Ginger – Proven to be More than Just a Delicious Spice

Ginger – Proven to be More than Just a Delicious Spice

Ginger is a flowering plant originating in south-east Asia. The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger have made it a popular supplement and cooking ingredient for those with inflammatory conditions. A recently published study in JCI insight, led by Michigan Medicine, has found that the main bioactive compound in ginger root, 6-gingerol, has therapeutic mechanisms and counters the mechanism which drives certain autoimmune diseases in mice. Neutrophils are important immune cells that form sticky spider web like structures in our blood vessels. These structures, called NETs, form in response to an infection or if our immune system mistakenly identifies our own antibodies as foreign.

The authors of this study believe that NETs play a role in the development of autoimmune conditions like lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome by triggering autoantibody formation and contributing to clotting in blood vessels leading to damage and inflammation. The team wanted to address whether 6-gingerol and its anti-inflammatory properties could prevent neutrophils from making NETs and therefore slow autoimmune disease progression.

Mice given 6-ginerol had a greatly reduced tendency to form clots. Irrelevant of which disease had been induced in the mice, all had reduced autoantibodies. The link between inflammation and the autoantibody stimulating NETs had likely been broken.

Treatment using 6-ginerol is unlikely to become a primary treatment for autoimmune conditions. However, it is possible that it could offer a good degree of protection for those with a high risk of developing these conditions or those with autoantibodies that have not yet progressed to an active disease state. So, if you have an elevated risk of developing an autoimmune condition it may be helpful to add this tasty spice to more of your meals!

In light of these findings, we thought it only fitting to include ginger in all of this month’s recipes. Try them at home for added flavor and anti-inflammatory kick!

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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