Healing IBD With Common Kitchen Ingredient, Ginger

Ginger ale has long been considered a non-medicinal option for soothing upset stomachs. Didier Merlin, MD, and colleagues from the Atlanta VA medical Center and Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, have taken this concept a step further, exploring the use of edible ginger-derived nanoparticles (GDNPs) to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

Ginger ale has long been considered a non-medicinal option for soothing upset stomachs. Didier Merlin, MD, and colleagues from the Atlanta VA medical Center and Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, have taken this concept a step further, exploring the use of edible ginger-derived nanoparticles (GDNPs) to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

After conducting experiments with cells and mice, Didier believed the nanoparticles (approximately 230 nanometers in diameter) would be a favorable medicine for Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), and potentially even fight cancer associated with colitis.

Merlin and team visited local farmers markets to acquire fresh ginger root that they later turned into GDNPS at the lab. They started with basic kitchen blenders, but the process eventually involved high-speed centrifuging and ultrasonic dispersion of the ginger juice that was broken into single pellets.

According to the findings published in Biomaterials, the particles were seemingly nontoxic and beneficial:

· They were absorbed in the intestinal lining specially where IBD inflammation occurs, thereby efficiently targeting the colon.

· They reduced acute colitis and prevented chronic colitis and colitis-associated cancer.

· They enhanced intestinal repair by boosting cell survival and also lowered protein production that promotes inflammation.

The team also discovered the therapeutic effect largely was attributed to the high levels of lipids within the particles — a result of the natural lipids from the ginger plant.

Furthermore, the particles retained two active natural constituents, 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, which research has shown to help against oxidation, inflammation, and cancer — otherwise known as the key ingredients that make ginger effectively treat nausea and other digestive problems. But Merlin found administering the compounds in a nanoparticle would more effectively target the colon than providing the herb as a food or supplement.

This research could hold real promise, since this method could help deliver low doses of drugs, enabling a more targeted therapy.