Ginger has been credited with therapeutic and preventive powers in a long history of herbal medical application. Loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds, the herb is claimed to be among the healthiest spices on the planet. Modern research has just provided one more reason for you to add this herb into diet. It seems that dietary ginger may work against cancer growth.
How Ginger Curbs Cancer Growth
The distinctive spicy aromatic flavor of ginger comes from -gingerol, the main active compound in ginger root. In 2003, researchers from the University of Minnesota tested -gingerol’s anti-cancer activity by feeding a half milligram of the compound to 20 mice three times a week before and after injecting human colorectal tumor cells into their flanks; Control mice were treated the same, except that their food contained no -gingerol. Tumors were allowed to grow until they reached a size of one cubic centimeter (0.06 cubic inch).
The UM researchers reported that -gingerol group lagged in both the number of animals with measurable tumors and the average size of tumors within the group. Specifically, the first tumors appeared 15 days after the cells were injected. At that time, 13 tumors of measurable size had appeared among the control group, 4 among the -gingerol group. By the 28th day, all animals in the control group had measurable tumors; but it wasn’t until the 38th day that the -gingerol group reached that milestone. By the 49th day, all control group animals had tumor sizes of one cubic centimeter. In contrast, the average tumor size of -gingerol group is about 0.5 cubic centimeter, or half the tumor size for the control group.
These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.
How Ginger Can Treat Ovarian and Prostate Cancer
In 2007, the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study that demonstrated ginger’s ability to combat ovarian cancer2, the most deadly cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society. In that study, the ginger works by inhibiting growth and modulating secretion of angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells. The results showed that ginger is capable of blocking the cancer from growing and limiting its ability to spread. The study concludes that the use of dietary agents such as ginger may have potential in the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer.
In 2012, a study by researchers from Georgia State University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that ginger also shows extraordinary effects against prostrate cancer3, which will afflict one in six men in the United States. According to the study, whole ginger extract exerts significant growth-inhibitory and death-inductory effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells.
Mechanistic studies have confirmed that whole ginger extract perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. In other words, the ginger actually tricks the cancer cells into killing themselves. As a result, it shrank prostate tumors by an average of 56 percent.
Add Ginger to your Diet for Cancer Prevention
GSU researchers suggested that regularly consuming ginger as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle might help prevent cancer from even taking root in the first place. It certainly won’t hurt — the root is also renowned for its ability to treat inflammation and nausea and is an essential part of an overall holistic living strategy. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ goes the famous adage,” the prostate cancer study concludes, “that holds true for cancer chemoprevention strategies using dietary agents” such as ginger.
Thanks for reading.
- University Of Minnesota. “Dietary Ginger May Work Against Cancer Growth.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2003. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031029064357.htm
- Jennifer Rhode, Sarah Fogoros, Suzanna Zick, Heather Wahl, Kent A Griffith, Jennifer Huang, and J Rebecca Liu, Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells, BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007; 7: 44. Published online 2007 Dec 20. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-7-44; PMCID: PMC2241638
- Prasanthi Karna, Sharmeen Chagani, Sushma R. Gundala, Padmashree C. G. Rida, Ghazia Asif, Vibhuti Sharma, Meenakshi V. Gupta, and Ritu Aneja, Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer, Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb; 107(4): 473–484. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511003308
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