Ginger and its health claims: molecular aspects

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 May;51(5):383-93. doi: 10.1080/10408391003624848.


Recent research has rejuvenated centuries-old traditional herbs to cure various ailments by using modern tools like diet-based therapy and other regimens. Ginger is one of the classic examples of an herb used for not only culinary preparations but also for unique therapeutic significance owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory potential. The pungent fractions of ginger, namely gingerols, shogaols, paradols, and volatile constituents like sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes, are mainly attributed to the health-enhancing perspectives of ginger. This review elucidates the health claims of ginger and the molecular aspects and targets, with special reference to anticancer perspectives, immunonutrition, antioxidant potential, and cardiovascular cure. The molecular targets involved in chemoprevention like the inhibition of NF-κB activation via impairing nuclear translocation, suppresses cIAP1 expression, increases caspase-3/7 activation, arrests cell cycle in G2 + M phases, up-regulates Cytochrome-c, Apaf-1, activates PI3K/Akt/I kappaB kinases IKK, suppresses cell proliferation, and inducts apoptosis and chromatin condensation. Similarly, facts are presented regarding the anti-inflammatory response of ginger components and molecular targets including inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis and suppression of 5-lipoxygenase. Furthermore, inhibition of phosphorylation of three mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) are also discussed. The role of ginger in reducing the extent of cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus, and digestive problems has also been described in detail. Although, current review articles summarized the literature pertaining to ginger and its components. However, authors are still of the view that further research should be immediately carried out for meticulousness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Plant Preparations