Since antiquity, ginger or Zingiber officinale, has been used by humans for medicinal purposes and as spice condiments to enhance flavor in cooking. Ginger contains many phenolic compounds such as gingerol, shogaol and paradol that exhibit antioxidant, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. The role of ginger and its constituents in ameliorating diseases has been the focus of study in the past two decades by many researchers who provide strong scientific evidence of its health benefit. This review discusses research findings and works devoted to gingerols, the major pungent constituent of ginger, in modulating and targeting signaling pathways with subsequent changes that ameliorate, reverse or prevent chronic diseases in human studies and animal models. The physical, chemical and biological properties of gingerols are also described. The use of ginger and especially gingerols as medicinal food derivative appears to be safe in treating or preventing chronic diseases which will benefit the common population, clinicians, patients, researchers, students and industrialists.
Keywords: Biological properties; Chronic diseases; Gingerol; Physicochemical; Signaling pathways.