Pharmacology of Ginger

Nonclinical studies suggest that ginger may be useful for controlling lipid levels, bodyweight, hyperglycemia, and insulin sensitivity and treating diabetes

Effect on Lipid and Glucose Concentrations in Blood

dreamstime xxl 21005489 sm2Research on rats suggests that ginger may be useful for treating diabetes (Al-Amin et al., 2006 and Afshari et al., 2007). Ali et al., 2008 reports that treatment with a methanolic extract of dried rhizomes of ginger produced a significant reduction in fructose-induced elevation of lipid levels, bodyweight, hyperglycemia and hyper-insulinemia.  Treatment with an ethyl acetate extract of ginger did not produce any significant change in either of the last two parameters. However, it produced a significant reduction in elevated lipid levels and body weight.  The concentration of 6-gingerol was found to be higher in the methanol extract and less in the ethyl acetate extract.

The results suggest that the ginger methanolic extract produces greater effects in comparison with the ethyl acetate extract in fructose-induced hyper-lipidemia associated with insulin resistance. The extent of activity appears to be dependent on the concentration of 6-gingerol present in the extracts (Kadnur and Goyal, 2005).  The same authors (Goyal and Kadnur, 2006) administered methanol and ethyl acetate extracts of ginger for 8 weeks to mice and found that the treatment reduced gold thioglucose-induced obesity in the treated mice, and further reduced the elevated glucose and insulin levels. It was suggested that ginger had significantly improved insulin sensitivity in these animals.  

Al-Amin et al. (2006) studied the hypoglycemic potentials of ginger in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats given an aqueous extract of raw ginger daily (500 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) for a period of 7 weeks.  Blood serum from fasting animals was analyzed for glucose, cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels.  The STZ-injected rats exhibited hyperglycemia accompanied by weight loss.  At a dose of 500 mg/Kg, raw ginger was significantly effective in lowering serum glucose, cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels in the ginger-treated diabetic rats compared with the control diabetic rats.  The ginger treatment also resulted in a significant reduction in urine protein levels. In addition, the ginger-treated diabetic rats sustained their initial weights during the treatment period.  Moreover, ginger decreased both water intake and urine output in the STZ-induced diabetic rats.

References:

  • Afshari A, Shirpoor A, Farshid A, Saadatian R, Rasmi Y, Saboory E, Ilkhanizadeh B and Allameh A. (2007). The effect of ginger on diabetic nephropathy, plasma antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation in rats. Food Chemistry. 101(1): 148-153.
  • Al-Amin Z, Thomson M, Al-Qattan K, Peltonen-Shalaby R and Ali M. (2006). Anti-diabetic and hypolipidaemic properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. British Journal of Nutrition. 96(4): 660-6.
  • Ali B, Blunden G, Tanira M and Nemmar A. (2008). Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe): A review of recent research. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 46(2): 409-420.
  • Goyal R and Kadnur S. (2006). Beneficial effects of Zingiber officinale on gold thioglucose induced obesity. Fitoterapia. 77, 160–163.
  • Kadnur S and Goyal R. (2005). Beneficial effects of Zingiber officinale Roscoe on fructose induced hyperlipidemia and hyperinsulinemia in rats. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 43, 1161–1164.