The dried rhizome of Zingiber officinale, Roscoe (Nat. Ord. Zingiberaceae). Southern Asia; cultivated in tropical regions of Asia, Africa and America. Dose, 10 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Ginger. (There are many kinds and grades: Jamaica Ginger, African Ginger, Calcutta Ginger, Calicut Ginger, Cochin Ginger, and Japanese Ginger.)
Principal Constituents.—An aromatic volatile oil (Oil of Ginger), 2 to 3 per cent giving to ginger its flavor; resin, and gingerol, the pungent principle.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Zingiber. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
2. Oleoresina Zingiberis, Oleoresin of Ginger. Dose, 1/2 to 1 grain.
3. Tinctura Zingiberis, Tincture of Ginger. Dose 5 to 60 minims.
4. Syrupus Zingiberis, Syrup of Ginger. Dose, 1 to 4 fluidrachms.
Specific Indications.—Anorexia; flatulence; borborygmus; gastric and intestinal spasms; acute colds; painful menstruation; cold extremities; cool surface in children's diseases.
Action.—Ginger is a local irritant and rubefacient. It causes an increased flow of saliva and gastric juice and increases muscular activity of the stomach and intestines. It is much used to conceal the taste of nauseous medicines and to prevent tormina. Ginger is sometimes used as an ingredient of so-called "spice poultices".
Therapy.—Ginger is an admirable local stimulant, sialagogue, diaphoretic and carminative. Powdered ginger in a large quantity of cold water, taken upon retiring, will frequently "break up" a severe cold, and a hot infusion or ginger tea is a popular remedy for similar use and to establish sluggish menstruation or mitigate the pains of dysmenorrhea. Ginger is an excellent agent in gastric atony, and good results may be had from it in atonic states of the digestive tube, with loss of appetite, rolling of gases in the bowels, and painful spasmodic contractions of the stomach and intestines. In acute dysentery and diarrhoea, and in cholera morbus and sometimes in cholera infantum with atony and nausea, vomiting and cold extremities and surface, small doses of ginger preparations are extremely valuable. Cramps in the stomach and bowels due to undigested food or to cold are speedily relieved by small doses of ginger. Ginger combined with magnesium oxide or sodium bicarbonate is a good gastric stimulant and corrective in persistent flatulency with sour stomach, and given alone is useful for old people with feeble digestive powers and enfeebled and lax habit.
Rarely, tincture of ginger or specific medicine zingiber is serviceable in fevers, when the salivary secretions are scanty and there is pain and movement of gases in the intestines. It relieves by stimulating secretion, the ultimate effect being sedative. In such states it acts much like capsicum, but is not so efficient. Oleoresin of ginger may be added to pills to prevent griping and tormina; and the syrup is an agreeable vehicle for stomachic and sometimes for expectorant mixtures.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.