Structural Elements and Cough Suppressing Activity of Polysaccharides from Zingiber officinale Rhizome

Phytother Res. 2016 Jan;30(1):105-11. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5508. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


Zingiber officinale is used for the management of fever, bronchial asthma and cough for thousands of years. While the link to a particular indication has been established in human, the active principle of the formulation remains unknown. Herein, we have investigated a water extracted polysaccharides (WEP) containing fraction from its rhizome. Utilizing a traditional aqueous extraction protocol and using chemical, chromatographic and spectroscopic methods a fraction containing a branched glucan and polygalaturonan in a ratio of 59:1 was characterized. This glucan, which has a molecular mass of 36 kDa, is made up of terminal-, (1,4)- and (1,4,6)-linked α-Glcp residues. Oral administration of WEP in doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg body weight significantly inhibited the number of citric acid-induced cough efforts in guinea pigs. It does not alter the specific airway smooth muscle reactivity significantly. Thus, traditional aqueous extraction method provides molecular entities, which induces antitussive activity without addiction.

Keywords: Zingiber officinale; antitussive activity; polysaccharides; specific airway resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antitussive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cough / chemically induced
  • Cough / drug therapy*
  • Ginger / chemistry*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Rhizome / chemistry*


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides