Ginger is a wonderful, pungent healing food that could come to the rescue this allergy season. This herbal remedy could help the almost 40% of asthma sufferers who use alternative treatments to manage their condition.
Ginger triggers a unique process inside the airways. Its active ingredients behave like bronchodilators—meaning they help the airways dilate and open. During asthma attacks, the airways constrict, triggering an alarming shortness of breath. The body becomes starved for oxygen as the airways narrow to the point where air can barely pass through.
That’s why an herbal remedy like ginger can work wonders this allergy season. Researchers have found that ginger causes airway muscles to relax, making it easier for air to pass through. The researchers tested the specific substances in ginger—gingerol and shogaol—that exert a calming technique.
They found that certain types of the gingerols and shogaol found in ginger induced a quick relaxation response in airway smooth muscle that was already contracted (as it would be during an asthma attack). These special chemicals that are unique to ginger help stop the airways from going into hyper-responsiveness mode. In effect, they exert a calming force, helping the airways to return to normal functioning, helping you deal with asthma attacks during allergy season.
The mechanism through which all of this takes place is the alteration of calcium regulation. Calcium triggers muscle contraction by reacting with a substance called myosin. When myosin becomes inactive, muscle cells relax. The gingerols and shogaols get in the middle of this process and encourage smooth muscle to return to its relaxed state.
The researchers envision a day in the near future when the gingerols and shogaols found in ginger could be purified and used as a therapy to treat airway diseases like asthma. These purified extracts could be used alone or in combination with standard asthma medications like corticosteroids. The hope is that this herbal remedy will make conventional medicines more effective, too.
Don’t forget to pick up some fresh gingerroot the next time you’re at the grocery store. This is an herb that could help keep oxygen flowing freely into your lungs all the way through allergy season this spring. You can always have a cup of ginger tea too. It’s a quick and easy way to get some ginger into your diet.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Townsend, E.A., et al., “Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation,” Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. February 2013; 48(2): 157-63.