[PHNUTR-L] Mother Knew Best: Ginger’s Medicinal Benefits
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Tue Jan 3 08:46:08 PST 2006
Colleagues, the following is FYI and does not necessarily reflect my own
opinion. I have no further knowledge of the topic. If you do not wish to
receive these posts, set your email filter to filter out any messages
coming from @nutritionucanlivewith.com and the program will remove
anything coming from me.
Source: University of Michigan Health System
Released: Tue 03-Jan-2006, 08:00 ET
Mother Knew Best: Ginger’s Medicinal Benefits
Newswise — A common mother’s home remedy for a tummy ache or nausea has
long been a glass of ginger ale or ginger tea. It turns out mom was onto
“Ginger does appear to have several medicinal qualities,” says Suzanna
Zick, N.D., MPH, research investigator in family medicine at the
University of Michigan Health System. Zick is specifically looking at
whether ginger can be used to prevent nausea from chemotherapy. But, she
says, ginger has also been shown to warm the body, settle the digestive
tract and relieve some types of arthritis.
There are three main ways that ginger appears to help. First, its main
constituent is a substance called gingerol, a strong free-radical that
acts as an antioxidant. This works in nausea by decreasing oxidative
products made in the digestive tract that cause nausea to occur.
Second, ginger causes the blood vessels to dilate, explaining its
warming effect. The third factor is that it blocks serotonin receptors
in the stomach that cause nausea. “What it actually does is blocks those
receptors so serotonin can’t go into them and cause more nausea,” Zick says.
Fresh ginger root appears to have the most medicinal qualities. Zick
recommends buying fresh ginger at the supermarket and grinding or
chopping it to add to foods. The dried form of ginger may work well too.
Ginger is available in capsule form, or you can get benefit from ginger
tea, ginger ale and even things like ginger snap cookies – as long as
they are made with real ginger.
“People really need to be aware that there are a lot of products,
especially ginger ales these days, that put in a synthetic form of
ginger or hardly any real ginger. So if you really wanted the medicinal
effect, you would have to make sure that that brand had actual ginger in
it,” Zick says.
Zick and colleagues at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center are looking
at whether ginger can prevent nausea and vomiting related to
chemotherapy. Study participants receive ginger capsules in one of two
doses. The study, which is ongoing at 10 sites throughout the country,
is testing whether ginger can help people who experience nausea even
after taking standard anti-nausea drugs.
“We know anecdotally that the participants in the study say they are
happy to be in the study and satisfied with their treatment,” Zick says.
“We don’t know what that means yet. We’re hoping that means the ginger
is doing something really good, and we have had a few participants say
they felt they could decrease their other medications while they were in
the study. Whether that’s a placebo effect or from the ginger, we’ll
have to wait until the study ends,” Zick says.
While it’s too early to know if ginger will help cancer patients,
previous studies have shown it’s effective at controlling nausea related
to motion sickness, post-operative recovery and pregnancy.
Nausea is often a side effect of standard cancer treatments, including
surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Whatever its cause, nausea can
prevent you from getting enough food and nutrients in your diet. Follow
these dos and don’ts when faced with an unsettled stomach:
• Toast or crackers
• Soft, bland fruits and vegetables, such as canned peaches
• Clear liquids
• Small amounts of food often and slowly
• Fatty, greasy or fried foods
• Very sweet foods, such as candy or cake
• Spicy or hot foods
• Foods with strong odors
• Liquids with meals
For more information, visit these Web sites:
National Cancer Institute: Ginger treatment for cancer-related nausea
and vomiting (study details)
University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger overview
American Cancer Society: Ginger and cancer
U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center: A guide to chemotherapy
National Cancer Institute: Nausea and vomiting
For information about the ginger trial or other cancer research at the
U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, call the Cancer AnswerLine at 800-865-1125.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
More information about the PHNUTR-L