GINGER ROOT

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Herbal Monograph

Herb:   GINGER ROOT (Zingiberis officinale; Zingiberaceae)

Other Names:   African ginger, black ginger, race ginger   (13)

            fresh root a.k.a. sheng jiang in China, dry root as gan jiang   (15)

Character/Energetics: fresh : spicy, warm   (6)          dry: spicy, hot   (6a) pungent, hot and dry   (15)

Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:   fresh: lung, stomach  (6) 

dry: heart, lung, spleen, stomach, kidney    (6a)

Stomach, intestines, joints, muscles and circulation.   (14)

Parts used:   fresh & dry: the rhizome   (6)  (6a)    

Identification & Harvesting:  Tipped with white or yellow flowers;  a creeping perennial on a thick tuberous rhizome which spreads underground.  A green erect reed-like stem about 2 ft. high grows in the first year from this rhizome.  Narrow lanceolate leaves 6-12″ long which die off each year.  Pungent characteristic odor.  Cultivated in US, India, China, and tropical regions.   (2)

Harvest when leaves have dried;  remove remains of stem and root fibers.  Dry in the sun.   (8)

Prefers well-drained, humus-rich, neutral to alkaline soil, sun or partial shade, high humidity, minimum 30F (-1C).  Propagates by division in late spring.  Annual or biennial crop;  needs 10 months for optimum rhizome production.  Oldest growths may be removed when new shoots appear.   (38)

Considerable variances due to origin:  Jamaican ginger has best aroma;  Cochin ginger is generally thicker, more pungent than Jamaican;  African ginger is more brownish and pungent but has much milder aroma.   (57)

Active Constituents:  Volatile oil (2.5-4.0%) — chief components vary greatly, depending on origin:  (-)-zingiberene and ar-curcumene, beta-bisabolene and ar-curcumene, neral and geranial, D-camphor, beta-phellandrene, geranial, neral and linalool, (E)-alpha-farnesene, important as aroma carrier zingiberol (mix of cis- and trans-beta-eudesmol).  Arylalkanes (pungent substances).  Gingerols — chiefly [6]-, [8]-, [10]-gingerol.  Shogaols — chiefly [6]-, [8]-, [10]-shogaol.  Gingerdiols.  Diarylheptanoids — incl. gingerenone A and B.   (2)

fresh: essential oil containing terpenes (cineol, philandrene, citra and borneol), its acrid, burning taste is due to the phenols (gingerol, shogaol, zingerone).   (6)

dry: volatile oil (1‑3%) called zingerone, camphene, phellandrene, cineol, borneol, citral, gingerol and an acrid resin    (6a)

Shogaols a by-product of gingerols, produced by drying;  twice as pungent as gingerols.  Thus dried herb is hotter than fresh.   (38)

Actions:    Positively inotropic (e.g., improves strength of muscular contraction of all kinds).  Promotes secretion of saliva and gastric juices;  a cholagogue.  In animals, an antispasmodic.  In humans, increases tone and peristalsis of intestines.  A clinically proven anti-emetic.   (2)

fresh: diaphoretic, carminative, stimulant, antiemetic, antispasmodic    (6)

dry: stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue    (6a)

Will raise the body temperature when taken frequently.   (14)

Circulatory stimulant, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, expectorant, prevents vomiting, antispasmodic, carninative, antiseptic.  Topically, increases blood flow to an area.   (15)

Shown to reduce stickiness of blood platelets.  Studies indicate it transports high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or “bad”, cholesterol) to the liver to be eliminated.  Has recognized blood-thinning qualities, but British research indicates it is unlikely to exacerbate bleeding disorders.   (61)

Conditions and Uses:  Treats loss of appetite, dyspepsia, motion sickness, subacidic gastritis.   (2)

fresh: A tea of a few slices of the fresh root is an excellent single to counteract early stages of cold or flu. It also relieves indigestion, nausea, vomiting and gas.  One of the most versatile herbs. Taken alone or with chamomile flowers, excellent for regulating menses. Taken throughout winter both as tea and condiment, it warms the circulation. Grated ginger can be topically applied as a poultice or hot fomentation to relieve aches, sprains and spasms.   (6)

dry: Dried ginger considered more a warming stimulant while fresh ginger is used more as a warming diaphoretic.  One of the best herbs for nausea and vomiting;  said to warm the center (stomach), aid digestion and assimilation, relieve cold spasms and cramps, and promote menses.     (6a)       

Colds — infusion;  Colon spasms, coughs, cramps, headache — tincture, infusion;  Indigestion, gas, morning sickness, nausea, sinus congestion, stomach spasms — tincture, infusion, powder;  Constipation, contagious diseases — tincture*, infusion*, powder*.

