Ginger Affects Dementia, Asthma, Diabetes

Anti-aging properties may be useful against cancer and ulcers

Woman shopping for finger

Woman shopping for finger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the most consumed spices in the world. A member of a plant family that includes cardamom and turmeric, its spicy, pungent aroma is mainly due to the presence of ketones, especially the gingerols.

The rhizome, which is the horizontal stem from which the roots grow, is the main portion of ginger that is consumed. Ginger’s current name comes from the Middle English gingivere, but this spice dates back over 3,000 years to the Sanskrit word srngaveram, meaning “horn root,” based on its appearance.

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Here are 10 reasons to love ginger:

1. Antioxidant—Ginger root contains a very high level of powerful antioxidants, surpassed only by pomegranate and some types of berries. Ginger inhibits superoxide, a devastating type of free radical in the human body that is linked to premature aging. Ginger protects a substance called reduced glutathione, a detoxifying enzyme that the body produces.

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2. Anti-Inflammatory—Ginger exhibits analgesic and potent anti-inflammatory effects, making it effective for relieving burning joint pain.

3. Seasickness—Ginger root is commonly recommended for preventing seasickness and is superior to dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) against symptoms of motion sickness.

4. Nausea—Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy affects most pregnant women, and over the years ginger has been used to ease the condition. At least one survey indicated that the overall use of dietary supplements in pregnant women appears to be low, but ginger is commonly recommended and used to prevent nausea.

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5. Cancer Prevention—The effectiveness of ginger in preventing or suppressing cancer growth has been examined in a variety of cancer types, including lymphoma, colorectal, breast, skin, liver, and bladder cancers. The mechanisms proposed to explain the anticancer activities of ginger and its components include antioxidant activity.

6. Blood thinning—Antiplatelet therapy with aspirin is an effective approach for preventing coronary heart disease. Ginger components are suggested as a potential new class of platelet-activation inhibitors without the potential side effects of aspirin, which is most commonly used in this approach. Ginger compounds were found to be less potent compared to aspirin. Ginger and nifedipine (a calcium-channel blocker) were reported to have a synergistic effect on antiplatelet aggregation in normal volunteers and hypertensive patients.

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7. Asthma—Components of ginger rhizomes are reported to contain potent compounds capable of suppressing allergic reactions and might be useful for treatment and prevention of allergic diseases; a ginger extract inhibits airway contraction.

8. Diabetes—Ginger has been studied for antidiabetic effects. Diabetic rats fed ginger exhibited better glucose tolerance and higher serum insulin levels than untreated rats, suggesting that it can help control blood sugar level. Treatment with a ginger extract produced significant reductions in body weight, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance.

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9. Dementia—Dried ginger may have beneficial effects in treating dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

10. Ulcerative Colitis—In rats, ginger extract lessened the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and a chronically recurrent inflammatory bowel disease of unknown origin.

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