Ginger is an amazing healer. It is used around the world to treat indigestion, motion sickness and arthritis pain. One of the primary constituents is gingerol which is a flavonol. Flavonols are a subclass of flavonoid that is primarily from fruits and vegetables. They are high in anti-oxidants and many are noted for their strong antibiotic qualities.
Gingerol is just one of volatile oils under the gingerol heading. There are many types of gingerol in ginger ([6ngerol, [8ngerol and [1ngerol). The best studied gingerol is [6ngerol. This is the one I am referring to in this post.
Gingerol is most prevalent in fresh ginger. Once ginger is dried or cooked, this constituent changes a bit into shogaol or zingerone. This is a slightly more spicy version of gingerol. To be clear, not all gingerol changes when it is dried or cooked and processing increases the amount of shogaol in ginger. Fresh ginger does not have any zingerone.
Gingerol has been the subject of many studies. It is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits 2 of the primary enzymes that cause inflammation in conditions like arthritis and psoriasis. These 2 enzymes, cyclooxygenase (COX) and 5-lipoxygenase (LOX), are usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin. NSAIDS are notorious for also causing stomach upset. Gingerol blocks the COX and LOX enzymes whilst easing digestion.
Gingerol has a long list of effects on the human body which includes antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antimutagenic properties. Most studies have noted the effect of both shogaol and gingerol have together but a 2009 study showed that gingerol reduced tumor growth in the third most common cancer: colorectal cancer.
Shogaol has many of the same properties that gingerol possesses. It reduces blood pressure and nausea. It has a specific role in increasing memory and improving cognitive ability. A study published in 2014 showed promise for treating those suffering from dementia.
Zingerone has its own special biological effects. It releases catecholmines which break down fat cells in the body. Catecholmines are produced by our nervous system from the amino acid l-tyrosine. The body needs copper which is also in ginger in order to finish the complex process of making catecholmines.
For More Information on Ginger
For more information on ginger, purchase a copy of Ginger: Warming Spice for Health and Life (The Practical Herbalist’s Herbal Folio Book 6). This Herbal Folio contains expanded information, including:
- Gardening and Gathering
- Animal Husbandry
- Household Formulas
- History, Folklore, Myth, and Magic
- A Printable Quick Facts Card
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