Challenges in herbal research: A randomized clinical trial to assess blinding with ginger

Suzanna M. Zick, Amy Blume, Daniel Normolle, Mack Ruffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess methods to blind study participants to encapsulated ginger (Zingiber officinale). Design: A randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial. Subjects: Eighty healthy male and female volunteers. Outcome measures: Whether participants can accurately determine if they receive a ginger or placebo capsule and a bottle filled with ginger or placebo capsules. Results: Forty-two subjects correctly identified the capsule they received. Of those who received placebo, over 82% correctly identified their capsule. Only 22.5% of those who received ginger correctly identified their capsule. The likelihood of guessing ginger between the groups was statistically similar (p < 0.01). 65% correctly guessed which bottle they had received (p = 0.0073). Participants receiving the bottle filled with ginger capsules successfully identified their bottle 75% of the time (p = 0.0016) compared to the 55% of the placebo group (p = 0.5). Conclusions: Volunteers cannot determine which type of individual capsule they receive but can distinguish a bottle filled with ginger capsules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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