Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in the alveoli in your lungs. The fluid interferes with getting oxygen to the blood. ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant injuries. Severe shortness of breath — the main symptom of ARDS — usually develops within a few hours to a few days after the original disease or trauma.

Many people who develop ARDS don’t survive. The risk of death increases with age and severity of illness. Of the people who do survive ARDS, some recover completely while others experience lasting damage to their lungs.

Research appearing in the Journal of Critical Care (Feb 9, 2010 e-published ahead of print) found that ginger may benefit patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome.  The subjects of the study were 32 patients with ARDS who were dependent on a mechanical ventilator for breathing and who were being fed through a nasogastric tube.  The patients were given either 120 mg of ginger extract or one gram of coconut oil (as a placebo) every day for three weeks.  The group receiving the ginger better tolerated feeding in the first 48 hours. There was also a decrease in the incidence of pneumonia in the ginger group, even though the number of ICU-free and ventilator-free days were lower in the placebo group.