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Wild Ginger Information - Side Effects, Uses and Benefits

Taxonomic Class

Aristolochiaceae

Common Forms

Available as capsules and the whole root.

Sources for Wild Ginger

Active components are derived from the dried rhizome and roots of Asarum canadense, a low-growing perennial herb that is native to the northern and central United States and southern Canada.

Chemical Components

Wild ginger contains 2.5% volatile oil, which comprises such terpenoids as methyl eugenol, borneol, linalool, geraniol, and pinene. Other compounds include a pungent resin, starch, gum, a fragrant principle called asarol, and traces of a fixed oil.

Actions

Volatile oil components linalool, geraniol, and eugenol have demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal activity. Geraniol inhibited pancreatic tumor growth in animals receiving wild ginger as part of their diet.

Uses for Wild Ginger

Wild ginger reportedly has been used as an antiflatulent, an aromatic stimulant, and a tonic and for treating angina and arrhythmias. Methyl eugenol is a rapid-acting anodyne used in dentistry.

Dosage and Recommendations

No consensus exists.

Adverse Reactions

EENT: burning sensation in mouth, cheilitis, stomatitis.

Skin: contact dermatitis.

Interactions

Hepatically eliminated drugs: Conflicting reports exist on the effects of

certain terpenoids (citral, linool) on hepatic metabolism. Some reports indicate that they may induce the hepatic oxidative pathway . Effects on specific isoenzymes and on particular drugs are unknown, but these terpenoids could potentially lower levels of other hepaticaIly eliminated drugs. Monitor the patient closely.

Contraindications and Precautions

Avoid using wild ginger in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown. Use cautiously, if at all, in patients with a history of allergic contact dermatitis, especially to any of the volatile oils or terpenoid compounds.

Special Considerations

  • Inform the patient that no clinical data support the use of wild ginger for any medical condition.

  • Advise the patient to consult a health care provider before using herbal preparations because a treatment that has been clinically researched and proved effective may be available.

  • Instruct the patient with a history of allergic contact dermatitis to avoid using wild ginger.

  • Advise women to avoid using wild ginger during pregnancy or when breast-feeding.

Commentary

Preliminary data appear to warrant further study of components of wild ginger as antimicrobial and potential anticancer agents. Insufficient evidence exists to support any therapeutic application at this time.

   

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