Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What's the evidence for ginger for the common cold?

Following our last post on the use of Treatment Scores to assess the evidence of several treatments of the common cold, I'd like to start by looking at the evidence to support ginger in the common cold.  A simple Google search of ginger and common cold reveals many websites purporting ginger as a symptomatic treatment of the cold.  I want to see the scientific evidence behind this.

The first step in my process was to define the diagnoses in the Diagnosis Tool.  I picked several different medical conditions that typically are lumped together as the common cold.  I included upper respiratory infection, nasopharyngitis, and rhinopharyngitis.  These are not inclusive, but representative of what I think most people consider as the common cold.  Figure 1 shows the diagnoses entered into the Diagnoses Tool.

Figure 1 showing the Diagnosis Tool.
Once we have entered the diagnoses we need to define our main statistic.  To complete this I went to the medical literature and browsed around clinical trials in the common cold.  I was able to find a validated symptom questionnaire called the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Score which appeared to be appropriate for our question.  I also set the follow up as 3 weeks, as this should allow sufficient time for the natural course of the disease.  Figure 2 shows the entry into the Diagnosis Tool of the main statistic.

Figure 2 showing the Main statistic
Once these are completed we are ready to go to the Treatment Organizer.  Figure 3 shows the view of the Treatment Organizer.  In our next post we will go through the Treatment Organizer and start entering the evidence to find a Treatment Score for ginger in the common cold. (Please see disclaimers below, these are simply for educational purposes and we do not pretend to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please see your physician for any medical problems.)
Figure 3 showing the Treatment Organizer

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You must consult your own licensed physician, or other licensed medical professional, for diagnosis, treatment, and for the interpretation of all medical statistics including SOM® Treatment Scores. Treatment Scores are for educational purposes only. Treatment Scores may be incomplete, inaccurate, harmful, or even cause death if used for treatment instead of consulting a licensed medical professional. No medical advice is being given. We DO NOT CLAIM to cure, treat, or prevent any illness or condition. Nor do our services provide medical advice or constitute a physician patient relationship. Contact a physician or other medical professional if you suspect that you are ill. Call emergency services (call 911 if available) or go to the nearest emergency room if an emergency is suspected. We are not responsible for any delays in care from using our website, our services, or for any other reason. We are not responsible for any consequential damages of any nature whatsoever. We make no warranties of any kind in connection with our writings or the use of TreatmentScoresBlog.com or TreatmentScores.com. Treatment Scores are about what happened in the past they do not predict the future.

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