Covid-19: Popular Traditional Medicine Treatments in China : What About Ginger ?

In all countries of the world, a race against the clock is launched to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. In China, more than 80 clinical trials are underway.

It is a potion that China hopes is magic. The manufacturing is artisanal and the recipe secret. After hours of infusion, it is distributed to all the inhabitants of a village. Specialists in traditional Chinese medicine come from all over China to arrive in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic . All local media are now touting the merits of this ancient art to fight the Covid-19. The remedy in vogue is an infusion made up of ginger, almonds and orange peels, which aims to evacuate toxins from the lungs. 

“Authorities have found another way to combat the spread”

Everywhere on social networks, the Chinese are rehabilitating these antidotes to bitter tastes. 

“Doctors have not yet discovered a vaccine against the coronavirus, but the authorities have found another way to fight the spread. Since yesterday, they have been asking those who are recovered to donate blood to extract the plasma filled with it. ‘Antibody can help cure sick people

Justine Jankowski

Ginger food supplement: the benefits of a ginger cure

Native to Asia, ginger is also called the white spice. Its use is recognized to prevent nausea and vomiting characteristic of motion sickness, pregnancy or following surgery. It is also a good ally for relieving minor digestive disorders. 

Its many active compounds give it its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or even anti-bacterial effects in its food supplements . 

Depending on the pain to relieve, the recommended dose of ginger varies. For this reason, it is necessary to consult your doctor before starting a cure. And if you suffer from gallstones, consult your doctor.

When using the ginger ?   

  1. Reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and postoperatively.
  2. Relieve inflammatory pain (menstrual pain, arthritic muscle pain); prevent motion sickness; reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy.
  3. Prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness, seasickness, pregnancy and minor surgeries; relieve minor digestive upset.
  4. Relieve spasms of the digestive tract, colic, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, cold and flu symptoms, migraine and arthritis pain.

Ginger dosage

As the rhizomes of ginger are an easily available foodstuff, we can chew or suck a slice of fresh ginger for medicinal purposes (beware, spicy taste!). 

You can also prepare an infusion with freshly grated ginger. In these cases, take into account that a dose of 1 g to 2 g of dried ginger powder is equivalent to about 10 g of fresh ginger, i.e. a slice of rhizome (of average diameter) of about 6 mm to 7 mm thick.       

Pregnancy nausea

It is generally recommended to stick to the equivalent of 2 g of dried ginger or 10 g of fresh ginger per day, in divided doses.  

Postoperative nausea

Take 1 g to 1.5 g of dried ginger 1 hour before the operation.   

Prevention of motion sickness

Powder capsules. Take 250 mg to 1 g, 1 hour before departure. Repeat every 4 hours, until the symptoms disappear.     

Tincture (1: 5). Take from 1.25 ml to 5 ml, 1 hour before departure. Repeat every 4 hours, until the symptoms disappear.     

Fluid extract. Take from 0.25 ml to 1 ml, 1 hour before departure. Repeat every 4 hours, until the symptoms disappear.     

For other indications, observe the following dosages

Infusion. Infuse 0.5 g to 1 g of powdered ginger (or about 5 g of grated fresh ginger) in 150 ml to 250 ml of water for 5 to 10 minutes. Take 2 to 4 times a day. You can add lemon juice and a touch of honey to reduce the spicy taste of ginger.           

Ginger powder capsules. Take 250 mg to 1 g, 3 times a day.    

Extracts standardized in gingerol The concentration of these extracts can vary from one product to another; follow the dosage recommended by the manufacturer. 

Fluid extract (1: 1). Take from 0.25 ml to 1 ml, 3 times a day.    

Tincture (1: 5). Take 1.25 ml to 5 ml, 3 times a day.    

Ginger history

Arab merchants have long traded in the ” white spice ” between South Asia and Greece or the Roman Empire, depending on the era. Taxes levied on this lucrative ginger trade also represented a significant part of the revenues of the Roman Empire.    

From the beginning of the XVI th century, the Spaniards implanted the ginger in the Caribbean and intensively cultivated, especially in Jamaica, to feed European markets. They are also Jamaicans who invented and popularized the famous ginger beer , which, incidentally, has nothing to do with the flavored ginger ale ( ginger ale ) sold in North America.

Even today, Jamaica is one of the main producers in the world, after India and China. These 2 countries produce around half of the ginger sold worldwide.      

Used for 6000 years, ginger is one of the panacea of ​​Asian medicine. Its medicinal uses to aid digestion, for the treatment of stomach aches, diarrhea and nausea are as widespread as its culinary uses.    

The ginger has also been used traditionally to treat the following ailments : dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, spasms and gastric disorders, colds, flu, sore throat, loss of appetite, headaches and rheumatic pains. It has also been used as a stimulant and warmer. Historically and in all cultures, aphrodisiac virtues have also been attributed to ginger. Finally, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it would prevent infections of the respiratory system when taken when the first symptoms of a cold or flu appear.      

