(See also Overview of Dietary Supplements.)
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is extracted and made into tablet form or can be used fresh, dried, or as a juice or oil. Active ingredients include gingerols (which give ginger its flavor and odor) and shogaols.
Ginger may have antibacterial properties and antiplatelet effects in vitro, but data are inconsistent.
Meta-analyses have suggested possible benefits of ginger in the control of postoperative (1) and pregnancy-related (2) nausea and vomiting, but no benefit for chemotherapy-induced (3) nausea and vomiting.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are less well supported. However, a review of 8 trials (481 participants) indicates a potential anti-inflammatory effect, which may reduce pain in some conditions, such as osteoarthritis (4).
Chaiyakunapruk N, Kitikannakorn N, Nathisuwan S, et al. The efficacy of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis.Am J Obstet Gynecol194(1): 95-99, 2006.
Matthews A, Dowswell T, Haas DM, et al. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (9):CD007575, 2010.
Lee J, Oh H. Ginger as an antiemetic modality for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncol Nurs Forum40(2):163-170, 2013.
Terry R, Posadzki P, Watson LK, et al. The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale) for the treatment of pain: a systematic review of clinical trials. Pain Med 12(12):1808-1818, 2011.