Ginger Benefits, Medicinal Properties & Side Effects

Ginger Super Food

Ginger is a herbaceous perennial rhizome known as Zingiber officinale Rosc. In Sanskrit it is also called as the Universal medicine and compares ginger as a lion and all other diseases are like small animals. The rhizomes are aromatic and are valuable throughout the world as a spice or an herbal medicine (1). India is the largest producer of ginger in the world (2).

Active components of Ginger

Some of the important components of ginger are acetic acid, α-linolenic acid, α-phellandrene, α-pinene, α- terpinene, α-terpineol, arginine, ascorbic acid, β-sitosterol, boron, caffeic acid, camphor, capsaicin, chlorogenic acid, curcumene, zingiberene, resins, starches, fats and proteins (3). Important constituents of ginger and their functions are as follows

  • 1,8-cineole: Act as an anti-inflammatory and used for the treatment of acute bronchitis (4).
  • Gingerol: Acts as an anticancer, anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant (5), anti-microbial and hepatoprotective (12, 13).
  • Shogoal: Acts as an anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic to various central nervous system activities (6).

9 Health benefits of Ginger:

  • Anti-oxidant activity:

    Main components of ginger which exhibits antioxidant activity are gingerols, shogoals and zingerone. Zingerone is the most potent antioxidant active compound it protects the DNA and intestine from oxidative damage (7 and 8).

Note: All the experiments are mainly done on rats.

  • Anti-cancer activity:

    Recent studies on mouse found that compounds that are gingerol, zingerone and shogoal showed anti-cancerous activity against different types of malignancies including carcinomas of prostrate liver colon and oral cavity (2).

  • Anti-fungal activity:

    Ginger showed effective anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans, therefore, can be effective against disease candidiasis (9).

  • Anti-diabetic activity:

    Studies on Type I diabetic rats showed that treatment with ginger extract causes decreases serum cholesterol and blood pressure (10).

  • Anti-hepatotoxic activity:

    Increased pollution also caused many diseases related to the liver due to exposure to various toxins. Liver dysfunction is mostly managed by herbal treatment. Ginger is considered as a good natural hepatoprotective constituent. Studies showed that ginger extract protects CCl4 induced toxicity in rats (11).

  • Anti-microbial:

    Antibiotic use against various microbesise the most effective way to prevent many diseases. But with the increase of antibiotics, the resistance of all microbes also increase and again it causes more dreadful diseases. The only safe way to prevent is the use of herbal extracts. Ginger and its constituent’s gingerol are effective against many harmful microorganisms like E coli, Salmonella typhi and Bacillus subtilis (14).

  • Cardiovascular activity:

    Ginger acts as a great heart tonic for reducing blood clotting, decreasing cholesterol hence reducing thrombosis leading to a healthy heart.

  • Antidepressant activity:

    Studies in albino rats showed that ginger extract associated with the potential antidepressant activity (15).

  • Gastroprotective activity:

    Ginger and its constituents are anti-ulcerative in its nature mainly acts by increasing mucin secretion (2).

Ginger, therefore, increase immunity. Stimulate respiratory, digestive and nervous system. Helps in revitalize the body by boosting circulatory system.

Medicinal Properties of Ginger

  • Digestion – for improving digestion take around half or one-fourth teaspoon of dried ginger should be taken with salt before the meal
  • Headache – Ginger mixed with oil can be applied on the forehead to relief from a cold and cold-related headache.
  • Cold –  a teaspoon of ginger juice and honey is effective.
  • Menstrual Cramps – Ginger tea is helpful for relief from cold and menstrual cramps. Ginger tea is prepared mainly by simmering fresh or dry ginger in water with black pepper and basils leaves.

Precautions:

Ginger heats up the body therefore, it should be taken in a small amount during the summer season. Excess intake of ginger can cause a bleeding menstrual problem and bleeding ulcers.

References:

  1. Tepe B, Sokmen M, Akpulat HA, Sokmen A. Screening of the antioxidant potentials of six Salvia species from Turkey. Food Chem. 2006;95:200–204.
  2. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2017; 6(3): 174-184
  3. Medicinal and aromatic plant science and biotechnology 2(2). 72-78, 2008, Global Science Book.
  4. Beer et al., Nat Prod Chem Res 2017, 5:2 DOI:10.4172/2329-6836.1000253
  5. Wang S, Zhang C, Yang G, Yang Y., Nat Prod Commun.2014 Jul; 9(7):1027-30. Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review.
  6. DOI: 1016/j.phytochem.2015.07.012
  7. Rajan I, narayanan N, Rabindran R, Jayasree PR, Kumar PRM. Zingerone protects against stannous chloride induced and hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative DNA damage in vitro. Biological Trace element Research. 2013, 155: 455-459.
  8. Banji D, banji OJF, Pavani B, Kranthi Kumar C, Annamalai A R. Zingerone regulates intestinal transit, attenuates behavioural and oxidative perturbations in irritable bowel disorder in rats, Phytomedicine. 2014; 21(4): 423-429.
  9. http://www.ssdctumkur.org/jdsr.php
  10. DOI:1211/0022357022403
  11. doi: 4103/0250-474X.78521
  12. Park M, Bae J, Lee DS. Antibacterial activity of [10]-gingerol and [12]-gingerol isolated from ginger rhizome against periodontal bacteria Phytother Res 2008; 22: 1446-1449.
  13. Alqasoumi S, Yusufoglu H, Farraj A and Alam A. Effect of 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol on Diclofenac Sodium Induced Liver Injury. Int J Pharmacol 2011; 7: 868-873.
  14. ijppp.org /ISSN:1944-8171/IJPPP0000143
  15. Pratap S R et al 2012; Antidepressant activity of hydroalcoholic extract of Zingiber officinale. International research journal of pharmacy 3(2).

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