Ginger Regarded as Asthma Biggest Enemy
The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form, or as juice. Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, alongside cardamom and turmeric. It is commonly produced in India, Jamaica, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia.
It is available fresh and dried, as ginger extract and ginger oil, and in tinctures, capsules, and lozenges. Foods that contain ginger include gingerbread, cookies, ginger snaps, ginger ale, and a wide variety of savory recipes.
Fragrant, zesty, and intense, ginger is the go-to herb for those looking to add a kick to any culinary creation. There’s a good chance you enjoy this tasty root frequently, whether you’re sipping a tall, cold glass of ginger ale, topping your sushi with some pickled ginger, or munching on a Gingerbread man during the holidays. Besides being delicious, ginger does wonder to calm the stomach – but did you know that it might also be one of the most promising weapons in the fight against asthma?
A new study carried out by the Columbia University Department of Anesthesiology shows that some of the chemical components of ginger may improve the symptoms of asthma, especially when administered in conjunction with beta-agonists – the family of bronchodilating medications frequently used to treat the condition.
In the lab, researchers exposed human samples of airway smooth muscle tissue (ASM) to acetylcholine, a compound that causes constriction in the bronchial tubes. Then, they mixed the beta-agonist medication with three different chemical components of ginger (as well as the medication on its own), and applied the mixture to the cells. The results? Researchers found that when the drug was mixed with the building blocks of ginger, the treated tissues exhibited significantly greater bronchodilation than those that were applied to the beta-agonists on their own; in other words, the root boosted the effects of the medication.
This research has yet to be published in an official journal, so the results aren’t necessarily conclusive – so don’t go thinking that glass of ginger ale will treat an asthma attack. Still, the researchers hope that future studies “will enable them to gain a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms that facilitate ASM relaxation, and to determine whether aerosol delivery of these purified constituents of ginger may have therapeutic benefit in asthma and other bronchoconstrictive diseases.” Nature to the rescue, yet again!