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Ginger's many health uses to quell inflammation

How many ways is ginger used for various health concerns, from headaches to nausea issues, from anti-inflammatory properties to helping those with arthritis, according to recent research? Ginger's health benefits along with recipes for ginger have appeared in popular consumer magazines. See the January 29, 2013 Glamour magazine article by Lexi Patronis, "Is Ginger Made of Magic? Why It's so Good for You." Vitamin G, Glamour Magazine | Healthy Living. The recipes noted in the Glamor Magazine article mention that "world-famous restaurants specifically use Wakaya Perfection, a hand-cultivated, organic powdered ginger from the island of Fiji." You also may wish to see the article, "Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers."

Ginger's many health uses to quell inflammation.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

That popular article also mentions ginger's anti-inflammatory properties, pain reducing abilities in those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, and research on ginger's ability to help relieve some of the pain of migraines. See, "Ginger for migraine headaches."Also see, the article on headache relief with ginger tea from the Dr. Oz show, "Heal Your Headaches Naturally | The Dr. Oz Show."

More health benefits of eating ginger keep coming from research from the University of Georgia. For centuries, ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments such as colds and upset stomachs. But now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found that daily ginger consumption also reduces muscle pain caused by exercise. You may wish to check out the article, "Ginger quells cancer patients' nausea from chemotherapy."

Ginger research findings show they may slow the growth of tumors

Other studies focus on ginger's ability to help slow the growth of cancerous tumors. You may wish to check out the ScienceDaily article, " Dietary Ginger May Work Against Cancer Growth." Or see the article on how ginger's properties may slow tumor growth, "What are the Health Benefits of Ginger? - Slow Aging."

While ginger had been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in rodents, its effect on experimentally-induced human muscle pain was largely unexplored, said Patrick O'Connor, a professor in the College of Education's department of kinesiology, according to a May 19, 2010 news release, "Researchers find daily ginger consumption eases muscle pain by 25 percent." Also see, "One Doctor's Personal Food Cures For Cancer -"

Fresh ginger, or ginger root, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that combats certain cancer cells and helps slow tumor growth. A ginger infusion can also alleviate nausea from chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Another study showed it didn't help too much for morning sickness nausea, but some pregnant women are still given ginger to sip. Ginger is even used to help other species. See, "Ginger is key ingredient in recipe for conserving stag beetles."

You may wish to check out some of the other research studies to see whether the nausea and ginger research holds up as some people get acid reflux (heartburn) from eating ginger. The spice, turmeric also is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory.

Ginger for easing muscle pain

Researchers also believed that heating ginger, as occurs with cooking, might increase its pain-relieving effects. In the study, O'Connor directed two studies examining the effects of 11 days of raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on muscle pain.

Collaborators included Chris Black, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, UGA doctoral student Matt Herring and David Hurley, an associate professor of population health in UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Participants in the studies, 34 and 40 volunteers, respectively, consumed capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger or a placebo for 11 consecutive days. On the eighth day they performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexors with a heavy weight to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. Arm function, inflammation, pain and a biochemical involved in pain were assessed prior to and for three days after exercise.

Exercise pain-reducing properties of ginger

The studies showed that daily ginger supplementation reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 percent, and the effect was not enhanced by heat-treating the ginger. "The economic and personal costs of pain are extremely high," said O'Connor, according to the news release.

"Muscle pain generally is one of the most common types of pain and eccentric exercise-induced muscle pain specifically is a common type of injury related to sports and/or recreation (for example, gardening). Anything that can truly relieve this type of pain will be greatly welcomed by the many people who are experiencing it." The study appears in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Pain and is available online.

For several years research on ginger's health benefits have been studied. Check out the articles, "Morning sickness: Still no relief" and the paper on ginger from the "American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 26, 2007."

Ginger may combat deadly infant diarrhea in developing world
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

The popular spice ginger shows promise as a treatment for bacteria-induced diarrhea, the leading cause of infant death in developing countries, according to a preliminary study in animals conducted by researchers in Taiwan. Scientists study the anti-microbial properties of the components in ginger. You may also wish to take a look at the site, "A new wild ginger discovered from the evergreen forest of Western Ghats of South India."

If confirmed by further studies, the findings could lead to an inexpensive, easy-to-obtain alternative to drug therapy for the condition, the researchers say. The study appeared in the Oct. 3, 2007 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

An extract (component) of ginger blocked the toxin responsible for diarrhea caused by a type of E.coli bacteria in the 2007 study

You also may wish to check out the original study or its abstract, “Ginger and Its Bioactive Component Inhibit Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin-Induced Diarrhea in Mice.” You can download the PDF file of the study online. Or download the HTML format of the study. Download the article as a PDF file or as an HTML file.

In studies using laboratory mice, Chien-Yun Hsiang and colleagues showed that an extract of ginger blocked the toxin responsible for diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli), which accounts for 210 million cases of diarrhea worldwide and causes 380,000 deaths yearly. They also showed that zingerone, a component of ginger, is the likely compound responsible for this effect.

“In conclusion, our findings provide evidence that ginger and its derivatives may be effective herbal supplements for the clinical treatment of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli diarrhea,” the researchers state in the news release. Additional studies are needed to determine the effective doses of ginger needed and whether it is safe for infants, who may experience unexpected side effects from large doses.

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