The University of Virginia research determined that the prostate cancer cells will only eat a chemical called 5-HETE."
GINGER ROOT HERB WITH HEART
Ginger'sbenefitto the circulatory system was one of those serendipitousresearch discoveries. In 1980, a medical researcher at Cornell Medical School was conducting tests on his own platelets, a component in bloodthat plays a major role in dotting. The researcher observed that hisblood acted as if he had been taking a daily dose of aspirin, apreventive measure that reduces the tendency of platelets to stick together and cause blood clots. However, he wasn't in the habit oftaking aspirin; after a bit of detective work, he concluded that aginger-rich marmalade he had eaten the night before was the key. Heproceeded to isolate ginger's constituents and was able to confirmtheir "anti-stick" action on blood platelets from three otherresearchers. He concluded that ginger possesses a structure andbiochemical action similar to aspirin and published his findings in theNew England Journal of Medicine. Since the Cornell research, at least20 studies have elaborated on in ginger's potential benefit to thecirculatory system. Research from Japan has focused on ginger'sprofound antioxidant properties. One study found ginger to be one ofnature's most potent sources of antioxidants, containing at least 12constituents that are each more powerful than vitamin E, which has beenshown to prevent heart disease. One major constituent of ginger surpassed vitamin E's antioxidant potential by 40 times.
But most of the circulatory-system research on ginger has centered noton antioxidants, but on compounds called eicosanoids (pronouncedeye-ko'-si-noids). The body obtains eicosanoids from dietary fat andbreaks them down into various compounds, including different types 6fprostaglandins, some of which can increase platelet stickiness andcause inflammation. Proper balance of prostaglandins is now widelyrecognized as being a key not only to healthy circulation, but also tochecking the inflammatory processes common to migraine headaches andautoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. A combination oftest-tube studies and human studies in India, Japan and Denmark havedemonstrated that at least five elements in ginger can beneficiallyaffect the eicosanoids responsible for blood stickiness and chronicinflammatory conditions.
HOW AN HERBALIST SPELLS RELIEF
One of thetenets of holistic medicine is that good digestion is key to betterhealth. Natural-healing texts dating as far back as ancient China andIndia have applauded ginger as the herb of choice for healthydigestion, and modem science offers every justification for suchacclaim. Included under ginger's expansive umbrella as a digestivetonic are its abilities to enhance fat and protein digestion, andincrease the growth of beneficial intestinal flora.
At leastfour studies from China and Japan have demonstrated that gingerregulates peristalsis, the wave-like movement of muscles in thedigestive tract that pushes food and waste through the digestivesystem. This effect enables ginger to ease both diarrhea andconstipation, whether these are the result of illness or eating habits.This may also be why ginger is so effective at easing gas pains; thoughthere have been no specific studies on ginger's anti-gas effect,centuries of empirical evidence dearly back its use. Research showsthat ginger also enhances the metabolism of both fat and protein,helping the body make better use of these macronutrients. Scientists atthe University of Minnesota compared an enzyme in ginger calledzingibain with papain, a papaya enzyme well-known for its ability todigest protein, and found that their actions were comparable.Amazingly, though, it would take 180 pounds of papaya to equal theeffect of just one pound of ginger.
Ginger alsohelps us produce more of the friendly bacteria that inhabit ourintestines. These bacteria supply several B vitamins, folic acid andvitamin K, as well as keep in check potentially harmful bacteria thatalso inhabits the gut, such as E. coli and candida. A Norwegian studyfound that ginger multiplied the growth of one lactobacillus species (afriendly variety) by almost five times. Ginger may also be used as aremedy for food poisoning, because while the herb encourages friendlyflora, it also has been found to destroy five potentially virulentstrains of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF
when someonementions ginger? Most people probably associate it with gingerbread, awarming tea or Asian cooking. This spicy herb, however, is much morethan a flavorful addition to food; it's a treasure chest of healingpower. I think of it as a superherb, a title I don't bestow lightly.Ginger deserves this accolade because it is a plant that has beenproven to be safe and effective through the experience of millions ofpeople and scores of clinical studies; it alleviates dozens of specificailments; and it generally supports overall vitality and well-being.
NormanFarnsworth, Ph.D., senior university scholar of pharmacognosy anddirector of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre forTraditional Medicine at the University of Illinois-Chicago College ofPharmacy, calls ginger "one of the three most thoroughly investigatedplants in the history of the world.I empathize with the skeptic everytime I begin to list the benefits of ginger, but scientific researchbacks its use as an extraordinary, digestive tonic, ananti-inflammatory agent and a shield against ulcers, colds and flu, andheart disease. Here's a look at these healing properties.