Recently, ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an herbal therapy for treating several cardiovascular diseases, however, information on its mechanism of action is limited. The present study assessed the effect of two ginger varieties (Zingiber officinale and Curcuma longa) on the arginase activity, atherogenic index, levels of liver thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARSs), and plasma lipids in rats fed with a high-cholesterol (2%) diet for 14 days. Following the treatment period, it was found that feeding a high-cholesterol diet to rats caused significant (p < 0.05) increases in arginase activity, atherogenic index, levels of TBARS, total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TGs), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) with a concomitant decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). However, both ginger and turmeric (2% and 4%) caused significant (p < 0.05) decreases in arginase activity and the atherogenic index, and prevented hypercholesterolemia by decreasing the TC, TGs, and LDL-C while increasing the HDL-C when compared with the controls. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with both types of rhizomes (ginger and turmeric) inhibited arginase activity and prevented hypercholesterolemia in rats that received a high-cholesterol diet. Therefore, these activities of ginger and turmeric represent possible mechanisms underlying its use in herbal medicine to treat several cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Curcuma longa; Zingiber officinale; arginase activity; herbal therapy; hypercholesterolemia.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.