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February 23, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(8):511-512. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470080033009

Since 1897 a number of cases of amblyopia from the use of extract of Jamaica ginger have been reported in medical journals, two of which having appeared within the last month. In all cases the cause of the symptoms has been credited to the ginger constituent, and some speculation has been indulged in as to how it could produce the retrobulbar neuritis or whatever other lesion was assumed to be its underlying pathologic condition. Aside from these observations, there is no evidence of any such special toxic action of ginger. It may, if taken in excess, be irritating to the stomach or throat, but it has otherwise no record to place it among the active poisons to the nervous system. This fact has been one of the puzzles to the reporters of these cases. Alcohol in excess, especially with tobacco, can cause the symptom, but the ginger-essence drinkers do not