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更新时间:2014-1-13 13:53:19 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Can Ginger Help With Asthma?

The Ache: Some 26 million Americans suffer from asthma -- a chronic inflammation of airways in the lungs that causes coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Since you can still have an asthma attack despite regular medications, many patients try alternative treatments -- but there is little evidence they work, clinicians say.

The Claim: Ginger, a root known for its strong, earthy flavor, can help ease symptoms of asthma by opening constricted airways.

The Verdict: Ginger, well known as a therapy for an upset stomach, is recently getting attention among scientists for what appears to be its capacity to open constricted airways -- demonstrated in several recent studies, in animals and in human cells tested in a lab.

Human tests, however, are needed to show efficacy, says American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology President Michael Foggs. If ginger does prove useful, he adds, it most likely would be taken with existing medicines that control the underlying airway inflammation.

Ginger can be ingested as a fresh root or in capsules as a dietary supplement. In traditional Chinese medicine, it would typically be consumed as a tea -- generally with up to a dozen other herbs -- as a treatment for certain types of asthma-like symptoms, says Allen Sayigh, manager of the Chinese herb dispensary at Bastyr University in Seattle.

Recent research has found ginger works by simultaneously inhibiting an enzyme that helps cause airway muscles to constrict and activating another enzyme that tends to relax the airways, says biomedical engineer Elizabeth Townsend, co-author of a study published online in the January issue of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

The study, which tested the effects of ginger components on isolated human airway cells, found ginger worked particularly well in combination with a medication currently used in bronchodilators asthmatics carry in case they have trouble breathing.

In rodents, several studies found injections of ginger extracts helped ease simulated asthma conditions. A French study, published in 2008 in the journal International Immunopharmacology, found a ginger extract softened an inflammatory reaction in mouse lungs after the mice were exposed to allergens that irritated their lungs.

Richard J. Martin, professor and chairman of the department of medicine at National Jewish Health, a hospital in Denver, called the human-cell and rodent lab results 'promising' but added that ginger 'may have absolutely no effect' on humans.

It won't hurt to try ginger, says Maureen George, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia and author of a review article on complementary therapies for asthma. 'Even if we don't have definite evidence that it is going to promote bronchial smooth muscle relaxation,' it is generally safe, she says.

She cautions that, since ginger grows in the ground and can be contaminated by pesticides, it is a good idea to look for organic fresh root.

病痛:美国过敏、哮喘与免疫学院(American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology)发布的数据显示,大约有2,600万美国人患有哮喘。这是肺部呼吸道的一种慢性炎症,能引发咳嗽、胸部压迫感、气喘、以及呼吸急促等病症。


主张:生姜这种有强烈、质 气味的植物根茎能够使原本收缩的呼吸道通畅,从而有助缓解哮喘症状。


但美国过敏、哮喘与免疫学院院长Michael Foggs表示,上述功效仍需要通过人体实验的验证。他补充说,如果生姜被证实的确有效,就很可能被用来与控制潜在呼吸道炎症的现有药物同时使用。

生姜既可以新鲜根茎的形式摄入,也能以作为食物补充剂的胶囊形式摄入。西雅图美国巴斯帝尔大学(Bastyr University)中药部经理Allen Sayigh说,在传统的中药中,生姜通常是作为一种茶饮——往往与十余种其他草药同时使用——用于治疗某些类似哮喘的症状。

生物医学工程师汤森(Elizabeth Townsend)说,最近的研究发现,生姜可以抑制一种导致呼吸道肌肉收缩的?,同时激活另一种会使呼吸道放松的?,从而发挥疗效。汤森合着的一项研究被刊登在《美国呼吸道细胞和分子生物学期刊》(American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology) 1月份网络刊上。


针对啮齿类动物的几项研究发现,注射生姜提取物有助于缓解类哮喘症状。《国际免疫药理学》(International Immunopharmacology)期刊2008年发表的一项法国研究发现,对于暴露在过敏原中、肺部受到刺激的老鼠,生姜提取物可以缓解老鼠肺部的炎症反应。

位于丹佛的美国犹太健康医院(National Jewish Health)药物部门教授和负责人马丁(Richard J. Martin)称,人体细胞和啮齿类动物实验结果让人看到了希望,但他补充说,生姜可能对人类没有任何效果。

位于费城的宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)护理学院(School of Nursing)助理教授乔治(Maureen George)说,尝试一下生姜没有坏处。她说,即使没有确切证据表明生姜有助于促进支气管平滑肌放松,但它基本是安全的。乔治是一篇有关于哮喘辅助疗法评论文章的作者。