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Ginger is a plant that is used in cooking and baking. The underground stem has been used to prevent nausea and ease swelling in joints. Ginger can be applied to the skin as an oil or cream. It can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Ginger is also made into teas or used as a paste.


1 to 4 grams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • High Cholesterol —likely to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides D1, D2
  • Menstrual cramps —likely to ease symptoms and pain E1, E2
  • Nausea —likely to ease symptoms and prevent vomiting G1, G2
  • Osteoarthritis —likely to ease symptoms and improve mobility I1, I2
  • Pain —likely to ease pain J1, J2
  • Morning Sickness in Pregnancy —likely to ease morning sickness K1-K7

May Be Effective

  • Athletic performance —may quicken recovery A1
  • Diabetes —may lower blood glucose levels B1, B2
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding —may reduce length of time menstruating C1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Metabolic syndrome F1
  • Obesity H1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use ginger on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Athletic Performance

A1. Wilson PB. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) as an Analgesic and Ergogenic Aid in Sport: A Systemic Review. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):2980-2995.

B. Diabetes

B1. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Talaei B, et al. The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2014;22(1):9-16.

B2. Huang FY, Deng T, et al. Dietary ginger as traditional therapy for blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(13):e15054.

C. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

C1. Javan R, Yousefi M, et al. Herbal Medicines in Idiopathic Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: A Systematic Review. Phytother Res. 2016 Oct;30(10):1584-1591.

D. High Cholesterol

D1. Hasani-Ranjbar S, Nayebi N, et al. The efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used in the treatment of hyperlipidemia; a systematic review. Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(26):2935-2947.

D2. Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, et al. The effect of ginger supplementation on lipid profile: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Phytomedicine. 2018 Apr 1;43:28-36.

E. Menstrual Cramps

E1. Daily JW, Zhang X, et al. Efficacy of Ginger for Alleviating the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Pain Med. 2015;16(12):2243-2255.

E2. Pattanittum P, Kunyanone N, et al. Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Mar 22;3:CD002124.

F. Metabolic Syndrome

F1. van den Driessche JJ, Plat J, et al. Effects of superfoods on risk factors of metabolic syndrome: a systematic review of human intervention trials. Food Funct. 2018 Apr 25;9(4):1944-1966.

G. Nausea

G1. Marx WM, Teleni L, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. Nutr Rev. 2013 Apr;71(4):245-254.

G2. Tóth B, Lantos T, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): An alternative for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. A meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2018;50:8-18.

H. Obesity

H1. Ebrahimzadeh Attari V, Malek Mahdavi A, et al. A systematic review of the anti-obesity and weight lowering effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and its mechanisms of action. Phytother Res. 2018 Apr;32(4):577-585.

I. Osteoarthritis

I1. Bartels EM, Folmer VN, et al. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015;23(1):13-21.

I2. Del Grossi Moura M, Lopes LC, et al. Oral herbal medicines marketed in Brazil for the treatment of osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2017 Nov;31(11):1676-1685.

J. Pain

J1. Terry R, Posadzki P, et al. The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale) for the treatment of pain: a systematic review of clinical trials. Pain Med. 2011 Dec;12(12):1808-1818.

J2. Lakhan SE, Ford CT, et al. Zingiberaceae extracts for pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr J. 2015 May 14;14:50.

K. Pregnancy Support

K1. Chaiyakunapruk N, Kitikannakorn N, et al. The efficacy of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jan;194(1):95-99.

K2. Thomson M, Corbin R, et al. Effects of ginger for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a meta-analysis. J Am Board Fam Med. 2014;27(1):115-122.

K3. Viljoen E, Visser J, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutr J. 2014 Mar 19;13:20.

K4. Matthews A, Haas DM, et al. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 8;(9):CD007575.

K5. McParlin C, O'Donnell A, et al. Treatments for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. JAMA. 2016 Oct 4;316(13):1392-1401.

K6. O'Donnell A, McParlin C, et al. Treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a systematic review and economic assessment. Health Technol Assess. 2016 Oct;20(74):1-268.

K7. Sridharan K, Sivaramakrishnan G. Interventions for treating nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a network meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis of randomized clinical trials. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2018 Nov;11(11):1143-1150.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC