As a new study showed, components extracted from ginger root can help people with asthma breathe easier. Asthma is characterized by bronchospasm, tightening of the bronchi, which carry air to the lungs and back. Medications called beta-agonists are some of the most common types of medications for asthma, as they relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract.
The study studied the specific components of ginger and their ability to enhance the relaxing effect of bronchodilators. “Asthma has become a more common disease in recent years, and although the causes of asthma and its development have been more accurately established, several new agents for treating and targeting asthma symptoms have been approved over the past 40 years,” the lead author of the study said. Elizabeth Townsend, Ph.D., researcher at Columbia University’s Department of Anesthesiology. “In our study, we found that the extracted components of ginger can work synergistically with beta agonists to help relax the muscles of the respiratory tract,” she explained.
To conduct the study, scientists took samples of human smooth muscle contractility tissues and exposed them to acetylcholine and a compound that causes narrowing of the bronchi. The researchers then mixed isoproterenol beta agonists with three separate ginger components: 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, and 6-shogaol.
Abridged tissue samples were exposed to each of these three mixtures, as well as pure isoproterenol, and the results were recorded and subsequently compared.
At the conclusion of their research, scientists found that tissues receiving a combination of extracted components of ginger and isoproterenol showed better results, unlike the others.
“By understanding the mechanisms by which these ginger compounds affect the airways, we can explore the possibility of using this therapy to combat asthma symptoms,” added Dr. Elizabeth Townsend.