Introduction "Whether on the shores of Asia or in the Edgware Road" 1 Zingerone has its uses. Spice In everyday life, ginger is used in cooking for its hot taste as well as its pungent smell. Ecologists have studied the relationships of food and culture for many years. During this time, they have found surprising ties between spices that taste good and health-promoting side effects. An example of one of these spices is ginger. The sensory perception of ginger in the mouth and the nose arises from two distinct groups of chemicals: • The volatile oils, a mixture of terpenoids that give ginger its characteristic aroma and modifies its taste. • The non-volatile pungent chemicals like gingerols, shogaols, paradols and zingerone produce the "hot" taste in the mouth. It is these non-volatile pungent chemicals of ginger that give it, its real value. Medicine Ginger for many years has been the traditional remedy for colds. In modern medicine today, zingerone is used to treat a variety of medical problems. Zingerone reacts with free radicals that can cause tissue damage and inflammation. At Case Western University, research has been done showing that a topically applied extract containing zingerone may help prevent some skin cancers. In capsule form, ginger can also be used to replace anti-inflammatory drugs. In a recent study, ginger was found to be more effective than drugs in the treatment of nausea and motion sickness. Zingerone also has a major role in lipid oxidation since it is an anti-oxidant. It weakly inhibits oxidation of phospholipid liposomes in the presence of iron (III) and ascorbate to prevent heart-attacks. It is these properties that have made zingerone a molecule of great importance and one that has been produced and synthesized for pharmaceutical use. Zingerone was used in plants long before man benefited from its properties. An example of this is the male fruit fly (Bactrocera papayae) feeding on a lateral sepal of the wild orchid flower, Bulbophyllum patens. as can be seen in the picture on the right. The fly bears a pollinarium from another B. patens (small arrow) on its thoracic dorsum and is attracted to the flower by a fragrant essence zingerone, which the fly consumes.

Sanjay Iyer  

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