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Ginger may help enhance memory
Ginger isn’t just a spice! In addition to ginger’s already-known health-boosting properties such as reducing motion sickness and nausea, having a soothing effect on the digestive tract and being a common remedy for colds, ginger can also help to support memory and cognitive function in middle-aged women.
Recent studies on how nature’s foods and natural medicines found in plants can help to improve memory and boost cognitive ability found herbs such as ginger to be a potentiating agent for cognitive functions.
Due to the increase in the middle-aged population, an abundance of research has focused on the development of cognitive enhancers from medicinal plants reputed for anti-oxidant and cognitive enhancing effects. According to Arabian folklore, ginger has been claimed to improve memory. Moreover, it has also been traditionally used as an ingredient for cognitive enhancement.
Researchers considered 60 healthy women who received either a placebo or a ginger standardised extract of 400 milligramme or 800 milligramme daily for two months. The women were between 50 and 60 of age and reside in Thailand.
The women’s cognitive function and memory at the beginning of the study and again after one and two months of supplementation was assessed.
In the study, published in 2012 issue of the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the subjects receiving the ginger supplement reported a significant improvement in cognitive functions and an enhanced working memory compared to the placebo group.
This was after they excluded other conditions that could produce the disturbance of cognitive function such as any history of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, neuropsychological disease, head injury, diabetes, cancer, alcohol addiction, and anyone who smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day.
Individuals taking prescribed, non-prescribed drugs, or nutraceutical compounds known to influence the function of the nervous system were excluded.
They found that daily ginger intake, especially at higher amount, led to improvements in four key brain functions: power of attention, accuracy of attention, speed of memory, and quality of memory.
The researchers concluded that, “ginger extract enhances both attention and cognitive processing capabilities of healthy, middle-aged women, with no side effects reported. Our data revealed that ginger extract is a potential brain tonic to enhance cognitive function for middle-aged women.”
Although more research is needed to fully comprehend the mechanism behind this effect, the researchers suggested that the cognitive enhancing effect of this plant extract on working memory observed in this study might be partly related to its antioxidant effect.
However, the researchers stated that the precise underlying mechanism and possible active ingredient responsible for the cognitive enhancing effect of ginger still require further investigation.
Although the side effect of ginger extract is rare, they hinted of the possibility of some minor adverse effects at higher doses such as gastro-intestinal disturbance, sleepiness, restlessness, sedation, and heartburn.
Moreover, the researchers stated that the use of ginger in enhancing memory and improve cognitive function should be performed with caution because of the possibility of the extract also possibly interacting with medications.
These medications include anaesthesia, anticoagulants, and analgesics leading to arrhythmias, poor wound healing, bleeding, photosensitivity reaction, and prolonged sedation.
The main active constituents found in ginger are gingerols and shogaols. Gingerols and shogaols are extracted from the rhizome of ginger and are known to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumour activities
A human’s ability to remember data, to reason, and understand things properly can start to worsen at age 45.
Identifying cognitive decline onset is crucial for effective medical interventions. The earlier cognitive deterioration can be spotted; the better medical treatments tend to be.
Robust evidence showing cognitive decline before the age of 60 has important ramifications because it demonstrates the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles, particularly cardiovascular health, as there is emerging evidence that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.
Nonetheless, hormonal changes and stress are two of the main factors influencing cognitive functions in middle-aged women. Cognitive difficulties include memory loss and mild cognitive impairment, two factors frequently related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
But oxidative stress plays a very important role on stress-induced cognitive impairment, something that apparently can be reduced by certain plants as ginger.
Meanwhile, ginger in Chinese medicine is used to treat a number of conditions, including congestion to cancer treatment and prevention. Individuals suffering from thyroid problems may find that the compounds in ginger, including zinc, magnesium and potassium, along with the root’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on thyroid function.
The Whole Foods Encyclopaedia indicated that ginger contains magnesium, which has been shown to be critical to controlling thyroid disease. Magnesium helps with muscle relaxation and prevents the development of an irregular heartbeat.
Ginger can be used in different ways. Peeled and diced fresh ginger root can be added to soups and dishes. The root can also be steeped in hot water or added to tea. Ginger in its powder form can be used in baked foodss and roasted foods such as Suya and Kunu drink.Share
written by Johannes Maier ( German Pharmacist ), June 15, 2012