Ginger and Its Constituents: Natural Aspirin and More

A new line of Terpenes

Ginger has been effectively used in Traditional Medicine. Research supports and substantiates its results. New findings are unveiling a wide range of clinical applications for phytochemicals found in plant-roots. More research can unveil many new benefits.

Specifically, ginger (Zingiber officinale) contains a mixture of Volatile Oil that consist mainly of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Gingerols

Gingerol is responsible for the pungent fresh aroma of ginger root.

Found in fresh ginger and activates spice receptors on the tongue.

Shogaols

The product of a dehydration reaction gingerol undergoes forming shogaols.

Zingerone 

Less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.

The main sesquiterpene component of fragrant essential oil

Detectable amounts of bisabolene β-sesquiphellandrene, farnesene, β-phellandrene, cineol, and citral are also present in the terpene profile.

Cardiovascular

Serotonin is transported by platelets and released upon activation. This induces constriction of blood vessels and enhances platelet aggregation. 

Studies have demonstrated that gingerols inhibit COX-1 receptors, preventing serotonin release,subsequent platelet aggregation and clot formation. 

In addition,gingerol increases inotropic effect accompanied with vasodilation by acting on the beta receptors located on the cell walls in the heart and arteries. 

Though gingerol is a COX-1 inhibitor like aspirin, it does not cause gastric mucosal damage and bleeding. Ginger can prevent clot formation without risk gastric bleeding, acting like a natural aspirin. 

Pre-treatment with ginger followed by co-administration of warfarin did not affect warfarin pharmacokinetics. 

Digestion

Gingerol and shogaol class of compounds interact with several pathways directly responsible for nausea, vomiting and digestion. Ginger is a natural potent antiemetic (prevents nausea). These terpenes enhance gastric emptying and the associated effect for extended release formulations are still being studied.

Anti-inflammatory

Active Constituents of ginger have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. 

Ginger extract directly suppresses chemokine (signaling proteins) production from synoviocytes, chondrocytes, and leukocytes.

Gingerol actively inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines on the Lipopolysaccharide outer membrane of gram negative bacteria stimulated macrophages.

These terpenes treat inflammation without interfering with the antigen presenting function of macrophages.

Anti-infection

Ginger directly suppresses chemokine and partially controls immune response. These terpenes may affect the minimal inhibitory concentration and exhibit synergy with antibiotics, since it was shown that treatment with gingerols increased bacterial Membrane Permeability and facilitated aminoglycoside entry allowing for a more effective antibiotic treatment. 

Anti-tumor 

Ginger terpenes exhibit anticancer activity against several types of cancers through cell rupture and apoptosis. Ginger is not a cure for cancer but understanding the mechanisms and pathways of function can bring researchers closer to treatment.

Terpene mediated Delivery

Gingerol is one of the many terpenes that can be used for more effective drug-delivery and bioavailability. Nonpolar terpenes such as Limonene provide better enhancement for lipophilic drugs than do polar terpenes. Conversely, terpenes containing polar groups such as menthol and 1,8-cineole provide better enhancement for hydrophilic drugs. 

Metabolism 

It is important to note that all the aforementioned effects noted are first-pass metabolism whereby the terpene concentrations are administered orally, pass the liver and get greatly altered prior to reaching the systemic circulation. Vaporization of terpenes is becoming increasingly popular globally.

Vaporization

A common delivery method is vaporization. This method allows accurate and direct dosing as regulated amounts of terpenes directly enter circulation prior to arriving at the liver, increasing bioavailability. There is not much literature regarding second-pass gingerol metabolism. Furthermore, how these particular terpenes interact with Cannabinoids need to be observed. 

Cannabis 

While some terpenes found in ginger are found in cannabis, gingerol is not found in cannabis. Gingerol class terpenes have synergistic effects in combination with cannabinoids. We do not know how these particular terpenes interact with cannabinoids as part of the Entourage Effect.

Chemical Properties

Formula: C17H26O4

Molar mass: 294.38 g/mol

Density: 1100 kg/m³

Boiling point: 353°C

Chemical Structure 

Gingerol

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