This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics - Vegetable Kingdom", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica And Therapeutics: Vegetable Kingdom.
Active Ingredients. - The taste of the rhizome is hot and biting, with a little acridity superadded: these characters it retains when dried. The odor, although in recent examples faint, then becomes pleasantly aromatic and pungent. These qualities depend chiefly upon a volatile oil and a resinous matter: the sp. gr. of the former is 0.893. The rhizome also contains a considerable quantity of starch, with other substances ordinarily found in roots.
Physiological Action. - Ginger, in its action on the system, is stimulant. If a piece of the rhizome be chewed, it causes a considerable flow of saliva; and the powder, if passed into the nostrils, excites sneezing. The application of the powder, mingled with water, to the skin produces intense heat and tingling. On being swallowed, its stimulating effects are perceived first in the alimentary canal and in the organs of respiration. Administered in moderation, it is a valuable stomachic, and, if the body is relaxed and enfeebled, especially in old age, or if gout be present, it promotes digestion. Compared with pepper, it is less acrid.
Therapeutic Action. - Ginger is advantageously given in dys-pepsia and in flatulency. It also constitutes an excellent adjuvant, especially to tonic medicines, to which it communicates cordial and carminative qualities; and in connection with drastic purgatives it is useful to check or prevent nausea and griping. For these purposes it may be employed either in substance or in infusion; and similarly in regard to flatulent colic and tympanitis. In India, Europeans of delicate constitution are accustomed to use an infusion of ginger instead of tea.
Ginger is useful in cases of relaxed uvula, and in slight paralytic affections of the tongue. It is serviceable also in toothache, and, from its action on the skin, may be resorted to for the relief of headache. To this end a paste formed of it should be spread upon paper and applied to the forehead.
Preparations and Dose. - Zingiber, gr. v. - xv. (.30 - 1.); Oleo-resina Zingiber!, gr. ss - ij. (.03 - .12); Extr. Zingib. Fl., m v. - xv. (.30 - 1.); Tinct. Zingib., m xx. - 3 j. (1.20. - 4.); Syr. Zingib., 3 j. - ij. (5.-10.); Infus. Zingib.,
- ij. (15. - 60.); Trochisci Zingib., No. 1 - 3, p. r. n.