Research on ginger, Corona

Ginger contains many active compounds. Those who give it its pungent flavor are named gingerols , Shogaols , paradols and zingerone . Several in vitro and animal tests have highlighted the many properties of ginger : antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antibacterial and anti- tumor effects , for example.   

Nausea of ​​pregnancy . Ginger can be useful in relieving pregnant women , according to the authors of a meta-analysis published in 2010. They examined 9 trials comprising a total of 1,077 subjects. Note that the Association of American Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists consider ginger to be an effective non-drug treatment for nausea during pregnancy.     

Postoperative nausea. The authors of a meta-analysis published in 2006 concluded that ginger reduces the risk of nausea and vomiting by 35 % when the dose is sufficient . They looked at 5 double-blind placebo studies (363 subjects in all) in which at least 1 g of dried ginger was administered to patients before they underwent minor surgery (laparoscopy, in most cases).       

Since the publication of this meta-analysis, good results have been obtained in 2 new trials involving 180 subjects. They had received, 1 hour before the operation (laparoscopy or major gynecological operation), 1 g or 1.5 g of ginger or a placebo. In another trial, it was tested whether a 0.5 g dose of ginger could increase the effectiveness of an antiemetic drug in 120 subjects who had undergone thyroid ablation, but the results were not conclusive.         

 Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effectGinger has anti-inflammatory properties demonstrated on animals. In humans, it has proven to be as effective as 2 conventional drugs in reducing menstrual pain in a trial on 150 female students. The participants had taken one of the following treatments during the first 3 days of their menstruation : 250 mg of mefenamic acid , 400 mg of ibuprofen or 250 mg of ginger powder 4 times a day.         

Consuming ginger capsules for 11 days was more effective than placebo at reducing inflammatory pain caused by moderate muscle damage to the arm (elbow flexor). To learn more about this study, read our new article Ginger is believed to decrease muscle pain caused by physical activity . On the other hand, during a trial carried out on participants who cycled at moderate intensity for 30 min, a dose of 2 g of ginger had no more effect than a placebo in reducing the perception of pain and fatigue. According to the researchers, ginger had no effect, because this type of pain was not caused by inflammation .       

Arthritis pain. Ginger is a traditional remedy for pain caused by arthritis. The data from clinical studies are promising, but not entirely convincing. Indeed, these are small case studies or trials that have yielded, at best, modest results. The only trial with a significant number of subjects (247) involved an extract of ginger and galangal ( Alpinia galanga , a plant of the same family as ginger). This mixture moderately relieved participants’ pain compared to a placebo.

Versatile poulticeIn China, infused ginger poultices have been used for millennia which are applied to the kidneys to relieve many ailments, including joint pain and stiffness. During a preliminary trial published in 2010, we tested the effect of such Corona infection on 10 people suffering from osteoarthritis (20 minutes per day, for 7 days). The warm compresses not only reduced participants’ pain and tension, but also had a positive effect on their morale and vitality.    

 Travel sickness. Although tradition has well established the effectiveness of ginger to prevent or reduce motion sickness, clinical trials have yielded varying results. 

 Nausea caused by chemotherapy. In this regard, the effectiveness of ginger has not been established. In 2 trials (210 subjects in total) receiving chemotherapy, taking 1 g or 2 g of dried ginger per day did not increase the effectiveness of an antiemetic drug. However, a more recent study, published in 2010, has produced conclusive results with children and young adults. 

Depending on their weight, they took 1 g or 2 g of ginger powder in 3 divided doses, 1 hour before chemotherapy, then 3 h and 8 h after the start of chemotherapy.              

Another trial also gave promising results : 0.5 g and 1 g of a standardized ginger extract ( Zindol ®) were significantly more effective than a placebo in reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients who were also taking a drug antiemetic. The results of this trial conducted on 644 subjects were presented in May 2009 at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology , but had not yet been published when this sheet was updated (May 2011 ).

Researchers are taking a close look at the potential anticancer effects of ginger. For the moment, we only have tests in vitro or on animals indicating that some of the compounds of the plant, gingerol in particular, have such an activity .        

 The ESCOP recognizes the medicinal use of the ginger root to prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness or consecutive to a minor surgical procedure . The WHO recognizes its use for the prevention of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy . The Commission E , in addition to the prevention of nausea caused by motion sickness , said the treatment of digestive disorders (dyspepsia).         The beneficial effect of ginger on digestive disorders could be explained by the fact that it accelerates the emptying of the stomach after a meal.

Various. In a trial published in 2008, taking 1 g of ginger 3 times a day for 45 days reduced blood lipid levels compared to a placebo.       


With plants or supplements

Although no cases have been reported, it is theoretically possible that ginger may help increase the effect of other plants or supplements that thin the blood and inhibit clotting (for example, onion and garlic).

With medication

Although no cases have been reported, it is theoretically possible that ginger may help increase the effect of blood thinners ( warfarin and acetylsalicylic acid, for example). However, in a trial published in 2006, taking ginger did not interact with warfarin in healthy subjects.