 224 mg/kg.  Adverse clinical signs of distal cyanosis were observed during the first hours after administration, at the highest dose.  During the 14 days of observation of the surviving animals, there was neither mortality nor any adverse clinical signs seen.  The histological study of the organs of mice given the mean lethal dose assay showed no injuries.

TRAMIL Research62

The hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the fresh rhizome (3.4% total solids) added to the culture in increasing concentrations (0.08 to 0.204 mg/mL) (total solids/mL) did not show genotoxic effects in the somatic segregation model for Aspergillus nidulans D30.

TRAMIL Research63

The decoction (15 g/L) and subsequent maceration for six hours of the rhizome administered orally at a dosage of 60 mL 2-3 times a day to 61 volunteers for 20 days, and at a dosage of 30 mL away from meals to 13 volunteers for 15 to 30 days did not evidence clinical symptoms of intolerance or rejection.

The LD50 of the aqueous extract by intraperitoneal administration was 178 mg/kg in rats64.  The LD50 of the hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the rhizome by oral administration was 3 g/kg in mice45.  The LD50 of the hydroalcoholic extract (90%) from the rhizome by intraperitoneal administration was 1 g/kg in mice46.

The rhizome (20 g/animal) orally administered to dogs did not result in signs of toxicity, and the decoction (1-118 g/animal) orally administered to rabbits did not show toxic effects65.

The rhizome has been classified as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a flavoring agent66.

Cases of stomach burn have been reported as induced by ginger rhizome.  Administer with caution in cases of peptic ulcer67.

There is no available information documenting the toxicity of medicinal use in pregnant women.

The rhizome has been extensively studied and contains, among other components, monoterpenes: camphene, geranial, neral16, 1,8-cineole17, citronellol18; sesquiterpenes: bisabolene, ß-eudesmol19, α-curcumene16, elemol20, farnesol1, furanogermenone22; diterpenes: galanolactone23, labdane derivatives24-26;benzenoids: curcumin27 and derivatives28-29,gingerol and derivatives28,30, shogaol and derivatives31-32, zingiberone, zingiberol and related compounds33; phenylpropanoids: p-coumaric34, iso-eugenol17; flavonoids: cyanin35; miscellaneous: capsaicin36.  Additionally, a large amount of alkanes have been reported17.  The constituents of the essential oil have been extensively studied36-38.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of rhizome39: calories: 347; water: 9.4%; proteins: 9.1%; fat: 6%; carbohydrates : 70.8%; fiber : 5.9%; ash : 4.8%; calcium : 116 mg; phosphorus : 148 mg; iron : 11.5 mg; sodium : 32 mg; potassium : 1342 mg; carotene : 88 µg; thiamine : 0.05 mg; riboflavin : 0.18 mg; niacin : 5.16 mg.

The hot water rhizome extract (750 µg/mL) in vitro inhibited prostaglandin synthesis in rabbit microsomes40.  The alcohol-acetone and chloroform extracts in vitro inhibited prostaglandin synthesis41-42.  The rhizome decoction (5 µL) in vitro on platelet cultures inhibited arachidonate, an intermediate product in the metabolism of arachidonic acid43.

The hot water rhizome extract in vitro did not stimulate the migration of isolated macrophages in guinea pigs44.

The hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the rhizome in vitro (500 µg/plate), was active against Bacillus anthracis, B. subtilis, Escherichia coli (7075 and BB strains), Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi (H), Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermis, S. hemolyticus45.  The hydroalcoholic extract (90%) in vitro (500 µg/ plate) was active against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Streptococcus faecalis46.

The aqueous extract from the rhizome (10%) in vitro was inactive against Herpes virus type II, influenza virus type A2, Poliovirus II and V, and Vaccinia47.

The dried rhizome in vitro was active against Schistosoma haematobium eggs isolated from samples taken from infected children48.

The hydroalcoholic extract (95%) from the dried rhizome in vitro was active against Ascaris lumbricoides49.

The aqueous extract from the rhizome showed significant relaxant activity on isolated guinea pig ileum (0.6 mg/mL) and on rat gastric fundus (1 mg/mL)50.

The hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the rhizome orally administered to rats (100 mg/kg) caused antipyretic effects in brewers’ yeast-induced hyperthermia and anti-inflammatory effects in carrageenan-induced paw edema, comparable to equal doses of aspirin45.  In a model where acetic acid was intraperitoneally injected in rats inducing painful writhing, a 10% analgesic activity compared to aspirin was observed with administration of the extract45.

The hydromethanolic extract (50%) in rats (10 g/kg) showed significant analgesic activity in acetic acid-induced writhing, but was inactive at 3 g/kg and at 10 g/kg in the hot plate model51.

The aqueous (169 mg/kg) and the methanolic (114 mg/kg) extracts orally administered to rabbits inhibited gastric secretions52.

The acetone extract from the rhizome (150 mg/kg) and metoclopramide (25 mg/kg) by oral administration in cases of suncus (Suncus murinus) blocked the emesis induced by subcutaneous administration of cyclophosphamide (300 mg/kg) administered after 60 minutes53.

The aqueous extract from the rhizome administered orally to mice caused anti-allergenic effects54.

The hydroalcoholic extract (80%) from the rhizome orally administered to rabbits caused hypoglycemia (51.4% decline) 2 hours after treatment and persisted for 4 hours45.

The rhizome (940 mg/person), orally taken by 36 male and female volunteers aged 18-20 was more effective against motion sickness than dimenhydrinate55.  Another study using 1 g/person revealed effects against sea-sickness56.  In a double-blind clinical test on adults, the rhizome (1 g/person) taken orally revealed no activity on the vestibular or oculomotor system57.  In another double-blind test with men and women, the rhizome was administered (1 g/person) orally two hours before motion causing nausea and vomiting but it did not show anti-motion sickness effects58.

The rhizome powder (250 mg/4 times/day/4 days) significantly reduced pregnancy-related emesis (hyperemesis gravidarum) by 70% in a double-blind random clinical test with 30 pregnant women, compared to the placebo, with no evidence of adverse effects on either the mother or the newborns59.

The rhizome (70 g/person) inhibited the synthesis of A2 thromboxane in humans60.




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The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.