Zingiber officinale L. – Zingiberaceae


Ginger is a perennial, herbaceous plant that is grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Its origin is Southeast Asia, and then its application spread to the whole world. It was primarily used as a spice, due to its specific taste, and later found application in traditional medicine due to its healing properties.

The medicinal part of the plant is the rhizome. The rhizome contains phenolic components (phenylalkanonols-gingerols, phenylalkanonenes-shogaols, diarylheptanoids-gingerenones). The rhizome contains essential oil containing sesquiterpene derivatives (zingiberene, zingiberol, curcumen, bisabolon, farnesene) and monoterpenes (camphor, β-phellandrene, geranial, neral). The largest producers of ginger essential oil are Australia, Vietnam, Japan and Ceylon.

The medicinal properties of ginger are attributed to the previously mentioned compounds. Due to its anti-inflammatory (reduces the inflammatory reaction) and antioxidant effect (neutralizes free radicals), ginger rhizome oil extract plays a significant role in strengthening the body’s defense capabilities. Many studies have also proven its antimicrobial effect, so its use in various viral and bacterial infections is recommended.


This plant has excellent potential in the treatment of degenerative diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory effect. The essential oil and non-volatile ingredients of ginger increase the tone and peristalsis of the organs of the digestive tract. They increase salivation and the secretion of juices and enzymes in the stomach, so it plays an important role in the process of food digestion. Due to the presence of spicy ingredients, it is also used as an antiemetic (an anti-nausea and vomiting agent), especially for motion sickness (kinesia therapy). Ginger also has a positive inotropic effect on the work of the heart, lowers high blood pressure and has a positive effect on the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis. Consuming ginger before training can reduce muscle pain, which is a consequence of its anti-inflammatory effect.

Despite many medical discoveries, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world. The method of cancer treatment depends on the stage of the disease, as well as on the type, so we have: surgery, radiotherapy, systemic therapy (chemotherapy and hormone therapy). Radiotherapy and systemic therapy bring with them a number of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, weakened immune system. The use of traditional herbal medicine in such patients is becoming more common, and ginger has also found its place there. Preclinical studies have proven that ginger rhizome shows antineoplastic (antitumor) properties, and it is also significant in alleviating nausea and vomiting after radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The use of ginger is contraindicated in case of obstruction of the bile ducts, as well as in case of morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy.


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