A team of scientists from the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center has created nanoparticles out of fresh edible ginger, known as ginger-derived nanoparticles (GDNP’s), which could be used to treat a variety of inflammatory bowel diseases.
The study was led by Dr. Didier Merlin of the Veteran Affairs and Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University in order to find out how effective ginger root was in treating ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Researchers first used a commercial kitchen blender to break up the fresh farmer’s market ginger root, and then a super-high speed centrifuging and ultrasonic dispersion unit was used to break the ginger down into individual pellets. These pellets measured only 230 nanoparticles in diameter and were approximately the width of one strand of human hair. Doctors cautioned anyone against trying this at home.
The ginger-based nanoparticles (GDNPs) were then fed to laboratory mice in order to study the effect of the ginger on the intestine.
Why was ginger used?
Dr. Merlin and his associates theorized that ginger could be an excellent solution for treating inflammatory bowel diseases, citing that it could even be used to combat colitis-related cancer.
Being naturally non-toxic and offering significant therapeutic effects, ginger was intuitively the best remedy for these diseases. Laboratory mice were periodically given the nanoparticles and studied for their intestinal response.
The results of the study will be printed in the September 2016 issue of the Biomaterials journal, which will reveal the discovery of ginger’s potent power against combatting a variety of inflammatory bowel diseases.
In the study, it was found that ginger was absorbed easily by the cells in the lining of the small and large intestine, which helped to reduce inflammation in the places where irritable bowel disease (IBD), acute colitis, and cancerous colitis occur most often. The GDNP’s also significantly enhanced the repair of the intestines, helping to reduce the proliferation associated with intestinal disorders.
Interestingly, it was found that the ginger pellets also reduced the rate of production of the proteins that caused intestinal inflammation while simultaneously increasing the number of proteins that helped to reduce it.
The team said that these GDNP’s could become the most cost-effective and efficient treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases. The potency of the nanoparticles proved to be more effective than simply recommending fresh ginger as a food supplement.
Researchers say that part of the therapeutic effect of ginger comes from the high level of fatty acids in the nanoparticles, which is a result of the naturally occurring lipids in edible ginger root. Phosphatidic acid, one of the lipids, serves as a vital building block for cell membranes, which helped with repairing intestinal tissues.
Previous studies also showed that compounds such as 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, which occur naturally in ginger, were effective in reducing oxidation, inflammation, and the growth of cancer cells.
Ginger has been used to treat nausea and general digestive disorders for centuries, with traditional cultures relying on chews, syrups, and herbal supplements to heal a variety of disorders naturally.