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By Melissa G. Marko, PhD, Ara DerMarderosian, PhD

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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 is said to be an effective antiemetic and antinauseant, especially for nausea caused by motion sickness or pregnancy, and to relieve intestinal cramps. Ginger is also used as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.


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).

Adverse effects

Ginger is usually not harmful, although some people have a burning sensation when they eat it. Nausea, dyspepsia, and dysgeusia are possible.

Drug interactions

Theoretically, ginger is contraindicated in patients who have bleeding diatheses or who take antiplatelet drugs or warfarin.

Ginger references

* This is the Professional Version. *