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Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Ginger

Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV

2004

Ginger
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) - the root of an herb grown throughout the tropics - is commonly used in Asian cooking and is a component of the soft drink ginger ale. Ginger has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It's primarily used to combat nausea and other gastrointestinal problems. Studies have shown that it may be an effective treatment for morning sickness and post-operative nausea. People with HIV may use ginger to combat nausea associated with drug treatments, although this use has not been studied. Studies involving animals suggest that the plant may be useful in lowering cholesterol.

Ginger is a strong antioxidant (as are vitamins C and E), meaning it helps neutralize free radicals, which are highly active molecules that can cause damage to the body. Fresh ginger may be preferable, but a dried form can be used. Dried ginger is available in capsules, and both forms can be brewed to make a tea.

Ginger may help reduce the formation of blood clots by preventing platelet clumping, which may make it useful against certain forms of heart disease. For people with low platelet levels, however, ginger may pose a risk. It may be problematic as well for those who experience nose bleeds or heavy menstrual bleeding. Dried ginger, specifically, can elevate blood pressure in those who are prone to high blood pressure. In theory, ginger may also increase the effects of barbiturates.

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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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