Diabetes mellitus, a chronic metabolic disorder with major health care burden worldwide, is increasing, with 173 million adults being diabetic and over 8 million deaths recorded annually. Undesirable pathological conditions and high rates of secondary failure limit the use of current antidiabetic agents, thus, the need for more effective antidiabetic agents. Medicinal plants such as spices, rich in bioactive components that promote prevention and treatment of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Type-2 diabetes, are inexpensive with no side effects. The Zingiberaceae family, of which ginger is a member, consists of many species frequently cited for their antidiabetic and hypoglycemic properties. All important scientific literatures from 2000 to 2018 on the antidiabetic potentials of Zingiber officinale were evaluated. According to these studies, ginger exerts its antidiabetic effects through restorative effects on pancreatic β-cells, increasing insulin sensitivity, action and peripheral utilization of glucose. Other mechanisms include increased synthesis of hepatic glycogen through the enhancement of glycogen regulatory enzyme expression in the liver, inhibition of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes, stimulation of pancreatic insulin release and inhibition of hepatic glucose production. Further studies, especially in humans are needed, more so, since ginger is one of the spices generally regarded as safe.
Part of the book: Ginger Cultivation and Its Antimicrobial and Pharmacological Potentials