Thursday, March 14, 2013

GI Ginger


You could call it “GI Ginger,” since ginger is known to soothe and relax the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but that doesn’t fully describe all the benefits of ginger.

For starters, ginger is known via modern scientific research as having numerous therapeutic properties, including its positive effects on the GI tract as well as healthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

For instance, double-blind studies demonstrate that ginger is effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness. In fact, one study indicates that ginger was much more effective against motion sickness than Dramamine was—and without any unwanted side effects. What’s more is that ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats.

Speaking of nausea . . . ginger is especially helpful to pregnant women who have nausea, including those who experience the most extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidum, which usually requires hospitalization. In a double-blind trial, ginger root delivered a significant reduction in the severity of nausea and in the number of vomiting attacks in 19 of 27 women in early pregnancy.  Additionally, a review of six double-blind, randomized, controlled trials published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, has confirmed that ginger is effective in relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

What’s more is that ginger is extremely safe compared to other anti-vomiting drugs, which can cause severe birth defects.  

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are impressive, too. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which are believed to be the power behind why many people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis get pain relief and greater mobility when consuming ginger regularly. For example, in two clinical studies, doctors discovered that 75 percent of arthritis patients and 100 percent of patients with muscular discomfort got relief of pain and/or swelling after taking ginger. Interestingly, ginger is particularly helpful against arthritis problems with aging knees. A study published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage shows that ginger reduces pain of movement by significant amounts and also reduced swelling of the knees.

But that‘s not all. Those same gingerols also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells and induce cell death in ovarian cancer cells.

Wow.

And just why is ginger such a powerful anti-inflammatory?  One reason is its active phenolic constituent, 6-gingerol, which significantly inhibits the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that can quickly form a highly damaging free radical named peroxynitrite.  Another reason is that ginger prevents an increase in free radical damage to lipids—the fats found in numerous bodily components from cell membranes to cholesterol. Likewise, ginger also helps keep up stores of glutathione, one of the body’s most important internally produced antioxidants. Additionally, ginger suppresses pro-inflammatory compounds called cytokines and chemokines, which are produced by cells in the joints, joint cartilage and in immune cells.

Interestingly, ginger can also help promote healthy sweating, which can help fight off germs and infections, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections) as well as fungi such as Candida albicans.

If you ask me, that’s one amazing GI Ginger.