A high-performance liquid chromatographic method to determine -gingerol, a pungent constituent of ginger, in rat plasma was developed and a pharmacokinetic study was performed in rats. Quantitative analysis with high reproducibility was achieved for -gingerol over the concentration range of 0.2-40 micrograms/ml. After bolus intravenous administration at a dose of 3 mg/kg, the plasma concentration-time curve was described by a two-compartment open model. -Gingerol was rapidly cleared from plasma with a terminal half-life of 7.23 min and a total body clearance of 16.8 ml/min/kg. Serum protein binding of -gingerol was 92.4%.