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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6295737, 10 pages
Review Article

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

1Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
2Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53715, USA
3School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA

Received 20 February 2016; Accepted 11 April 2016

Academic Editor: Gioacchino Calapai

Copyright © 2016 Chen X. Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.