Ginger Beats Pharma Drug in Treating Hay Fever
Adding to its many benefits, recent research finds that Ginger can significantly reduce hay fever symptoms and quality of life for allergy sufferers. Ginger also beat a common pharmaceutical used to treat hay fever symptoms in one study.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, affects millions of people. For some it is a seasonal condition. But for others, it is ongoing throughout the year.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used for thousands of years among traditional medicines for a variety of health conditions. Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine has used ginger profusely in treating patients in various inflammatory and gastrointestinal disorders.
Scientific research has also confirmed that ginger can treat a number of health conditions.
These are related to the massive amount of medicinal compounds inside ginger. Researchers have discovered more than 400 constituents in this famous root.
Ginger extract treats hay fever patients
In a late 2020 study, researchers from Thailand’s Thammasat University (Yamprasert et al.) tested 80 patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever). They were split into two groups. One group was given 500 milligrams of ginger extract per day. The other group was given 10 milligrams of Loratadine – an allergy pharmaceutical treatment branded as Claritin among others.
Before, after and during the six week treatment, the researchers tested each patient for total nasal symptom scores (TNSS), nasal cavity acoustic rhinometry and rhinoconjunctivitis quality of life questionnaires (RQLQ). They also measured safety by taking the blood pressure, and analyzed blood tests for side effects.
The researchers found the ginger extract significantly decreased TNSS scores, and essentially beat the pharmaceutical treatment. The ginger treatment at week 6 resulted in average TNSS scores of 3.42, while the Loratadine group’s scores were 4.33 (lower TNSS scores are better).
At week 6, the ginger runny nose scores were 0.89 while they were 1.14 in the Loratadine drug. And itchy nose scores were 0.81 in the ginger group and 0.86 in the Laratadine group.
The ginger extract also outperformed the pharmaceutical in resulting acoustic rhinometry measurements. The scientists found the ginger increased patients’ nasal cavity volume – which means easier breathing and the ability to breathe deeper. The pharmaceutical did not improve the nasal cavity volume.
Quality of life scores were similar among the two groups. But the ginger extract group suffered significantly fewer side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness and constipation found among the pharmaceutical treatment.
Other research confirms ginger’s anti-allergy effects
A 2016 study from Japan’s Chubu University (Kawamoto et al.) tested ginger on allergies in the laboratory. They found that ginger and specifically 6-gingerol suppressed Th2 cytokines and also Th1 cytokines among spleen cells.
They also found that ginger suppressed mast cell production and moderated T-cell responses.
A 2017 laboratory study from Thammasat University (Makchuchit et al.) also found that a formula containing ginger (Benjakul) also significantly reduced allergic responses and inflammation related to allergies.
Outside of this there has been few if any studies on ginger and hay fever. Most research has studied ginger for its ability to curb nausea, especially during cancer therapy. But this is certainly a similar effect, because nausea is also an inflammatory response to the cancer drug.
Yamprasert R, Chanvimalueng W, Mukkasombut N, Itharat A. Ginger extract versus Loratadine in the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Apr 20;20(1):119. doi: 10.1186/s12906-020-2875-z.
Kawamoto Y, Ueno Y, Nakahashi E, Obayashi M, Sugihara K, Qiao S, Iida M, Kumasaka MY, Yajima I, Goto Y, Ohgami N, Kato M, Takeda K. Prevention of allergic rhinitis by ginger and the molecular basis of immunosuppression by 6-gingerol through T cell inactivation. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Jan;27:112-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.08.025.
Makchuchit S, Rattarom R, Itharat A. The anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects of Benjakul extract (a Thai traditional medicine), its constituent plants and its some pure constituents using in vitro experiments. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 May;89:1018-1026. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.02.066.
Uthaipaisanwong A, Oranratanaphan S, Musigavong N. Effects of ginger adjunct to the standard prophylaxis on reducing carboplatin and paclitaxel-induced nausea vomiting: a randomized controlled study. Support Care Cancer. 2020 Aug;28(8):3831-3838. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05201-5.