*Usually used in combination with other herbs when treating the indicated problem.   (14)

Used in China to reduce toxicity of some herbs.  Used fresh to promote sweating, and as an expectorant, circulatory stimulant;  roasted, it is used to stop diarrhea or bleeding.  Used dried to warm and stimulate stomach and lungs and is an effective yang restorative;  treats travel sickness.  Oil is used for flatulence and fevers or applied topically for rheumatic pains and bone injuries.  Take dried root capsules before journey to prevent motion sickness.  Or take tincture in drop doses while symptoms persist, or chew crystallized lumps.  Use up to 1g. doses for morning sickness.   (15)

Clinical data are somewhat inconclusive concerning motion sickness.  More study required.   (61)

3-7 g. powder/day effective in reducing pain, discomfort and swelling in arthritic conditions or muscle injuries.  Success rate exceeds 75% with arthritic patients;  near 100% with muscle injuries.   (1)

GINGER ROOT (Zingiberis officinale; Zingiberaceae)

Combinations:  Combine with circulatory tonics such as ginkgo or rosemary.  Combine with black horehound or chamomile for nausea.   (15)

Precautions:  Contraindicated in morning sickness.  Because of its cholagogic effect, should not be administered in presence of gallstone conditions without physician approval.  Otherwise, no known hazards or side effects with designated doses.   (2)

Avoid excessive amounts if stomach is already overstimulated.  Use with care in early pregnancy;  can be safely taken for morning sickness in designated doses, but alternate with other remedies.   (15)

Not for patients with inflammatory skin complaints, GI ulcers, or high fever.   (38)

No reported adverse effects with long-term use.   (1)

Tincturing Process: Vita Mix: (Speed 5)–Place dry ginger root  c/s in VM container, about 1/2″ above blades. Process 90 seconds. Purchase  in 2-lb quantities: 606 gr in (1) 2-qt mason jar and remainder in (1) 1-qt mason jar. Alcohol: 50%   (1a)

Applications:  Infusion — pour boiling water over .5 – 1g. of powdered herb (1 tsp = 3g.) and strain after 5 min.   (2)

Decoction — for chills and phlegmy colds, add 2 fresh slices to 1 c. water and simmer 10 min.  Add a pinch of cinnamon.  Massage oil — add 5-10 drops ginger oil to 25 ml almond oil for rheumatism or lumbago.  Combines well with juniper or eucalyptus oil.  Chew a piece of crystallized ginger to ease nausea or prevent travel sickness.   (15)

Divination:  ruled by t   (48)

Eight of Pentacles:  Ginger

Zingiber officinale

Stimulant.  Diaphoretic.  Carminative.  Antispasmodic.  Emmenagogue.  Used for gas, poor assimilation of food, also to relieve motion sickness and spasmodic cramps.  The fresh root is made into a  tea for colds and fevers.

Divinatory Meanings:  Willingness to start working to achieve one’s goals.  A craftsman.  Artist.  Skill in business and other endeavors.

Reverse Meanings:  Wasting time in idle pursuits that have little chance of any significant rewards in the end.   (52)

Dosage:   Total daily dose is 2-4g.  Anti-emetic dose is 2g. freshly powdered herb in some liquid.   (2)

  dry: 3-9 gms.  (6)   

  Tincture:  15-60 drops, 3 x daily   (14)

General Notes:  “…it is of an heating and digesting qualitie, and is profitable for the stomacke.” — John Gerard, 1597.

One of the oldest herbs.   (15)

Joniris R.D. Note — [Some concern with origin of anti-inflammatory effect;  source (1) claims “researchers speculate ginger acts through inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis.” Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) have a similar tertiary action;  that is, certain prostaglandins cause swelling and certain play a role in cartilage healing, and NSAID’s suppress both kinds indiscriminately, which actually prolongs recovery from injury in the long term, although they are effective enough for acute pain relief.  Ginger does not cause the more well-known side effects of NSAID’s, which are notoriously dangerous and undesirable for long-term use for chronic pain relief in arthritic conditions or recovery from serious injuries, but the possibility of its suppressive action on prostaglandin synthesis is cause for concern:  exactly which prostaglandins does it suppress??  More information is needed before Joniris Research can condone long-term use of ginger as an anti-inflammatory pain relief.]   (1)

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References:

(1) Joniris Herbals Research Data, “Medical Herbalism”, vol. 5, no. 3, Fall 1993, front page

(1a)Joniris “Ginger Root Tincture” file

(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), pgs. 1229-30

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D.,  pg. 154

(6a) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., pg. 244

(8)  The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman, p. 203

(13) The Herb Book by John Lust, pgs. 205-06

(14) Natural Healing With Herbs by Humbart Santillo BS, MH, pgs. 124-25

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, pgs. 115, 127, 151, 155, 171

(38) Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by Deni Bown, p. 373

(48) The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills, p. 57

(52) The Herbal Tarot Deck (Created by Michael Tierra and Designed by Candis Cantin), p. 34

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 151

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 98-99