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Zingiber officinale


Zingiber officinale


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Zanjabeel, Sankajabir, Citaraho, Tangawizi, Ata-le, Jinja [1].


Zingiber officinale, a perennial, grows up to 1m and yields small oblong leaves, but is mostly grown for its bulbous rhizome which is used as a spice, condiment or for its medicinal value.

Origin / Habitat

Z. officinale is a widely cultivated reed-like herb that is most known for its pungent rhizome. Native to China, and Africa, Z. officinale is now mainly cultivated in India and many other parts of the world. It typically grows well in moist rich soils in partially shaded or wooded areas. 

Chemical Constituents

Zingiberene, Ar-curcumene, Beta-bisabolene, Beta-sesquiphellandrene, Camphene [2] [3].

Plant Part Used

Root or Rhizome [6].

Traditional Use

Z. officinale is used not only as a dietary ingredient but also for its medicinal value; often for the same purpose. Z. officinale is widely known for its effect on the gastrointestinal system, and in African traditional medicine, this is no different. When used as a culinary herb, Z. officinale can be useful as a carminative, diuretic and antiemetic [1]. The dried rhizomes have been used as a primary ingredient for stomachics which are used to treat nausea, indigestion and flatulence [4].In cases of abdominal pain, the ground rhizome is steeped in hot water and drunk [5]. Several pieces of the rhizome of Z. officinale have been used in a decoction along with the aerial parts of Ocimum americanum and Xylopia aethiopica in order to treat colic, constipation or irregularity [6]. Often, Z. officinale rhizome has been chewed raw and the juices swallowed to alleviate general abdominal pain [7].

Z. officinale has also been used as a popular respiratory aide. Decoctions of  Z. officinale rhizome have been mixed with milk in order to suppress coughing [8]. In cases of persistent cough or bronchitis, the rhizome has been chewed raw. In order to ease the intensity of the rhizome, a sweetener is added [6].

Z. officinale rhizome has been used as a stimulant. An infusion of the rhizome is thought to stimulate the Central Nervous System or even relieve Amnesia [9]. The macerated rhizome is eaten twice daily as a general stimulant [10].



No documentation.


Z. officinale is best known for its ability to lessen the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. In fact, studies have found that it may be more effective than drug alternatives for many conditions and situations that make the stomach feel unsettled [11][12][13][14]. What’s more, in the case of motion sickness, Z. officinale may be preferred to antihistamines because it does not cause drowsiness [15]. Z. officinale root preparations may also be useful in controlling nausea and vomiting in outpatient surgery [16], for lessening the nausea and loss of appetite associated with chemotherapy [17][18][19],  and in the treatment of hyper-emesis gravidarum, a condition of excessive vomiting and dehydration that occurs during early pregnancy [20]. In addition, two double-blind, controlled clinical studies reported that the use of Z. officinale for treatment of nausea in pregnancy was found to decrease the number of events as well as lessening the severity of nausea [21][22]. A study found that women using Z. officinale in early pregnancy would reduce their symptoms [23].

Z. officinale has reported anti-inflammatory properties and has been used in some inflammatory conditions such as arthritis [24][25]. In a study involving 56 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and muscular discomfort, Z. officinale was effective in more than 75% of the patients [26]. Two-hundred and forty seven patients completed a study lasting 6-weeks evaluating the safety and effectiveness of 2 Z. officinale species (Zingiber officinale and Alpinia galanga) in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The Z. officinale extract group had greater response in reducing knee pain when standing as well as all other measures evaluated. Z. officinale group experienced more mild stomach and intestinal upset. It is important to note that the change in the overall quality of life was equal between Z. officinale and placebo group [27]. When compared to conventional anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen, a study found no significant advantage of using Z. officinale root [28]. However, the potential for side-effects of NSAID medications should be taken into consideration, as Z. officinale usage has reported fewer side-effects.

Other research has centered on Z. officinale ’s potential for support of the circulatory system [29]. The volatile oils in Z. officinale are thought to dilate the blood vessels and stimulate blood flow while functioning as an anticoagulant [30]. Studies have described Z. officinale ’s use in prevention and treatment of migraine headaches [31], its antioxidant activity [32][33][34],  and also Z. officinale 's antibacterial properties [35][36]. Z. officinale has also been known to stimulate certain digestive functions [37] and has the ability to lower cholesterol with an effect similar to that of the drug gemfibrozil [38].


Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

No documentation.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Z. officinale is generally considered safe for use.

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure [39].

If you have a bleeding disorder, talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement [40].


