Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis or Dried Ginger)

What Is Gan Jiang

Gan Jiang commonly known as Rhizoma Zingiberis or Dried Ginger is the dried rhizome of Zingiber officinale Rosc., which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (around 100 BCE).

There are about 198 species of Ginger, which are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia. Among them, some species are famous ornamental flowers, and some species are common medicinal plants.

Zingiber officinale also called Ginger is one of the most widely used spices. This plant likes a warm and humid climate and is not cold-tolerant, afraid of humidity, and afraid of direct sunlight. They are suitable to be planted on slopes and shady plots. They are native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia and are widely cultivated in tropical regions of Asia.

Zingiber officinale Rosc

In winter, people gather the rhizomes of Zingiber officinale, remove their fibrous roots and sediment, dry them in the sun or at low temperatures, cut them into thick slices or pieces, and make them into herbal medicine.

Although the chemical composition of Gan Jiang and Sheng Jiang is the same, the chemical content is not the same. It contains β-pinene, amphene, 1,8-cineole, linalool, terpinol, citronellal, geraniol, α-farnesene, β-bisabolene, citral, borneol, α-terpinol, β-phellandrene, sabinene, β-sesquiphellandrene, nerolidol, zingerone, 6-shogaol, γ-elemene, α-zingiberene, β-elemene, α-curcumene, 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, 10-gingerol, diarylheptanoids, polysaccharides, flavonoids, amino acids, and some trace elements.

Generally, the mealy Gan Jiang with a strong aroma is preferred.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal nature of Gan Jiang is relatively hot, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the spleen, stomach, kidney, heart, and lung meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to warm the spleen and stomach and dispel cold, recuperate depleted yang and invigorate pulse-beat, warm lungs to resolve fluid retention, and treat cold pain of stomach and abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, deadly cold hand and foot, fainting pulse, wheezing, cough, profuse thin sputum, acute gastroenteritis, chronic gastritis, acute intestinal obstruction, seasickness, gastroesophageal reflux cough, pressure sores, and chapped hands and feet.

There are more than 150 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Si Ni Tang, Fu Zi Li Zhong Tang, and Xiao Qing Long Tang.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting LPS-induced nitric oxide production in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 [1].
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging ABTS radicals, and DPPH radicals, reducing ferric ion (Fe3+) to the ferrous ion (Fe2+) [1].
  • Increasing pain threshold, improving mechanical and thermal allodynia and mechanical hyperalgesia in experimental mice [2].
  • Decreasing body temperature in rats induced by endotoxin, dry yeast, or 2,4-dinitrophenol.
  • Inhibiting platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate, arachidonic acid, epinephrine, or collagen.
  • Reducing acute liver injury in mice induced by acetaminophen or CCL4.
  • Reducing gastric mucosal damage in rats caused by hydrochloric acid and bound water immersion.
  • Warming the spleen and stomach and dispelling cold, treating cold pain of stomach and abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhea caused by deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach.
  • Recuperating depleted yang and invigorating pulse-beat, treating deadly cold hand and foot, fainting pulse caused by heart-kidney yang deficiency, and excessive yin-cold in the interior
  • Warming lungs to resolve fluid retention, treating wheezing and cough due to cold fluid retention, coldness of body, and profuse thin sputum.
  • Oral or duodenal administration of its alcoholic extract significantly increases bile secretion in rats and maintains it for 3~4 hours.
  • Its extract can improve the myocardial diastolic and systolic properties of rabbits with acute heart failure caused by sodium pentobarbital, and relieve the symptoms of heart failure.
  • Its alcoholic extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus haemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, S. dysenteriae and S. typhi in vitro.
  • Its extract improves cognitive function via nerve growth factor-induced ERK/CREB activation in the hippocampus of the mouse [3].
  • Its extract enhanced influenza-specific antibody production in cyclophosphamide-induced immunocompromised mice after flu vaccination and restored the influenza antigen-specific T helper (Th) type 1/Th2 balance to the normal state. Further, Its extract suppressed the eosinophil enrichment caused by cyclophosphamide injection in the spleen [4].
  • Zingerone stimulates osteoblast differentiation by increasing Smad1/5/9-mediated HO-1 expression in MC3T3-E1 cells and primary mouse calvarial cells [5].
  • 30 µM of 6-shogaol blocked the formation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced endothelial sprouts from HUVEC spheroids and from murine aortic rings [6].
  • The study found that its decoction accelerates the restoration of intestinal microecology by inhibiting the colonization of pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli-Shigella and Lachnoclostridium in the intestine and increasing the abundance of probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Trichophytonaceae to improve diarrhea in AAD (antibiotic-associated diarrhea) rats [7].
  • A clinical trial showed that dried ginger powder was comparable to ibuprofen in the treatment of post-opening flap debridement pain and gingival inflammation [8].


  • It can be combined with Gao Liang Jiang (Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum) to treat vomiting due to stomach-cold.
  • It can be used in combination with Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis), Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng), etc to treat vomiting right after eating caused by heat in the upper and cold in the lower, and mutual rejection between cold and heat.
  • It can be used in combination with Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsis), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), etc to treat watery diarrhea due to cold.
  • It can be used in combination with Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata) and Zhi Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Preparata) to treat sweating with fatigue, deadly cold hand and foot, and fainting pulse caused by aeipathia, a decline of yang-qi, excessive yin-cold in the interior, or profuse sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • It can be used in combination with Xi Xin (Asari Radix et Rhizoma), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae), Ma Huang (Ephedra), etc to treat wheezing and cough due to cold fluid retention, coldness of body, and profuse thin sputum.

Side Effects

  • Animal studies have shown that an overdose can cause loose stools, but the symptoms disappear when the drug is discontinued.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Gan Jiang should be controlled between 3-10g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, or powders.
  • People who are allergic to ginger should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time as spironolactone.
  • Patients with internal heat due to yin deficiency or bleeding due to blood-heat should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under medical supervision.
  • Children, the elderly, and the infirm should take it under medical supervision.