gingerGinger, long known for its ability to help with nausea, may also be useful for controlling diarrhea, according to research appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Sept 20, 2007; published on line ahead of print). Researchers at Taiwan’s China Medical University found that ginger protected intestinal cells by blocking a toxin produced by E. coli. The toxin, Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT), is a leading cause of death in developing countries. Diarrhea in children is a common complaint, and is responsible for almost 2 ½ million doctor visits per year in the United States.

The research, performed on mice, found that ginger blocked the binding of LT to cell receptors. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and has been used for centuries for digestive complaints. It is regarded as safe by the FDA. This is an animal study, so further research is needed.