No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

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  1) Cultivation

  2) Medicinal Herbs

  3) Essential Oil

  4) Ayuverda



  1. Iwu, Maurice. Handbook of African Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1993.
  2. Wohlmuth H. Essential oil composition of diploid and tetraploid clones of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) grown in Australia. J Agric Food Chem. 22 Feb 2006;54(4):1414-1419.
  3. Singh G. Studies on essential oils, Part 42: chemical, antifungal, antioxidant and sprout suppressant studies on ginger essential oil and its oleoresin. Flav Frag J. 2004;20(1):1-6.
  4. Van Wyk BE, Van Oudtshoorn B, Gericke N. Medicinal Plants of South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Briza Publications; 1997.
  5. Chinemana F, Drummond RB, Mavi S, De Zoysa I. Indigenous Plant Remedies in Zimbabwe.  J of Ethnopharmacology. 1985;14:159-172.
  6. Neuwinger HD. African Traditional Medicine: A Dictionary of Plant Use and Applications. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Gmbh Scientific Publishers; 2000.
  7. Gelfand M, Mavi S, Drummond RB, Ndemera B. The Traditional Medical Practitioner in Zimbabwe.  Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press; 1985.
  8. El-Kamali HH, El-Khalid SA. The Most Common Herbal Remedies in Dangola Provence, Norther Sudan. Fitoterapia; 1998;69:118-121.
  9. Nwosu MO. Herbs for Mental Disorders. Fitoterapia. 1999;70:58-63.
  10. Nuomi E, Amvan Zollo P, Lontsi D. Studies on the bioactive constituents from the root of Mondia whitei. Fitoterapia. 1998;69:125-134.
  11. Mowry DB, et al. Motion Sickness, Ginger, and Psychophysics. Lancet. 1982;1(8273):655-667.
  12. Grontved A, et al. Ginger Root against Sea sickness: A Controlled Trial on the Open Sea. Acta Otolaryngol. 1988;105:45-49.
  13. Qian DS, et al. Pharmacologic Studies of Antimotion Sickness Actions of Ginger. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. 1992;12(2):95-98.
  14. Stewart JJ, et al. Effects of Ginger on Motion Sickness Susceptibility and Gastric Function. Pharmacology. 1991;42(2):111-120.
  15. Holtmann S, et al. The Anti-motion Sickness Mechanism of Ginger. A Comparative Study with Placebo and Dimenhydrinate. Acta Otolaryngol. 1989;108(3-4):168-174.
  16. Phillips S, et al. Zingiber officinale (Ginger)--An Antiemetic for Day Case Surgery. Anaesthesia. Aug 1993;48(8):715-717.
  17. Meyer K, et al. Zingiber officinale (ginger) Used to prevent 8-Mop Associated Nausea. Dermatol Nurs. Aug 1995;7(4):242-244.
  18. Yamahara J, Rong HQ, Naitoh Y, et al. Inhibition of Cytotoxic Drug-induced Vomiting in Suncus by a Ginger Constituent. J Ethnopharmacol. Dec 1989;27(3):353-355.
  19. Sharma SS, et al. Reversal of Cisplatin-induced Delay in Gastric Emptying in Rats by Ginger (Zingiber officinale). J Ethnopharmacol. Aug 1998;62(1):49-55.
  20. Fischer-Rasmussen W, et al. Ginger Treatment of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1991;38(1):19-24.
  21. Vutyavanich T, Kraisarin T, Ruangsri R. Ginger for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. Apr 2001;97(4):577-582.
  22. Sripramote M, Lekhyananda N. A randomized comparison of ginger and vitamin B6 in the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. J Med Assoc Thai. Sep 2003;86(9):846-853.
  23. Smith C, Crowther C, Willson K, Hotham N, McMillian V. A randomized controlled trial of ginger to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. Apr 2004;103(4):639-645.
  24. Sharma JN, Srivastava KC, Gan EK. Suppressive Effects of Eugenol and Ginger Oil on Arthritic Rats. Pharmacology. Nov 1994;49(5):314-318.
  25. Wigler I, Grotto I, Caspi D, Yaron M. The effects of Zintona EC (a ginger extract) on symptomatic gonarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. Nov 2003;11(11):783-789.
  26. Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in Rheumatism and Musculoskeletal Disorders. Med Hypotheses. Dec 1992;39(4):342-348.
  27. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. Nov 2001;44(11):2531-2538.
  28. Bliddal H, Rosetzsky A, Schlichting P, et al. A Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Cross-over Study of Ginger Extracts and Ibuprofen in Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. Jan 2000;8(1):9-12.
  29. Suekawa M, et al. Pharmacological Studies on Ginger, I. Pharmacological Actions of Pungent Constitutents, (6)-gingerol and (6)-shogaol. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1984;7(11):836-848.
  30. Guh JH, et al. Antiplatelet Effect of Gingerol Isolated from Zingiber officinale. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1995;47(4):329-332.
  31. Mustafa T, Srivastava KC. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in Migraine Headache. J Ethnopharmacol. Jul 1990;29(3):267-273.
  32. Sekiwa Y, Kubota K, Kobayashi A. Isolation of Novel Glucosides Related to Gingerdiol from Ginger and Their Antioxidative Activities. J Agric Food Chem. Feb 2000;48(2):373-377.
  33. Ahmed RS, Seth V, Pasha ST, et al. Influence of Dietary Ginger (Zingiber officinales Rosc) on Oxidative Stress Induced by Malathion in Rats. Food Chem Toxicol. May 2000;38(5):443-450.
  34. Shobana S, Naidu KA. Antioxidant Activity of Selected Indian Spices. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Feb 2000;62(2):107-110.
  35. Gugnani HC, Ezenwanze EC. Antibacterial Activity of Extracts of Ginger and African Oil Bean Seed. J Commun Dis. Sep 1985;17(3):233-236.
  36. Chen HC, Chang MD, Chang TJ. Antibacterial Properties of Some Spice Plants Before and After Heat Treatment. Zhonghua Min Guo Wei Sheng Wu Ji Mian Yi Xue Za Zhi. Aug 1985;18(3):190-195.
  37. Yamahara J, et al. Cholagogic Effect of Ginger and Its Active Constituents. J Ethnopharmacology. 1985;13(2):217.
  38. Bhandari U, Sharma JN, Zafar R. The Protective Action of Ethanolic Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Extract in Cholesterol Fed Rabbits. J Ethnopharmacol. Jun 1998;61(2):167-171.
  39. Pribitkin ED. Herbal therapy: what every facial plastic surgeon must know. Arch Facial Plast Surg. Apr 2001;3(2):127-132.
  40. Heck AM, et al. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. Jul 2000;57(13): 1221-1227.

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