Ginger exerts several effects in the gastrointestinal tract. It stimulates the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions (Platel & Srinivasan 1996, 2001, Yamahara et al 1985) and has been shown to increase gastrointestinal motility without affecting gastric emptying in several animal models and human studies (Gupta & Sharma 2001, Micklefield et al 1999, Phillips et al 1993). Ginger has also been observed to have prokinetic activity in mice in vivo and antispasmodic activity in vitro (Ghayur & Gilani 2005) These findings appear to support the traditional use of ginger in the treatment of gastrointestinal discomfort, colic, diarrhoea and bloating and its use as a carminative agent.
Anti-ulcer activity A number of in vivo studies have identified antiulcer activity for ginger extract and several of its isolated constituents. The orally administered acetone extract of ginger at a dose of 1000 mg/kg and zingiberene, the main terpenoid in this extract, at 100 mg/kg significantly inhibited gastric lesions by 97.5% and 53.6%, respectively. Additionally, the pungent principle, 6-gingerol at 100 mg/kg, significantly inhibited gastric lesions by 54.5%. These results suggest that both zingiberene and 6-gingerol are important constituents responsible for ginger's anti-ulcer activity (Yamahara et al 1988). Other constituents demonstrating antiulcer properties in gastric ulcer models in rats include beta-sesquiphellandrene, beta-bisabolene, ar-curcumene and shogaol (Sertie et al 1992, Yoshikawa et al 1994).
In addition to direct anti-ulcer activity, ginger exerts synergistic effects with the antibiotic clarithromycin in inhibiting different Helicobacter pylori isolates independent of the organisms' susceptibility to clarithromycin (Nostra et al 2006).
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