A new animal-based study published online in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that ginger for allergies may be a promising treatment for seasonal symptoms. Rodents with induced rhinitis (hay fever) exhibited a significant decrease in allergy symptoms such as sneezing and excessively rubbing the nose. The researchers attribute the effect to a compound in ginger called 6-gingerol, which inhibits the activation of T cells, a type of white blood cell responsible for sensitizing people to particular allergens.
Researchers fed mice a normal diet made up of either 2% ginger or no ginger for two weeks. After two weeks, the mice that were fed ginger were injected twice with purified egg proteins called ovalbumin (OVA) in order to stimulate the symptoms of hay fever. The mice that were not fed ginger were then divided in two groups: one group also received OVA injections, while the other group received placebo injections.
Two weeks after receiving injections, the mice were given a small amount of OVA inserted into their nose as a challenge to their immune systems. Researchers counted how many times the mice sneezed or rubbed their noses over the next 10 minutes.
- The mice fed ginger and given OVA injections sneezed an average of 2.1 times
- The mice not fed ginger but given OVA injections sneezed an average of 15.2 times
- The mice not fed ginger and not given OVA injections sneezed an average of 1 time
The ginger-fed mice also rubbed their noses significantly fewer times than the mice not fed ginger.
Adding Ginger to Your Diet
Ginger possesses many health boons, from easing digestive upset to apparently alleviating allergy symptoms! Add small amounts of ginger to your food. Here are some ideas:
Ginger Hot Tea: Cup up a chunk of unpeeled ginger and submerse it in boiling water. Let it steep and add lemon for a soothing tea.
Soup: Grate up some ginger and add it to your favorite soup or stew.
Fish: Spice up your fish with powdered ginger.
Stir Fry: Add minced ginger to your stir fry.