A Cook's Diary

The potential power of ginger to manage high levels of blood sugar

The belief that ginger has beneficial effects on human health is nothing new in Asia. Ginger is boiled to make drinks to treat anything from nausea to colds and sore throat. In the Philippines, we boil ginger and add honey to make salabat to help decongest stuffy nose and relieve itchy throat.

Ginger is in the big league news these days as the Western world has purportedly discovered via a scientific study a heretofore unknown health benefit of the rhizome. A report from Science Alert is making the usual rounds in social networks. The report points to an article in the University if Sydney website about a study that shows ginger may be an important factor in managing high levels of blood sugar in diabetic patients. Speedy’s family having a long history of hereditary diabetes (Speedy shows no signs of having inherited it, thank goodness, and I hope that our girls stay diabetes-free as well), my interest was naturally aroused.

Professor of pharmaceutical chemistry Basil Roufogalis who led the research says ginger extracts obtained from Buderim Ginger were able to increase the uptake of glucose into muscle cells independently 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,” says Professor Roufogalis. [Ginger muscles in on diabetes]

Does that mean any ginger? We can buy ginger from the local market or even plant ginger and use them to manage blood sugar level? That would be good news, isn’t it, especially considering how cheap and abundant ginger is in Asia, including the Philippines.

Here’s the thing.

Notice the phrase “ginger extracts obtained from Buderim Ginger” in the quoted portion? Buderim Ginger is ginger grown in the farms of Buderim, Australia. I did a double take after reading that. An Australian university study talking about a possible diabetes fix with Australian grown ginger.

I’m not saying that the study is a fake. I’m not saying that the study is biased in favor of Australian-grown ginger. I’m not saying that the study was made to boost the sales of Buderim Ginger. But I am more than a bit bothered by the fact that among all gingers growing in Australasia, most of which are not branded, why was Buderim Ginger singled out?

As with any purported newly-discovered cures that often bring new hope to patients, it is never wise to simply take studies of this sort at face value. For diabetic patients and their families, especially those who have exhausted all other remedies for the condition, these things are worth looking deeper into before immediately ordering a truckload of Buderim Ginger and hoping for a miracle.

Stock photo from Pixabay

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