Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016:2016:6295737. doi: 10.1155/2016/6295737. Epub 2016 May 5.


This systematic review examines the efficacy of oral ginger for dysmenorrhea. Key biomedical databases and grey literature were searched. We included randomized controlled trials comparing oral ginger against placebo or active treatment in women with dysmenorrhea. Six trials were identified. Two authors independently reviewed the articles, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus with a third reviewer. We completed a narrative synthesis of all six studies and exploratory meta-analyses of three studies comparing ginger with placebo and two studies comparing ginger with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ginger appeared more effective for reducing pain severity than placebo. The weighted mean difference on a 10 cm visual analogue scale was 1.55 cm (favoring ginger) (95% CI 0.68 to 2.43). No significant difference was found between ginger and mefenamic acid (an NSAID). The standardized mean difference was 0 (95% CI -0.40 to 0.41). Available data suggest that oral ginger could be an effective treatment for menstrual pain in dysmenorrhea. Findings, however, need to be interpreted with caution because of the small number of studies, poor methodological quality of the studies, and high heterogeneity across trials. The review highlights the need for future trials with high methodological quality.

Publication types

  • Review