Ginger possesses the capability to aid in managing specific autoimmune diseases by inhibiting white blood cell activity responsible for inflammation, as indicated by a small-scale study.
While ginger has been traditionally known for its therapeutic properties, research involving individuals with autoimmune conditions has been limited, leaving the exact mechanisms behind its anti-inflammatory effects unexplained, according to Kristen Demoruelle, MD, PhD, a senior study author and associate professor of rheumatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.
Dr. Demoruelle explains, "Supplements often don't receive sufficient recognition for their potential health benefits due to a lack of rigorous studies investigating their mechanisms of action in people." She further emphasizes, "What sets our study apart is that we illustrate a specific pathway through which ginger exerts its anti-inflammatory effect, particularly in individuals. This provides stronger support for the utilization of ginger supplements in people to reduce inflammation."
How Did Researchers Evaluate the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger?
Ginger exhibits the potential to assist in the management of specific autoimmune diseases by inhibiting the activity of white blood cells responsible for inflammation, as revealed by a small-scale study.
Although ginger has long been acknowledged for its therapeutic properties, research on individuals with autoimmune conditions has been limited, leaving the precise mechanisms behind its anti-inflammatory effects unexplained. This lack of clarity is articulated by Kristen Demoruelle, MD, PhD, a senior study author and associate professor of rheumatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.
Dr. Demoruelle clarifies, "Supplements often fail to receive adequate recognition for their potential health benefits due to the insufficient number of rigorous studies investigating their mechanisms of action in people." She further emphasizes, "What distinguishes our study is that we elucidate a specific pathway through which ginger exerts its anti-inflammatory effect, particularly in individuals. This offers stronger support for the utilization of ginger supplements in people to reduce inflammation."
Demoruelle states, "Excessive NET formation is implicated in the inflammation associated with various diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus, and even COVID-19. Consequently, our findings can help identify precisely which individuals may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger."
Don’t Load Up on Ginger Supplements Just Yet
The study's small sample size and preliminary nature limit its ability to draw definitive conclusions regarding the safety and effectiveness of prescribing ginger supplements for treating autoimmune diseases. Moreover, it is important to note that not all autoimmune diseases may benefit from ginger supplementation, according to Lawrence Taw, MD, a clinical professor and director of the Center for East-West Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles.
Dr. Taw, who was not involved in the study, emphasizes that inflammation varies across different conditions. Ginger may not provide beneficial effects and might even exacerbate certain types of inflammation, such as psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and dermatitis.
Furthermore, caution must be exercised when considering ginger supplements due to the potential risks of increased bleeding and interactions with medications, including blood thinners, warns Dr. Taw.
Dr. Taw advises individuals who are considering ginger supplements for managing their medical conditions to consult with their doctor first.
Consuming More Ginger in Foods Is Worth a Try
The most advisable approach for individuals with an autoimmune disease to incorporate ginger into their dietary regimen is to observe its effects on inflammation, according to Taw.
Cooking with ginger is likely safe and poses no significant risks, as indicated by Samantha Heller, RD, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
"Ginger has been utilized both medicinally and in culinary practices for countless centuries," states Heller, who was not involved in the recent study. "Ginger is renowned for its remarkable properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antinausea effects. Integrating ginger into dishes, whether in its fresh, preserved, crystalized, pickled, dried, or ground forms, might offer several health benefits and enhance the overall flavor profile."