Below are examples of some scientific studies on ginger and its current or potential uses in medical treatment.
Inflammation of the colon
A study carried out at the University of Michigan Medical School found that Ginger Root Supplement administered to volunteer participants reduced inflammation markers in the colon within a month.
The study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
Experts say that inflammation of the colon is a precursor to colon cancer. Co-researcher Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H., explained that by reducing inflammation in the colon a person reduces their risk of developing colon cancer.
Zick said “We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research. Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way.”
Muscle pain caused by exercise
A study involving 74 volunteers carried out at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%.
Patrick O’Connor, a professor in the College of Education’s department of kinesiology, and colleagues carried out two studies on the effects of 11 days of raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on exercise-induced muscle pain.
The volunteers consumed the ginger supplements for 11 consecutive days. On the 8th day they performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexors with a heavy weight. The aim was to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. Each participant’s arm function, inflammation, and pain levels were assessed before exercise and three days afterwards.
The researchers noted that the pain-reducing effect was not enhanced by heat-treating the ginger.
The study was published in The Journal of Pain.
Nausea caused by chemotherapy
Ginger supplements administered alongside anti-vomiting medications can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea symptoms by 40%, a PhaseII/III study carried out at the University of Rochester Medical Center found.
Lead researcher, Dr Julie Ryan, presented the study findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in 2009.
Dr. Ryan explained that about 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy experience nausea and vomiting. The vomiting is usually easy to control with effective medications. However, the nausea tends to linger.
Dr. Ryan said “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties.”
A study found that exposing ovarian cancer cells to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test.
The cancer cells either died as a result of apoptosis (they committed suicide) or autophagy (they digested/attacked themselves).
The researchers, from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center added that the ginger solution also prevented the cancer cells from building up resistance to cancer treatment.
The study findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Washington D.C., 2006.