Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ginger – Medicinal Uses for its Peppery Zing

Ginger has long been known to help with nausea, from motion sickness to pregnancy.  A recent study from the University of Rochester showed that ginger capsules significantly reduced nausea severity due to chemotherapy, and that anticipatory nausea was a key factor in the severity of the problem for patients. 

Working with mice, researchers in Taiwan found that an extract of ginger blocked the toxin responsible for diarrhea caused by toxic strains of E. coli, which causes millions of cases of diarrhea worldwide each year, and many infant deaths in poor countries.
If confirmed by further studies, the findings could lead to an inexpensive, easy-to-obtain alternative to drug therapy for the condition, the researchers say. Additional studies are needed to determine the effective doses of ginger needed and whether it is safe for infants, who may experience unexpected side effects from large doses.

 Researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of ginger may have properties that help asthma patients breathe more easily. Asthma is characterized by bronchoconstriction, a tightening of the bronchial tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs. Bronchodilating medications (beta-agonists) work by relaxing the airway’s smooth muscle tissues. This study looked at whether specific components of ginger could help enhance the relaxing effects of bronchodilators. They found that ginger constituents 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol and 6-shogaol act synergistically with the β-agonist in relaxing the airway’s smooth muscles. The researchers at Columbia plan future studies to get a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved and to determine whether aerosol delivery of purified constituents of ginger may have therapeutic benefit in asthma and other bronchoconstrictive diseases.

For centuries, ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments such as colds and upset stomachs. But now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found that daily ginger consumption also reduces muscle pain caused by exercise. Researchers directed two studies examining the effects of 11 days of raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on muscle pain. Participants in the studies, 34 and 40 volunteers, respectively, consumed capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger or a placebo for 11 consecutive days. On the eighth day they performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexors with a heavy weight to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. Arm function, inflammation, pain and a biochemical involved in pain were assessed prior to and for three days after exercise. The studies showed that daily ginger use reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 percent, and this effect was not enhanced by heat-treating the ginger.

News from Women on Web
Since abortion is totally illegal in Poland, Women on Web people in Germany are sending medical abortion pills across the border by drone.  Apparently the senders and receivers are in visual contact.  In Brazil, and other Latin American countries where abortion is illegal and/or inaccessible, Women on Web is making medical abortion pills available – by mail – at greatly reduced rates or free if necessary.  Many pregnant women are terrified by the problem of microcephaly due to the zika virus.  Medical abortions must be done in the first 9 weeks.  You can support the work of Women on Web or Women on Waves if you are so inclined.  They give accurate information and have saved many women from dangerous, do-it-yourself abortion attempts.
Sadja Greenwood, MD, MPH

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