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© NOVA SEPTEMBER 2012
Ginger, the common spice and
ancient Asian remedy, could have
the power to help manage the
high blood sugar levels that create
complications for long-term diabetic
patients, a University of Sydney study
The study, published this month in
the prestigious natural product journal
Planta Medica, reveals the potential
power of ginger to control blood glucose
by using muscle cells.
Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Basil Roufogalis, who led the research,
said extracts from an Australian-grown
ginger were able to increase the uptake
of glucose into muscle cells independ-
ently of insulin.
"This assists in the management of
high levels of blood sugar that create
complications for long-term diabetic
patients, and may allow cells to operate
independently of insulin," he said.
"The components responsible for the
increase in glucose were gingerols, the
major phenolic components of the ginger
"Under normal conditions, blood
glucose level is strictly maintained within
a narrow range, and skeletal muscle is
a major site of glucose clearance in the
body, "said Professor Roufogalis.
The pharmacy researchers extracted
whole ginger rhizomes obtained from
Buderim Ginger and showed that that
one fraction of the extract was the most
effective in reproducing the increase in
glucose uptake by the whole extract in
muscle cells grown in culture.
In type 2 diabetic patients, the
capacity of skeletal muscle to uptake
glucose is markedly reduced due to
impaired insulin signal transduction and
inefficiency of the protein GLUT4.
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