Tropical ginger treatment for blocking inflammation

Many natural compounds have various anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties that have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years such as eucalyptus, menthol, mint, cinnamon. However, the specific molecular mechanisms behind these health-promoting effects are not always clear. One such compound is 1'-acetoxychavicol acetate, or ACA, which comes from the tropical ginger Alpinia plant that has recently been reported  on th potential mechanism for how ACA can help in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

In a report published in International Immunology (Reference), ACA was reported to attenuate image to a special intracellular organelle known as mitochondria by decreasing damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) as an antioxidant apparently blocking the development of a very sophisticated, but crucial protein complex known as an inflammasome. Many inflammatory diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease, display improper and chronic activation of this complex.

Previous work has suggested that the the specific inflammasome plays a significant role in promoting inflammation by secreting a molecule called interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). This acts as a messenger that recruits various immune cells to the site of injury or infection. Additional studies described how production of ROS can help trigger activation of the inflammasome. Because other groups showed that ACA can reduce ROS production in certain immune cells, the researchers became curious how this compound would impact this specific inflammasome and its functions.

Many disease pathogeneses involve dysregulation of the inflammasome such as those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders as they frequently have increased levels of inflammasome-derived IL-1β. Therefore, targeting the this specific inflammasome with a compound like ACA and other antioxidant may prove to provide complementary support for the treatment of various inflammatory disorders. The researchers grew immune cells in culture that were obtained from mouse bone marrow, and also used a mouse model of colitis. ACA was added to the growing cells and the live mice were given the compound in their food. The researchers then examined the effects on ROS production, secretion of IL-1β, and other markers of inflammation. The results demonstrated that immune cells treated with ACA had significantly reduced IL-1β production, as well as lower levels of ROS. 

These in vivo results suggest that ACA and other antioxidants such as eucalyptus (Immunomodulatory Activities of Selected Essential Oils), a key essential oil ingredient in the various Sinusol® formulations, that have been used as a traditional folk remedy for a variety of inflammation-related disorders such as allergies and asthma (Reference) as well as arthritis, diabetes, and gout, may impact inflammasome production and thus has the potential to treat or prevent the development of various forms of inflammatory diseases.