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Cutting edge science now points to this common spice as a possible 'curative agent' for Alzheimer's. Considering the well-known harms and lack of effectiveness associated with pharmaceutical agents for this condition, this research promises a new therapeutic path for this so-called 'incurable' disease.
A new study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that ginger may be an excellent natural anti-Alzheimer's (AD) treatment.
Indian researchers at the Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, report that ginger may provide "multiple therapeutic molecular targets of AD and can be considered as an effective nontoxic nutraceutical supplement for AD."
By their definition:
"Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-associated, irreversible, progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by severe memory loss, unusual behaviour, personality changes, and a decline in cognitive function. It is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly and is regarded as the pandemic of the 21st century, imposing enormous social and economic burdens on patients and their families."
Modern pharmacological interventions rely on patented petrochemical derivatives that are neurotoxic in nature, the equivalent of declaring chemical warfare on the human brain, with seizures being one of the most common side effects as noted by World Health Organization statistics.
Thanks to the expanding body of published biomedical literature available today, we know there are a wide range of natural, evidence-based ameliorative therapies available for Alzheimer's today, including turmeric, coconut oil and gingko biloba. Sadly, present day FDA law forbids the use of natural substances for healing, which, nonetheless, has done little to stem the mainstream interest in natural alternatives.
The new study follows from an already established body of research demonstrating ginger's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both activities of which have value in addressing the underlying causes of premature neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease. There is also an already existing body of evidence validating ginger's role in protecting against the characteristic molecular pathology –A β induced (a type of misfolded brain protein) neurotoxicity – associated with adverse brain changes that occur in Alzheimer's disease. Also, a recent study (2013) in rats, found that the administration of ginger reversed behavioral dysfunction and prevents AD-like behavioral symptoms in our rat model.
The Indian researchers found that ginger's anti-Alzheimer's properties dovetail with traditional pharmacological pathways which inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterate. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for 'memory,' among many other brain functions including arousal, reward, neuroplasticity, and experiential factors such as 'sustained attention.' Ginger's activity therefore increases both the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, explaining its role in attenuating Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers summarized their results and its implications as follows:
"In summary, methanolic extract of dry ginger showed therapeutic properties by acting on various molecular targets of AD. Ginger has no known acute toxicity at the usual doses consumed for dietary or medicinal purposes. In experimental trials, ginger at a dose as high as 2 g daily has been shown to be well tolerated by both experimental animals and humans with occasional reports of mild gastrointestinal complaints. Hence, ginger can be regarded as an effective herbal supplement for AD therapy. Further studies with in vivo models of AD are necessary to confirm the therapeutic role of whole ginger extract."
For additional research on ginger's many health benefits, check out our ginger research page which contains evidence for ginger's health benefits in over 100 diseases: Ginger Health Benefits Research. Also, for a wide range of natural interventions for Alzheimer's disease, view our Alzheimer's Disease Research page.
Darrick S H L Kim, Jin-Yung Kim, Ye Sun Han. Alzheimer's disease drug discovery from herbs: neuroprotectivity from beta-amyloid (1-42) insult. J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Apr ;13(3):333-40. PMID: 17480132
 Gao-Feng Zeng, Zhi-Yong Zhang, Li Lu, De-Qiang Xiao, Shao-Hui Zong, Jian-Ming He.Protective effects of ginger root extract on Alzheimer disease-induced behavioral dysfunction in rats. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Apr ;16(2):124-33. PMID: 23374025