Ginger extract may have beneficial effects in migraine

Ginger components found to inhibit platelet aggregation, suggesting they might be useful in the treatment of migraine.

Many drugs effective in the treatment of migraine have effects on platelet aggregation.

One theory holds that a migraine begins when platelets clump, releasing serotonin and setting off an inflammatory cascade that eventually leads to full-blown migraine. Indeed, platelet ‘over-responsiveness’ is commonly observed in patients with migraine, and may account for the observed higher risk of stroke documented especially among those who have migraine with aura.

In the study briefly summarized below a traditional Japanese migraine medication is investigated. One of the four herbal extracts used in that medication is an aqueous extract of ginger. Two of the components of ginger extract, 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol, were each found to inhibit platelet aggregation.

The publication:

September, 2008

Goshuyuto, a traditional Japanese medicine for migraine, inhibits platelet aggregation in guinea-pig whole blood.

Summary of the abstract

The effects of goshuyuto and chotosan, traditional Japanese medicines, on collagen-induced platelet aggregation were examined using guinea-pig blood. Goshuyuto at the concentration of 1,000 mug/mL inhibited collagen-induced platelet hyper-aggregation to the same degree as aspirin at the concentration of 100 mumol/L, but chotosan did not.

Goshuyuto is composed of four medicinal herbs. Of them, aqueous extracts of Evodiae Fructus and Zingiberis Rhizoma inhibited platelet aggregation, but aqueous extracts of Zizyphi Fructus and Ginseng Radix did not.

Two components of Zingiberis Rhizoma, 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol, also inhibited platelet aggregation.

These results suggest that Evodiae Fructus and Zingiberis Rhizoma may play important roles in the anti-aggregation effects of goshuyuto and that 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol are among the active ingredients. Therefore, goshuyuto may ameliorate migraine by preventing the hyper-aggregation of platelets in migraine with aura.

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