Ginger Root Medicinal Importance and Facts

The ginger (Zingiber Officinale), is a perennial herb that is native to India, Asia and West Africa. This plant is an very good source of several bioactive phenolics, including non-volatile pungent compounds such as gingerols, paradols, shogaols and gingerones. Shogaols and gingerols stimulate production of saliva, bile and fluids made by your stomach, and reduce stomach contractions and develop muscle tone in your intestines.

Ginger Root Medicinal Importance and Benefits

Active components are volatile oils and different pungent chemicals called shogaols and gingerols. Ginger root has a long history of medicinal use for the therapy of a variety of diseases including common colds, fever, gastrointestinal complications, motion sickness, diabetes and rheumatic disorders. The basic pharmacological actions of ginger root and compounds isolated therefrom include anti-emetic, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-lipidemici immuno-modulatory, anti-tumorigenic, anti-inflammatory actions.

Antioxidant

Ginger is a powerful anti-oxidant substance and may either reduce or avoid generation of free radicals. Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of  ORAC of ginger is 14840 µmol TE/100 g. A study reported in the Nov 2003 edition of “Life Sciences” show that at least one reason for ginger’s useful properties is the free radical protection afforded by one of its phenolic constituents, 6-gingerol.

Nausea and Vomiting

In a comprehensive review of ginger as a therapy for nausea and vomiting reported in British Journal of Anaesthesia in Ginger Root 2000, the authors examined 6 study in which ginger was used to treat these problems. Researchers concluded that ginger root was more effective than a placebo in all cases and equally efficacious as anti-nausea medications in some situations. The antiemetic action of ginger root is attributed to its constituents, gingerol and and shogaol their interactions with 5HT-3 receptors. Ginger root has been approved by German Commission E (an official government agency similar to the  FDA) for indigestion and to help prevent motion sickness.

Clinical studies show that ginger root can effectively lessen nausea and vomiting following surgery and that associated with pregnancy and motion sickness. A double blind study aboard a ship demonstrated ginger was equally as efficacious as various drugs in controlling seasickness, in a large study of 1489 individuals. In a study of thirty pregnant women with severe vomiting, those who took 1 g of ginger root every day for 4 days reported more relaxation from vomiting than those who took placebo. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of 79 Swedish naval cadets demonstrated that 1 grams of ginger root could reduce nausea and vertigo at sea. A 2006 meta-analysis evaluating the use of ginger root for postoperative nausea and vomiting demonstrated that, in five randomized trials with a total of 363 people, ginger root was more effective than placebo.

In a study, of over 600 cancer patients found that a ginger root extract lessen chemotherapy-induced nausea by 40%. The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least 3 chemotherapy. Patients were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 g of ginger, 1 g of ginger, or 1.5 g of ginger along with antiemetics. They took the ginger supplements 3 days prior to chemotherapy and 3 days following therapy. Patients reported nausea levels at different times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40%decrease.

Menstrual Pain

Ginger root pain-killing properties may help if have painful periods. One study shows that taking a certain ginger root extract 250 mg 4 times daily for three days at the beginning of the menstrual period reduces pain symptoms in as many as 62% of women.

Arthritis

Experimental studies suggest that ginger root inhibits the synthesis of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, by inhibiting both the cyclo-oxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase enzymes. Also, findings revealed that an extract of ginger root inhibits several genes that contribute to inflammation. In vitro a study, 6-gingerol was shown to significantly inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that quickly forms a very damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. According to a study reported in “Arthritis and Rheumatism”, Nov 2001, ginger root  can lessen the pain and suffering of people who have osteoarthritis as well as conventional medications or painkillers. In a study, a special ginger root extract combined with glucosamine worked as well as the anti-inflamatory drug diclofenac slow release 100 mg daily plus glucosamine sulfate 1 g daily.

In a study of 56 people, ginger root extract was effective in reducing pain and inflammation in three-quarters of the arthritis patients and all of the patients with muscular discomfort. Ginger root is efficacious as a therapy for pain and inflammation, according to a 2005 research reported in Archives of Iranian Medicine. Scientists found that pain fell approximately 50% for people in the ginger and ibuprofen groups. In a study of 261 participant with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took a ginger root extract twice daily had less pain and needed fewer pain-killing drugs than those who received placebo. Another study compared the effects of a ginger root extract to placebo in 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The ginger root reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40% over the placebo. Found that ginger root, like the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. Common types of NSAIDs include Aspirin, Advil, Aleve and Motrin. Ginger root suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2.

Antitumor

Ginger root contains compounds that inhibit a certain enzyme that metabolizes a substance that is necessary for prostate cancer proliferation. Some researches demonstrate that ginger root may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, kill cancerous cells. A study out of  “Georgia State University” demonstrated  ginger root extract was able to shrink prostate tumor size by 56 % in mice.Tumour tissue from ginger root extract -treated mice demonstrated reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods.  Therapy with (6)-gingerol, has been found to have the activity to kill cancerous cells according to a study reported in March 2007 edition of  Molecular Nutrition and Clinical Research. Detailed studies have approved that  ginger root extract perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells.

Researchers at the “University of Michigan” have showed that ginger root  kills ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptotic and autophagic cell death. “In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that ginger induced cell death at a similar or better rate than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat ovarian cancer,” says Jennifer Rhode, M.D. a gynecologic oncology fellow at the U-M Medical School. Ginger root has been identified in one study to help lessen colon inflammation markers such as PGE2, so indicating a measure that might affect colon cancer. Researchers at the “University of Minnesota” evaluated the effect of ginger on lab mice injected with human bowel cancer tumour cells. Twenty mice were fed the ginger before receiving therapy. A control group of mice was also injected with cancer but not fed the spice. After 2 weeks, 13 tumours had appeared among the control mice, but just 4 among the ginger-treated animals. Ginger root reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, according to a study  reported in “Cancer Prevention Research“. By researchers at the University of  Michigan Medical School, enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to 2 g of ginger per day or placebo for 28 days.After 28 days, the scientists measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant decrease in most of these markers, and trends toward significant decrease in others.

Dosage

Would have to consume 3.5 ounces of whole ginger in a daily diet to get the favorable effects. Ginger, 500 mg,  2–4 times per day for nausea, vomiting, motion sickness has been used. Studies show that if used as a single anti-inflammatory intervention that the daily dosage can range from 1000 milligrams  to 4,000 milligrams per day, based upon the dose required to lessen symptoms. Research findings, ginger root should be standardized to contain at least 5% gingerols per dose. Pregnant women should ask their physician before taking ginger, and should be careful not take more than 1g per day.

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