With an estimated 60%-70% of people living with asthma resorting to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage asthma symptoms, ginger is fast emerging as the herbal remedy for treating asthma symptoms. But is ginger more hype than cure?
Ginger retains a prominent place in traditional medicine. As a medicinal herb, ginger has been used for treating a bevy of conditions since 5,000 years ago.
Such conditions cut across the likes of hypertension, colds, arthritis, and even asthma. But what has research shown us so far regarding the effect of ginger on asthma?
Examining the science of ginger on asthma
Studies exploring the effect of ginger on isolated human airway cells reveal that ginger works when combined with current bronchodilators’ asthmatics medications (for those with breathing difficulty).
While scientists are still probing the specific mechanism behind the therapeutic effect of ginger on asthma allergies, findings so far are pointing at ginger’s antioxidant (and anti-inflammatory) capabilities being responsible for the good works.
Ginger has significant bioactive content. Two of these are the bioactive compounds shogoal and ginerols. Both compounds are renowned for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, in relation to anti-allergic properties.
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Ginger shows remarkable broncho relaxation capacities, as proven in both animal and human models. Research carried out using guinea pigs and humans as test subjects showed that isolated compounds in ginger relax airway smooth muscle within half an hour.
This is fascinating considering the tendency of the airway smooth muscle to become inflamed when exposed to asthma triggers, provoking severe asthma episodes.