Ginger And Health; What Benefit ?

Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizomes (ginger root) is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments worldwide. It is also called Zingiber officinale. It belongs to the family of zingiberaceae.

Aside being used as a flavoring agent for foods and beverages, its medicinal values has been consistent. Ginger is used for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics n manufacturing
The oily resin (oleoresin) from the rhizomes of ginger contains many bioactive components. However, 6-gingerol which is the primary pungent ingredient is believed to exert a variety of pharmacological and physiological activities.

The health benefits of ginger is as follows;

Anti-inflammatory effect – Ginger has been noted by studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Its extract with the antioxidant and anti inflammatory ingredients such as 6 Gingerols, 6-Shogoals, Zhingerol, etc has been noted to reduce inflammatory mediators such as inflammatory cytokines and chemokines due to their effects on NF-κB activation, cyclooxygenase 2 reduction and serotonin receptors inhibition. It is said to significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Antiemetic effect – Ginger is said to be effective in control of nausea and morning sickness. It has been noted to be helpful in control of nausea for patients on chemotherapy, post operative patients and  those on HIV medication. It acts peripherally, within the gastrointestinal tract, by increasing the gastric tone and motility due to anticholinenergic and antiserotonergic actions.

Analgesic effect – Researchers noted that ginger help to reduce menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea). It is also noted to reduce pain from eccentric resistance exercise and prolonged running. It is reported from studies that ginger relieved pain and swelling to varying degrees in patients with osteoarthritis as well as those with muscular pain. 

Anticancer Effect – 6-gingerol, a component of ginger has been reported in studies to have anticancer activities through its effects on a variety of biological pathways involved apoptosis (programmed cell death), cell cycle regulation, cytotoxic activity and inhibition of angiogenesis.

Effects on diabetes and blood pressure – Ginger supplements has been reported in studies to significantly reduce levels of fasting blood sugar, glycated haemoglobin (HBA1c) – used for assessment of glycaemic control within the past 2-3months.
It also reduces ApoB an atherogenic particle, Apo B/Apo A-1 ratio(marker of atherogenic and cardiovascular risk) and increases the level of Apo A-1 an antiatherogenic particle. Hence reduces chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension.

Treatment of Indigestion – In a study of effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia published in the world journal of gastroenterology, it was found that ginger improved gastric emptying and hence reduces indigestion.

Other health benefits of ginger include; 
– reduction in cholesterol level
– Improved braintoothache
– Relief of toothache

NOTE – The above listed health benefits of ginger is not exhaustive and many of them are based on small studies which further recommended larger studies.

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