The hidden mechanism beyond ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) potent in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory activity

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Mar 25:214:113-123. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.12.019. Epub 2017 Dec 16.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a well known anti-inflammatory drug in the Egyptian, Indian and Chinese folk medicines, yet its mechanism of action is unclear.

Aim of the study: To explore its mechanism of action and to correlate it to its biophytochemicals.

Materials and methods: Various extracts viz. water, 50%, 70%, 80%, and 90% ethanol were prepared from ginger rhizomes. Fractionation of the aqueous extract (AE) was accomplished using Diaion HP-20. In vitro anti-inflammatory activity of the different extracts and isolated compounds was evaluated using protein denaturation inhibition, membrane stabilization, protease inhibition, and anti-lipoxygenase assays. In vivo anti-inflammatory activity of AE was estimated using carrageenan-induced rat paw edema in rats at doses 25, 50, 100 and 200mg/kg b.wt.

Results: All the tested extracts showed significant (p< 0.1) in vitro anti-inflammatory activities. The strongest anti-lipoxygenase activity was observed for AE that was more significant than that of diclofenac (58% and 52%, respectively) at the same concentration (125μg/ml). Purification of AE led to the isolation of 6-poradol (G1), 6-shogaol (G2); methyl 6- gingerol (G3), 5-gingerol (G4), 6-gingerol (G5), 8-gingerol (G6), 10-gingerol (G7), and 1-dehydro-6-gingerol (G8). G1, G2 and G8 exhibited potent activity in all the studied assays, while G4 and G5 exhibited moderate activity. In vivo administration of AE ameliorated rat paw edema in a dose-dependent manner. AE (at 200mg/kg) showed significant reduction in production of PGE2, TNF-α, IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity by 60%, 57%, 60%, 41%, 32% and 67%, respectively. AE at 100 and 200mg/kg was equipotent to indomethacin in reduction of NOx level and in increasing the total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Histopathological examination revealed very few inflammatory cells infiltration and edema after administration of AE (200mg/kg) prior to carrageenan.

Conclusions: Ginger anti-inflammatory activity is mediated by inhibiting macrophage and neutrophils activation as well as negatively affecting monocyte and leukocyte migration. This was evidenced by the dose-dependent decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and replenishment the total antioxidant capacity.

Keywords: 1-Dehydro-6-Gingerol; 6-Shogaol; Anti-lipoxygenase activity; Inflammatory markers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Carrageenan
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / metabolism
  • Edema / prevention & control*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Carrageenan
  • Dinoprostone