Caution in taking ginger and other herbal extracts has been suggested because of an apparent association with reported incidences of increased risk of bleeding following surgery (78,79) or if taken with anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (80). However, the data are not conclusive (81). At least one study indicates that ginger has no effect on blood pressure, heart rate, or coagulation parameters and does not interact with anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (82).
Antiplatelet therapy is an effective approach for prevention of coronary heart disease. Ginger components were suggested as a potential new class of platelet activation inhibitors without the potential side effects of aspirin, which is most commonly used in this approach. Koo et al. (83) recently compared the ability of several synthetic gingerols and analogs with aspirin in capacity to inhibit human platelet activation. The ginger compounds were less potent compared to aspirin in inhibiting arachidonic-acid-induced platelet release and aggregation and COX activity (83). However, several analogs had a significant inhibitory effect, which suggests that further development of more potent gingerol analogs has potential value as an alternative to aspirin therapy in preventing ischemic heart disease. Consumption of ginger (5 g)
inhibited platelet aggregation induced in men consuming 100 g of butter daily for 7 days (84) and a later study showed that ginger enhanced fibrinolytic activity (85). Another compound isolated from ginger, (E)-8 beta, 17-epoxy-labd-12-ene-15,16-dial, has been reported to inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis (86).
At least one group found that administration or consumption of standardized ginger extract reduced aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas, plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, LDL-associated lipid peroxides, and LDL aggregation in mice (87). In rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet, administration of ginger extract resulted in a significant antihyperlipidemic effect and a lower degree of atherosclerosis compared to the group fed cholesterol alone (88).
Ginger compounds have been shown to directly stimulate myocardial sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium uptake (89,90) but the therapeutic use of ginger in treating heart failure has not been advocated (90).
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