Efficacy of Ginger for Alleviating the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Pain Med. 2015 Dec;16(12):2243-55. doi: 10.1111/pme.12853. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


Objective: There has been no attempt to date to synthesize the available evidence for the efficacy of ginger for treating primary dysmenorrhea. This systematic review evaluates the current evidence for the effectiveness of ginger for treating primary dysmenorrhea.

Methods: Literature searches were conducted using 12 electronic databases including PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Korean databases, Chinese medical databases, and Indian scientific database. Search terms used were: "ginger" or "Zingiber officinale" and "dysmenorrhea" and "pain." Studies using ginger as a treatment of primary dysmenorrhea were considered for inclusion. The major outcome of primary dysmenorrhea was assessed using a pain visual analogue score (PVAS).

Results: Initial searches yielded 29 articles. Of these original results, seven met specific selection criteria. Four of the RCTs compared the therapeutic efficacy of ginger with a placebo during the first 3-4 days of the menstrual cycle and were included in the meta analysis. The meta-analysis of these data showed a significant effect of ginger in reducing PVAS in subjects having primary dysmenorrhea (risk ratio, -1.85; 95% CI of -2.87, -0.84, P = 0.0003). Six RCTs out of 7 exhibited low to moderate of risk of bias.

Conclusion: Collectively these RCTs provide suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of 750-2000 mg ginger powder during the first 3-4 days of menstrual cycle for primary dysmenorrhea.

Keywords: Dysmenorrhea; Ginger; Pain Visual Analog Scale; Randomized Clinical Trials; Systematic Review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dysmenorrhea / diagnosis
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Dysmenorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry*


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Plant Extracts