Asthma sufferers may soon be able to use an aerosol with purified components of ginger root.
Ginger may have more benefits than just adding a zing to a meal. Parts of the spicy root may have properties to help asthma patients.
Asthma, which is becoming an increasing problem worldwide, is characterized by a tightening of the bronchial tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs.
This is normally treated with bronchodilating medication to relax the airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissues.
Despite an improved understanding of what causes asthma and how it develops, over the past 40 years few new treatments have been approved.
The study by Dr Elizabeth Townsend at Columbia University Department of Anaesthesiology found that ginger enhanced the effects of the normally used medication.
Researchers have found that tissue treated with a combination of purified ginger and a bronchodilating medication showed significantly greater relaxation than those treated with the bronchodilator alone.
Their findings indicate that mixing the two components might give greater relief to asthma sufferers.
Dr Townsend and her team are now carrying out further research to determine if an aerosol with purified constituents of ginger may have therapeutic benefit in asthma and other bronchoconstrictive diseases.
Their study was presented at the American Thoracic Society 2013 International conference.