Double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of ginger ( Zingiber officinale Rosc.) addition in migraine acute treatment

Cephalalgia. 2019 Jan;39(1):68-76. doi: 10.1177/0333102418776016. Epub 2018 May 16.


Background: Previous studies have demonstrated the analgesic effects of ginger in different conditions, but evidence about its efficacy in migraine treatment is scarce.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the potential of ginger to improve acute migraine as an add-on strategy to standard treatment.

Methods: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial in the emergency room of a general hospital was conducted. Patients who sought medical care at the time of migraine attack were enrolled in this study. Only adults with episodic migraine (one to six migraine attacks per month) with or without aura were included. Sixty participants were randomized into two groups in which they received 400 mg of ginger extract (5% active ingredient) or placebo (cellulose), in addition to an intravenous drug (100 mg of ketoprofen) to treat the migraine attack. Patients filled a headache diary before, 0.5 h, 1 h, 1.5 h and 2 h after the medication. Pain severity, functional status, migraine symptoms and treatment satisfaction were also recorded.

Results: Patients treated with ginger showed significantly better clinical response after 1 h ( p = 0.04), 1.5 h ( p = 0.01) and 2 h ( p = 0.04). Furthermore, ginger treatment promoted reduction in pain and improvement on functional status at all times assessed.

Conclusions: The addition of ginger to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may contribute to the treatment of migraine attack. This trial is registered at (NCT02568644).

Keywords: Migraine; complementary treatment; ginger; ketoprofen.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Female
  • Ginger*
  • Humans
  • Ketoprofen / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ketoprofen

Associated data