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Studies Demonstrate the Antispasmodic Effect of Ginger Essential Oil

A small bottle of ginger essential oil is a common addition to the traveler’s first aid kit, primarily for support of the digestive system. One of the owners of Ananda Aromatherapy recently had profound relief of stomach cramps using a 10% dilution of Ginger and Chamomile essential oils in Jojoba, rubbed into his abdomen. Here [...]

A small bottle of ginger essential oil is a common addition to the traveler’s first aid kit, primarily for support of the digestive system. One of the owners of Ananda Aromatherapy recently had profound relief of stomach cramps using a 10% dilution of Ginger and Chamomile essential oils in Jojoba, rubbed into his abdomen.

Here are two studies reporting the anti-spasmodic effects of Ginger. They are somewhat technical; the results indicate that Ginger essential oil has scientific support for its effect on the smooth muscles of the digestive system. Essential oils are readily absorbed through the skin, hence the quick effect via topical application. While Ginger is a little potent for the youngest ones of the family, Roman Chamomile is suitable for all ages.

Study: Inhibitory Effects of Ginger Oil on Spontaneous and PGF2alpha-Induced Contraction

Buddhakala N, Talubmook C, Sriyotha P, Wray S, Kupittayanant S.
Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

The effects of ginger essential oil on smooth muscle contractility have not been elucidated. The aims of the study were to investigate the effects of ginger oil on rat myometrial contractility. We particularly examined the effects on phasic contractions arising either spontaneously or with PGF (2) (alpha) stimulation. Ginger oil was obtained by hydrodistillation and its constituents analyzed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Rats were humanely killed by asphyxiation with CO (2), and longitudinal uterine smooth muscles were isolated. Isometric force was measured and the effects of ginger oil studied. It was found that citral was the main constituent of ginger oil (24 %). Ginger oil inhibited spontaneous contractions with an IC (50) of 50 muL/100 mL (10 – 150 muL/100 mL). The PGF (2) (alpha)-induced contractions were also significantly reduced by ginger oil. Increases in external calcium concentration completely reversed the relaxant effects of ginger oil. This was the case for both spontaneous and PGF (2) (alpha)-induced contractions. The effects of ginger oil were indistinguishable from those of pure citral. In conclusion, ginger oil is a potent inhibitor of phasic activity in rat uterus, irrespective of how it was produced. Our data suggest that the effects are largely due to citral, and could be via inhibition of L-type Ca channels. AUC:area under the curve Ca:calcium PGF (2):prostaglandin F (2alpha)PKC:protein kinase C.

Study: The effect of the volatile oil from ginger rhizomes (Zingiber officinale), its fractions and isolated compounds on the 5-HT3 receptor complex and the serotoninergic system

Riyazi A, Hensel A, Bauer K, Geissler N, Schaaf S, Verspohl EJ.
Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, University of Muenster, Germany.

A contribution of the volatile oil from ginger rhizomes (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on inhabiting the 5-HT3 receptor complex had been shown. In the present study a possible interaction of some compounds of the volatile oil with the 5-HT3 receptor system expressed in N1E-115 cells and with the serotoninergic system of the rat ileum was investigated. The volatile oil was obtained by steam distillation and fractionated using a silica gel column resulting in five fractions. Compounds of the fractions were identified by GC-MS. The influence of the volatile oil, its fractions and pure components on serotonin-induced [14C]guanidinium influx into N1E-115 cells was measured indicating the inhibitory interaction with the 5-HT3 receptor channel system. Most potent inhibitors of cation influx were the volatile oil, fraction 4, beta-pinene, terpinolene, alpha-copaene and alpha-phellandrene. The volatile oil and fractions 1 and 4 were not able to significantly influence either serotonin (10 microM)-induced maximum contraction of the rat ileum or the second phase of the biphasic contraction 2.5 min after serotonin addition. However, beta-pinene, terpinolene and alpha-phellandrene reduced both contractions. In conclusion, the volatile oil and distinct compounds such as terpinolene, beta-pinene and alpha-phellandrene interact with 5-HT3 receptor channel system and possess an antispasmodic effect at the rat ileum.

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