Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber offcinale), is a member of the Zingiberaceae family and has been used as a spice and remedy in India and China since ancient times. The plant is indigenous to India and is cultivated in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia.

Ginger is concentrated in the rhizome of the ginger plant and is a complex substance with over 400 different compounds. Most investigators suggest ginger’s health benefits are a result of 2 classes of active ingredients: terpenes and polyphenols.

Terpenes are compounds that possess a strong odor and often are major components of essential oils.  Polyphenols are potent antioxidants and are found in many healthy foods like berries and red onions. Research implies gingerols and shogaols are ginger’s crucial polyphenols.  The distinct odor and taste of ginger are due to the complex mixture of ginger’s terpenes and phenolic compounds.

Potential Benefits of Ginger for Musculoskeletal Health    

1. Ginger is an antioxidant* 6,7,8,9

Free radicals damage bone, cartilage, muscle, and tendons accelerating degenerative disease. The health promoting components of ginger disarm destructive oxygen free radicals, like peroxide, and potentially protect joints, bones, tendons, and muscle against chronic oxidative stress.  

Ginger also reduces lipid peroxidation, a devastating chain reaction that targets the fat in the cell walls and frequently leads to cell death.

Indian researchers examined the effects of ginger oil on mouse model of oxidative stress.The researchers found that ginger oil significantly increased the body’s natural enzymes (superoxide dismutase, glutathione and glutathione reductase enzymes) to combat oxidative stress and reduced markers of oxidation. (Jeena K et al. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from ginger. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Jan-Mar;57(1):51-62.)

2. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory* 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18

Rampant inflammation releases tissue eating enzymes and toxins that destroy muscle, bone, tendon, and joint tissue. Ginger potentially reduces inflammation’s injurious effect:

  • Ginger constrains Nuclear Factor Kappa Beta, a key protein that regulates the production of inflammation promoting factors.
  • Ginger inhibits Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha,  the cardinal signaling molecule that directs the inflammation pathway.
  • Ginger diminishes the synthesis of local signaling molecules and enzymes that boost inflammation and carry out its destructive effects.

Iranian researchers examined the effects of ginger extract on delayed onset muscle soreness after intense exercise.The researchers found that ginger extract significantly reduced pain and IL-6 levels, both indices of inflammation.(Hoseinzadeh K et al. Acute effects of ginger extract on biochemical and functional symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2015 Sep 12;29:261.)

 

3. Ginger demonstrates anti-fat properties*19,20,21

Obesity is a major risk factor for chronic joint disease Animal studies have demonstrated ginger reduces weight gain of test subjects and restricts inflammation within fat cells that helped promote excessive weight gain in non-treatment group.

The exact mechanism of ginger’s anti-fat fat mechanism is not well understood, but investigators believe ginger inhibits the absorption of dietary fats by inhibiting its breakdown in the gastrointestinal tract.

Egyptian researchers examined the effects of ginger extract on a rat model of obesity.The researchers found that ginger extract significantly reduced body weight and increased HDL levels(good cholesterol).(Mahmoud RH et al. Comparative evaluation of the efficacy of ginger and orlistat on obesitymanagement, pancreatic lipase and liver peroxisomal catalase enzyme in male albino rats. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Jan;17(1):75-83.)

 

Precautions 22,23,24

Ginger is generally recognized as safe when consumed in usual culinary and herbal doses.

As with any consideration of any form of supplementation consult your healthcare provide prior to use if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medications or have any medical conditions. Discontinue use and consult your doctor is any adverse reactions occur.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
 

 

References

  1. Zick SM, Djuric Z, Ruf n MT, Litzinger AJ, Normolle DP, Alrawi S, Feng MR, Brenner DE. Pharmacokinetics of 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, 10-gingerol, and 6-shogaol and conjugate me- tabolites in healthy human subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2008; 17: 1930- 1936.
  2. R. Grzanna, L. Lindmark, and C. G. Frondoza, “Ginger— an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-in ammatory actions,” Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 125–132, 2005. 

  3. Mozaffarian V. Identification of medicinal and aromatic plants of Iran.Tehran: Farhang Mo'aser.
  4. M. Harold, On Food and Cooking: e Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Scribner, New York, NY, USA, 2nd edition, 2004.

