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4 Health Benefits of Ginger for IBD, Diabetes, Pregnancy and Osteoarthritis

4 health benefits of ginger

It’s no secret that ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for various symptoms and health problems, and a growing amount of research is uncovering more reasons why ginger rocks. Here are some of the health benefits of ginger, including the latest study on this natural remedy and inflammatory bowel disease.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ginger

At Georgia State University, an investigative team has just published their findings concerning the use of ginger for IBD, but rather than capsules, teas, or powdered, they used nanoparticles. Ginger-derived nanoparticles are made by juicing fresh ginger root and placing it in a high-speed centrifuge to create nanoparticles, so tiny that more than 300 of them fit the width of a human hair. This makes the ginger highly available to the body.

Thus far, scientists have experimented with these ginger nanoparticles in mice and found that they can reduce acute colitis (one form of IBD) and prevent chronic colitis as well as colitis-associated cancer. The particles can target the colon, where they are absorbed by the intestinal lining, which is where IBD occurs.

Previous research has shown that ginger in other forms can be helpful in managing IBD signs and symptoms, including inflammation, nausea, and other digestive problems. However, the use of ginger nanoparticles could be a more effective way to focus on colon tissue.

Pregnancy and ginger

Pregnant women need safe, natural ways to deal with the nausea and vomiting often associated with morning sickness. Ginger can be that safety net.

In a review of 12 randomized controlled trials involving 1,278 pregnant women, ginger was compared with placebo for managing nausea and vomiting. Ginger significantly improved nausea and was associated with a trend toward improvement in vomiting.

The effective dose was identified as less than 1,500 mg. The authors named ginger as a “harmless” option for women experiencing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Diabetes and ginger

If you have type 2 diabetes, ginger could help with certain glycemic factors. For example, consider the findings of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial involving 20 adults (age 60) with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin.

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Half of the participants took 3 grams of powdered ginger daily for three months while the controls took a placebo. At the end of the three months, those in the ginger group had significant improvements in glucose, hemoglobin A1c, insulin, insulin resistance, and several other markers for diabetes.

Osteoarthritis and ginger

Reports on the effectiveness of ginger in relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis are mixed, perhaps because of the inconsistencies seen in many of the studies. However, a recent meta-analysis of five trials showed that ginger was associated with a significant reduction in pain and in disability.

An interesting study from New Zealand examined the use of topical ginger (compresses and patched) in people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis. Twenty adults with chronic osteoarthritis were assigned to be treated with either a ginger compress or a standardized ginger patch daily for seven days.

Treatment was done by trained nurses. At the end of the seven days, patients could opt to continue self-treatment with a ginger patch for an additional 24 weeks. Here’s what the researchers found:

  • After one week, there was a notable decline in scores for pain, fatigue, global effect, and functional status
  • Satisfaction with health improved from 80% dissatisfied to 70% satisfied
  • Over the 24 weeks of self-treatment, all scores progressively declined

The findings led the authors to conclude that topical ginger can relieve symptoms, improve overall health, and enhance the independence of individuals with chronic osteoarthritis.

More about health benefits of ginger

What makes ginger so powerful? Thus far, the active ingredients have been identified as

  • Gingerol and gingerol-related compound: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-analgesic
  • Paradol: antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial
  • Shagoal: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer
  • Zingerone: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
  • 1-dehydro-(10) gingerdione: regulates inflammatory genes
  • Zerumbone: antitumor, antimicrobial
  • Ginger flavonoids: antioxidants

Clearly, ginger may be helpful for more than the four conditions mentioned here. That’s why you should stay tuned for “4 More Health Benefits of Ginger.”

Bartels EM et al. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2015 Jan; 23(1): 13-21
Rahmani AH et al. Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities. International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology 2014; 6(2): 125-36
Shidfar F et al. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine 2015 Jun; 12(2):165-70
Therkleson T. Topical ginger treatment with a compress or patch for osteoarthritis symptoms. Journal of Holistic Nursing2014 Sep; 32(3): 173-82
Viloen E et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutrition Journal 2014 Mar 19; 13:20
Zhang M et al. Edible ginger-derived nanoparticles: a novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated cancer. Biomaterials 2016 Sep; 101:321-40

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