Author: Ahmed Elkadi, MD
Most, if not all, synthetic pharmaceutical tranquillizers have the potential of producing undesirable side effects. The main concern is usually regarding the sedative effect on the body, with impairment of the sensory or motor functions of the central nervous system. and obviously the potential for physical or psychological dependence,"-10' With this genuine concern in mind, it is highly desirable to find natural ingredients that would provide the needed tranquil Using effect, without the potential side effects expected with the use of synthetic preparations..
A recent study by the Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research in Panama City, Florida, observed the effect of ginger and thyme on abnormal psychological symptoms. The study used a controlled perspective double-blind protocol with accurate statistical analysis of the study results. A total of 49 human volunteers were randomized into three groups and evaluated for abnormal psychological symptoms using a Symptom Check List (SLC-90-R) "3 ē"" before and after the study. One group received dried ginger root powder in unmarked capsules, another group received dried thyme leaf powder in similar capsules, while the third group which acted as a control group was given a placebo.
After one month of intake of the material, there was a statistically significant improvement of the various abnormal psychological symptoms in the ginger and thyme groups, while the control group showed no significant improvement. The therapeutic tranquillizing effect of ginger was somewhat more pronounced and longer lasting compared with that of thyme. There were no undesirable side effects in any of the study groups. In the case of ginger, we have a fairly good idea of what motivates the action. Ginger is known to be a thromboxane antagonist,115161 in that it inhibits thromboxane synthesis. There are anti-anxiety receptors (Benzodiazepine receptors) in the brain,117 18) and thromboxane is thought to be the natural ligand for these receptors1181.
A natural ligand is a substance that occupies or blocks the receptors. As ginger inhibits the synthesis of thromboxane, these receptors are free to be stimulated, and a tranquillizing affects results. Diazepam (valium) and other tranquillizers that belong its group of Benzodiazepines are also thromboxane antagonists, and this may explain their tranquillizing effect."51 The problem with the Benzodiazepine tranquillizers is that they are plagued by undesirable side effects."247'01 Ginger is free of any sedating or addictive side effect. Quite to the contrary, it has a general stimulating effect on the body, on the heart and skeletal muscles, 119201 It also has a stimulating effect on the adrenal gland medulla to secrete catecholamines,12" and an aphrodisiac effect leading to increased sperm count and motility.1221 Furthermore, it has been suggested that ginger may play a therapeutic role in the treatment of drug addiction, based on its noradrenergic and thromboxane inhibiting effect.'231
As to thyme, no explanation is yet apparent for the tranquillizing effect noticed. Whether it has an anti-thromboxane activity similar to ginger or a totally different mechanism of action has to be determined through further studies. The safety records of ginger and thyme as natural herbs extend over thousands of years, during which time they have been used as spices for seasoning in food and drink. In addition, modem studies have found ginger and thyme to possess a variety of medicinal effects. Ginger was found to have an anti-motion sickness effect,'24-251 an anti-emetic effect in patients recovering from surgery.126' an anti-rheumatic effect, (27) a protective effect on the stomach inner lining1281 and most recently an immune-enhancing effect.1291
Thyme was found to have an antimicrobial effect, 130321 and a spasmolytic effect on the smooth muscles of the trachea and small intestine.'33 341 Most recently it was also found to have an anti-viral and a beneficial selective cytotoxic effect.1351 In cell culture studies, thyme extract killed cancer cells and cells infected with HIV, while not causing any harm to normal cells in control cell cultures. The use of ginger and thyme as natural tranquillizers can be a beneficial component in the treatment of persons who suffer from emotional problems, or healthy people who are under excessive emotional stress. Ginger can also be a useful adjuvant in persons undergoing treatment for any chronic illness. since most usually have a higher than average amount of harboured negative emotion. Ginger and thyme can also be used to reduce the food or cigarette cravings and also help to curb nervous tension exhibited by those who are trying to lose weight or stop smoking.
Since negative emotions are known to be powerful immune suppressers, ginger and thyme could exert an Indirect Immune enhancing effect by reducing the severity of any existing negative emotions.
Ahmed Elkadi M.D., is the administrator of the Panama City Clinic in Florida. He is also the President of the Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and. Research.
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2 Ibid., Centrax, p.2582.
3. Ibid., Haldol.p. 1281.
4. Ibid., Librium.p. 1821.
5. Ibid., Mlltown. p. 2268.
6. Ibid., Prolixin, p. 1691.
7. Ibid.. Serax, p. 2432.
8. Ibid., Tranxene, p. 567.
9. Ibid., Valium, p. 1828
10. Ibid., Xanax, p. 2253.
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