  5. E. Langner, S. Greifenberg, and J. Gruenwald, “Ginger: history and use,” Advances in erapy, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 25–44, 1998.
  6. Krishnakantha TP, Lokesh BR. Scavenging of superoxide anions by spice principles. Indian J Biochem Biophys 1993; 30: 133-134.
  7. Reddy AA, Lokesh BR. Studies on spice principles as antioxidants in the inhibition of lipid peroxidation of rat liver microsomes. Mol Cell Biochem 1992; 111: 117-124.
  8. Bellik Y. Total antioxidant activity and antimi- crobial potency of the essential oil and oleo- resin of Zingiber of cinale Roscoe. Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2014; 4: 40-44.
  9. Li F, Wang Y, Parkin KL, Nitteranon V, Liang J, Yang W, Li Y, Zhang G, Hu Q. Isolation of qui- none reductase (QR) inducing agents from gin- ger rhizome and their in vitro anti-in ammatory activity. Food Res Int 2011; 44: 1597-1603.
  10. Daily JW, Zhang X, Kim DS, Park S: Efficacy of ginger for alleviating the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Pain Med 2015;16:2243–2255. 

  11. Habib SH, Makpol S, Abdul Hamid NA, Das S, Ngah WZ, Yusof YA. Ginger Extract (Zingiber Of cinale) has Anti-Cancer and Anti-In amma- tory Effects on Ethionine-Induced Hepatoma Rats. Clinics 2008; 63: 807-813
  12. Kiuchi F, Iwakami S, Shibuya M, Hanaoka F, Sankawa U. Inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis by gingerols and dia- rylheptanoids. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1992; 40: 387-391. 

  13. Ali BH, Blunden G, Tanira MO, Nemmar A. Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber of - cinale Roscoe): a review of recent research. Food Chem Toxicol 2008; 46: 409-420. 

  14. Tripathi S, Bruch D, Kittur DS. Ginger extract inhibits LPS induced macrophage activation and function. BMC Complement Altern Med 2008; 8: 1-7. 

  15. Aktan F, Henness S, Tran VH, Duke CC, Roufogalis BD, Ammit AJ. Gingerol metabolite and a synthetic analogue Capsarol inhibit mac- rophage NF-kappaB-mediated iNOS gene ex- pression and enzyme activity. Planta Med 2006; 72: 727-734. 

  16. Takada Y, Murakami A, Aggarwal BB. Zerum- bone abolishes NF-kappaB and IkappaBalpha kinase activation leading to suppression of an- tiapoptotic and metastatic gene expression, upregulation of apoptosis, and downregulation of invasion. Oncogene 2005; 24: 6957-6969. 

  17. Kim SO, Chun KS, Kundu JK, Surh YJ. Inhibitory effects of [6]-gingerol on PMA-induced COX-2 expression and activation of NF-kappaB and p38 MAPK in mouse skin. Biofactors 2004; 21: 27-31.
  18. Kadnur SV, Goyal RK. Beneficial effects of Zingiber officinale Roscoe on fructose induced hyperlipidemia and hyperinsulinemia in rats. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 2005; 43:1161–1164.
  19. Sekiya K, Ohtani A, Kusano S. Enhancement of insulin sensitivity in adipocytes by ginger. Biofactors. 2004; 22:153–156.
  20. Woo HM, Kang JH, Kawada T, Yoo H, Sung MK, Yu R. Active spice-derived components can inhibit inflammatory responses of adipose tissue in obesity by suppressing inflammatory actions of macrophages and release of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 from adipocytes. Life Sci. 2007; 80:926–931.
  21. Kaul PN, Joshi BS. Alternative medicine: Herbal drugs and their critical appraisal-part II. Prog Drug Res 2001; 57: 1-75. 

  22. Langner E, Greifenberg S, Gruenwald J. Ginger: History and use. Adv Ther 1998; 15: 25. Srivastava KC. Aqueous extracts of onion, gar- lic and ginger inhibit platelet aggregation and alter arachidonic acid metabolism. Biomed Biochim Acta 1984; 43: S335-346.
  23. Weidner MS, Sigwart K. Investigation of the teratogenic potential of a Zingiber of cinale ex- tract in the rat. Reprod Toxicol 2001; 15: 75- 80.
  24. Rong X, Peng G, Suzuki T, Yang Q, Yamahara J, Li Y. A 35-day gavage safety assessment of gin- ger in rats. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2009; 54: 118-23.

 Lucas J. Bader MD

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