Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is widely used as a spice in the kitchen and as a herb in traditional medicine all over the world. It is well known for its Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It has also been shown to reduce pain in arthritis and dysmenorrhea, as well as reduce pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. Most people do not prefer the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) for inflammation and pain due to the increasing warnings with long-term use. More and more people are searching for safe and natural remedies. Ginger to the rescue!
Recently, there has been new research with using ginger for female related issues, including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, heavy menses and migraines. Here’s some more info for all you women out there!
1. Ginger and PMS
PMS is one of the most common problems in women of their reproductive age. PMS is defined as changes in mood and physical symptoms occurring cyclically 7-14 days before menstruation. PMS can be triggered by hormonal changes, dietary factors, increased prostaglandins (Hormones responsible for inflammation and pain), drugs and lifestyle changes. Studies have shown that Ginger can modulate the prostaglandin system, thus positively impacting any PMS symptoms.
2. Ginger and Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are thought to arise from an increased production of prostaglandins around the lining of the uterus, which are inflammatory and can cause pain. It is ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties that can cause a reduction in prostaglandins and lead to pain reduction. A study examined the efficacy of ginger, ibuprofen and an NSAID in relieving pain from dysmenorrhea. It proved that ginger is as effective as the other drugs without any major side effects. Dosages range from 750-2000 mg per day during the first 3-4 days of the menstrual cycle.
3. Ginger and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding can cause mild to debilitating fatigue. It is defined as greater than 80mL per menstrual cycle. Causes include perimenopause, stress, thyroid disorders, uterine polyps, uterine fibroids. Ginger has shown to decrease heavy menstrual bleeding when taken a couple days before the 1st day of menstrual bleeding until Day 3.
4. Ginger and Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are a very common cause of pain that can have vast impacts on quality of daily life. Ginger was shown to reduce the severity of headaches to the same degree as migraine medications.
The moral of the story is that Ginger is a very useful herb, with minimal side effects. It is not only used in various cuisines but can also be used in natural medicine. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties make it very useful for every system in our body and can be especially helpful in the treatment of female related complaints like PMS, migraines and heavy menstrual bleeding.
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician
Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam | 2017