~ Ginger Inhibits Inflammatory Activity

Although mainly familiar to Westerners as a pungent cooking ingredient, ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) has long been used in the Far East to treat ailments such as nausea, headache, and knee pain resulting from osteoarthritis.

Last winter, scientists in Texas examined ginger root extract's effects on cartilage cells that had been removed from osteoarthritic pigs and grown in the laboratory. Arthritis occurs when cartilage degrades and becomes inflamed in the knee or other joints. The researchers concluded that ginger extract inhibited the production of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2, both of which are implicated in the inflammatory cascade that accompanies arthritis.1

Japanese scientists recently isolated a component of one species of ginger that exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory properties in human cells. Known as Zerumbone, the chemical also markedly suppressed the growth of, and induced apoptosis in, leukemia and colon cancer cells in the laboratory.2

A number of studies have indicated that ginger offers significant anti-inflammatory activity.3-6 Still others have shown that ginger relieves inflammation by inhibiting inflammation mediators such as prostaglandin E2 and thromboxane B2. Ginger is exceptionally well tolerated and has an excellent safety record.


1. Shen CL, Hong KJ, Kim SW. Effects of gin- ger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) on decreasing the production of inflammatory mediators in sow osteoarthrotic cartilage explants. J Med Food. 2003;6(4):323-8.

2. Murakami A, Takahashi D, Kinoshita T, et al. Zerumbone, a Southeast Asian ginger sesquiterpene, markedly suppresses free radical generation, proinflammatory protein production, and cancer cell proliferation accompanied by apoptosis: the alpha, beta- unsaturated carbonyl group is a prerequisite. Carcinogenisis. 2002 May;23(5):795-802.

3. Wigler I, Grotto I, Caspi D, Yaron M. The effects of Zintona EC (a ginger extract) on symptomatic gonarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Nov;11(11):783-9.

4. Bliddal H, Rosetzsky A, Schlichting P, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of ginger extracts and ibuprofen in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2000 Jan;8(1):9-12.

5. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of ginger on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8.

6. Thomson M, Al-Qattan KK, Al-Sawan SM, Alnaqueeb MA, Khan I, Ali M. The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Dec;67(6):475-8.
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