Objective: Ginger has been reported to improve upper gastrointestinal symptoms. Little information about the effects of ginger on gastric motor function, exists, however. Our aim was to investigate the effects of ginger on gastric emptying, antral motility, proximal gastric dimensions, and postprandial symptoms.
Methods: Twenty-four healthy volunteers were studied twice in a randomized double-blind manner. After an 8 h fast, the volunteers ingested three ginger capsules (total 1200 mg) or placebo, followed after 1 h by 500 ml low-nutrient soup. Antral area, fundus area and diameter, and the frequency of antral contractions were measured using ultrasound at frequent intervals over 90 min, and the gastric half-emptying time was calculated from the change in antral area. Gastrointestinal sensations and appetite were scored using visual analog questionnaires. Data are expressed in terms of mean+/-standard error.
Results: Antral area decreased more rapidly (P<0.001) and the gastric half-emptying time was less after ginger than placebo ingestion (13.1+/-1.1 vs. 26.7+/-3.1 min, P<0.01), whereas the frequency of antral contractions was greater (P<0.005). Fundus dimensions did not differ, and there was no significant difference in any gastrointestinal symptoms.
Conclusion: Ginger accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral contractions in healthy volunteers. These effects could potentially be beneficial in symptomatic patient groups.