Ginger could play a critical role in controlling inflammation for people living with autoimmune diseases, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado School of Medicine focused on the impact of ginger supplements on a type of white blood cell called the neutrophil.
Their findings indicated that ginger supplements could even help treat people with COVID.
The team that conducted the study, which was published Friday in the journal JCI Insight, was especially interested in an immune response called neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation.
It’s also known as NETosis and is linked to the inflammation that can trigger autoimmune diseases.
NETs are microscopic, spider web-like structures that propel inflammation and clotting, which contribute to many autoimmune diseases — including lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers said.
They found that ginger consumption by healthy people makes their neutrophils — a type of white blood cell that fights infections and heals injuries — more resistant to NETosis.
Senior author Kristen Demoruelle, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, noted that with many diseases, neutrophils are abnormally overactive.
“We found that ginger can help to restrain NETosis… It is a natural supplement that may be helpful to treat inflammation and symptoms for people with several different autoimmune diseases,” she said, according to the published study.
In a clinical trial, the research team found that among healthy volunteers, daily intake of a ginger supplement for seven days — at 20 milligrams per day — boosted a chemical inside the neutrophil called cAMP.
The high levels of cAMP then inhibited NETosis in response to various disease-related stimuli.
Said Professor Jason Knight of the University of Michigan, who was a senior co-author of the study, “Our research, for the first time, provides evidence for the biological mechanism that underlies ginger’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties in people,” according to SWNS.
Many people with inflammatory conditions are likely to ask their doctor about the potential benefits of natural supplements — or it could be that they already take supplements, such as ginger, to help manage symptoms, the researchers said.
The team hopes that providing more evidence about ginger’s benefits will encourage health care providers and patients to strategically discuss its use to minimize disease.
“There are not a lot of natural supplements — or prescription medications, for that matter — that are known to fight overactive neutrophils,” Knight said, as SWNS noted.
“We, therefore, think ginger may have a real ability to complement treatment programs that are already underway.”
He added, “The goal is to be more strategic and personalized in terms of helping to relieve people’s symptoms.”
The research team hopes to use the study to unlock funding for clinical trials of ginger in patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases where neutrophils are overactive, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome and even COVID.
Fox News Digital reached out to the study authors for further comment.