Gingerol, the phenol compound responsible for ginger’s pungent flavour, facilitates digestion by stimulating production of bile and digestive enzymes. This active principle from the vanilloid family makes up over 15% of the fresh ginger juice extracted from the root and isolated during the manufacture of the ginger extract used in Inflarelief Formula capsules. This active principle accelerates gastric emptying, stimulates pancreatic secretions and reduces the leaden feeling in the stomach following a heavy meal. Gingerol also prevents dyspepsia, a collection of symptoms caused by epigastric discomfort which is also responsible for abdominal bloating and gas.
In 1999, the World Health Organization recognised the benefits of ginger root for treating morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. The shogaol present in ginger’s underground stem has properties which are chemically similar to gingerol and plays a key role in this anti-nausea effect by reducing churning in the stomach. The ginger root extract used in phytotherapy and prescribed to pregnant women can be an effective substitute for vitamin B6 pyridoxamine and is free from side-effects.
Conducted in 2005 by a team of five Italian researchers, a systematic literature review of clinical trials entitled Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting, also confirmed the benefits of ginger root for pregnancy-related sickness. Involving a total of 675 participants, the studies included in the review showed that consuming between 0.5g and 1.5g of ginger powder a day in capsule form was effective.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of ginger are used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve rheumatic pain related to various types of arthritis. The arthritic pain-relief benefits of several of ginger’s constituents, including 6-Gingerol and 10-Gingerol, were the object of a scientific study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2012. This double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, conducted in accordance with Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) criteria, demonstrated that the salicylates in ginger also relieve the pain and discomfort of joint problems. The salicylates are converted by the body into salicylic acid (aspirin), to prevent the production from unsaturated fatty acids of prostaglandins, central mediators of inflammation and pain. Ginger extract-based dietary supplements may therefore be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, but without the latter’s unwelcome side-effects.
The results of an American clinical trial published in the Journal of Pain in September 2010, demonstrated the benefits of ginger extract-based dietary supplements in 74 sportspeople with moderate muscle pain following intense physical exercise. Those who consumed 2g a day of ginger extract for 11 days experienced a 25% reduction in pain compared with a placebo group. Two types of preparation were tested: extract of raw ginger, and extract of heat-treated ginger, dried before encapsulation. Both displayed the same anti-inflammatory effects as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen, as a result of their phenol compounds, gingerol and shogaol. The dietary supplement with heat-treated ginger extract contained less gingerol and more shogaol, levels of which increase when subjected to heat.
Ginger has vasodilatory properties which help reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. A double-blind controlled study conducted in 2004 in two clinics in Iran, and published in 2008, demonstrated the efficacy of ginger powder in 85 participants with a lipid profile displaying raised LDL-cholesterol. The subjects consumed 3g of ginger powder a day for 45 days.
Ginger’s anti-cancer properties are well-documented in a study conducted by American scientists, published in theBritish Journal of Nutrition in 2011. Taking 100mg of ginger extract per kg/bodyweight was shown to have disrupted the development of cancer cells more rapidly than chemotherapy in 56% of the prostate cancer patients surveyed. Ginger’s active constituents may also be able to impede the growth of ovarian tumours, according to a study published in the Revue de la Médecine Contemporaine. However, early treatment, in combination with chemotherapy, is essential to halt angiogenesis as quickly as possible so the cancer can be more easily treated.
Ginger also delays ageing of the body’s cells. Its antioxidant properties are primarily due to its high manganese content which helps prevent free radical damage, strongly implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Ginger may also contain around 40 antioxidant active principles the efficacy of which is enhanced by heat. Heat-treated ginger is thus recommended for combatting cellular ageing.
Not only does ginger add sophistication to cooking with its fresh flavours, but it also provides relief from various health problems when ingested in the form of capsules. Ginger extract-based dietary supplements offer revitalising, anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective and antioxidant effects.