Ginger and Turmeric Ancient Spices and Modern Medicines
Ginger and turmeric have been used in human cuisine and in traditional medicinal practice for thousands of years. They are widely popular spices used extensively in Asian cuisine and growing in use in western cuisine. They have been used as medicinal plants, due to their anti-inflammatory properties, to treat a wide array of illnesses and conditions, such as arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid), inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, the common cold, etc. Two groups of compounds, the diarylheptanoids (including the curcuminoids) and the gingerolrelated compounds, are potent anti-inflammatory compounds and contribute to, or are responsible for, many of the medicinal properties in these plants. They also contribute to the color of turmeric used in curries and to the pungency of ginger. Several of these compounds, most notably curcumin and -gingerol, are now the targets of drug development. Despite their great medicinal and culinary importance, very little basic scientific research has been done on these plants. This is now changing.Belonging to the ingiberaceae, they are members of the Zingiberales. The closest relative to this large group of plants that has been studied in some detail is banana (Musa spp, see chapter in this book), although that plant is not that closely related. The relationships of these plants to other plant groups, their diversity, their production, and recent and proposed efforts to understand the genetic and genomic makeup of these plants are discussed.
KeywordsMotion Sickness Shikimic Acid Curcuma Longa Ginger Extract Tetraploid Clone
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