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Is Ginger Root helpful for Colitis?

Is Ginger Root Helpful for Colitis?

| By Joanne Marie
Is Ginger Root Helpful for Colitis?
Fresh ginger root and a cup of ginger tea. Photo Creditmatka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images

Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon. The disease is most common in people aged 50 to 70 and tends to run in families, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Ginger root is a traditional herbal remedy that may help relieve the symptoms of colitis and lessen the frequency of flare-ups. Talk to your doctor to decide if ginger might be helpful for your situation.

Causes and Symptoms

Although the exact cause of colitis is still unknown, it may be an autoimmune disorder caused by an abnormal immune reaction to bacteria or other components of food. The symptoms of colitis vary in severity, but most people experience abdominal pain and diarrhea during an acute episode. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, rectal bleeding, skin problems and joint pain. Some additional symptoms such as skin problems and joint pain may occur due to inflammation outside of the gastrointestinal tract.

Ginger Root

Ginger root is actually the underground rhizome of the Zingiber officinale plant. It has been used in herbal medicine in Asia, India and the Arabian peninsula for thousands of years. Its traditional uses include treatment of stomach distress, diarrhea, heart conditions and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. The biologically active compounds in ginger root include several volatile oils and phenolic chemicals called gingerols and shogaols. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory herb that may be beneficial in relieving symptoms of colitis.

Actions and Evidence

Ginger promotes bile production by the liver, aiding digestion of fats. It also promotes emptying of the stomach and improves contractions of muscle in the intestinal wall. The anti-inflammatory action of ginger may also lessen or slow the inflammation thought to cause colitis. In a study published in the “Journal of Ehtnopharmacology” in 2008, when laboratory animals with ulcerative colitis were fed either ginger extract, a prescription anti-inflammatory drug or a placebo, ginger was as effective as the drug in suppressing the disorder. These are promising preliminary findings, although clinical trials with ginger and human subjects are still needed.

Recommendations and Precautions

Ginger root is available from health food stores as fresh root, an extract or tincture, or in capsules. The maximum recommended daily dose of ginger is 4 g daily. While ginger is generally considered a safe herb, it may cause mild heartburn or mouth irritation in some people. Do not take ginger if you have gallstones or a bleeding disorder, or if you take blood-thinning medications. Discuss ginger root with your doctor before adding it to your regular routine

Ulcerative Colitis may be treatable with Vinegar

Original article on Medical News Today


Vinegar – the centuries-old culinary ingredient and traditional remedy – could help fight ulcerative colitis, say researchers, after testing its effects on mice with the disease.
A person with cramps holding their abdomen
A mouse study suggests vinegar – or its main ingredient acetic acid – may alleviate ulcerative colitis, a condition that causes ulcers, abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Millions of people around the world have ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where there is chronic or recurring immune response and inflammation of the colon or large intestine.

The condition – which causes ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms – is similar to another IBD called Crohn’s disease, except Crohn’s affects the whole digestive tract.

Although the causes of ulcerative colitis are not well understood, research suggests gut bacteria may play an important role.

Now, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and led by Jilin University in Changchun, China, describes how vinegar appears to suppress inflammatory proteins while also increasing beneficial bacteria in the guts of mice.

The researchers carried out their investigation after learning of a previous study that had suggested vinegar – used in traditional medicine – might be a remedy for ulcerative colitis.

For their study, the researchers gave vinegar and its main ingredient acetic acid to mice chemically induced to develop symptoms of ulcerative colitis. They administered the substances by putting small amounts in the animals’ drinking water.

The results showed that either substance significantly reduced symptoms of ulcerative colitis in the mice.

Vinegar suppressed inflammation triggers, improved friendly bacteria

The researchers found that vinegar reduced inflammation in the colon by suppressing proteins and molecular processes that trigger inflammation.

Fast facts about ulcerative colitis

  • Ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in males
  • Lack of standard criteria for diagnosis means we do not know precisely how many people have ulcerative colitis
  • Some believe urbanization could be a contributing factor to the disease.

Learn more about ulcerative colitis

The authors note that “vinegar inhibited inflammation through suppressing Th1 and Th17 responses, the NLRP3 inflammasome, and MAPK signaling activation.”

Also, from an examination of the animals’ stools, the researchers found that mice treated with vinegar for a month before chemically inducing colitis had higher levels of friendly bacteria in their gut, such asLactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

The authors note that other studies have shown these strains of bacteria are beneficial to mice with symptoms of colitis.

The researchers also found that vinegar appears to reduce a type of cell death that is triggered by stressful conditions.

They say only further studies will be able to establish if their findings are true of humans.

Meanwhile, Medical News Today learned of another study from Rockefeller University in New York, NY, that shows how neurons and macrophages in the gut work together to help prevent damage from inflammation.