Can Ginger Root Help Cancer Treatment?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant native to India and China. Ginger contains some important active components, including volatile oils and phenol compounds such as gingerols, shogaols and zingerone. Gingerols, shogaols, zingerone, and volatile oils give ginger its distinct aroma, as well as its health effects. Some pungent components present in ginger and other zingiberaceous plants have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and some of them exhibit cancer preventive effect in experimental carcinogenesis.

Ginger Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Ginger has been known to display antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative effects, indicating its promising role as a chemopreventive agent. Therapy with (6)-gingerol, has been found to have the activity to kill cancerous cells according to a study reported in March 2007 edition of  Molecular Nutrition and Clinical Research. Researchers at the “University of Michigan” have showed that ginger root  kills ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptotic and autophagic cell death. “In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that ginger induced cell death at a similar or better rate than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat ovarian cancer,” says Jennifer Rhode, M.D. a gynecologic oncology fellow at the U-M Medical School.

In a 2003 study, rats with colorectal tumors who were injected with ginger had significantly less tumor growth and spreading than control rats. A new study was performed at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute in Austin, that show consuming ginger root may reduce tumors and aid in cancer prevention. Researchers at the “University of Minnesota” evaluated the effect of ginger on lab mice injected with human bowel cancer tumour cells. Twenty mice were fed the ginger before receiving therapy. A control group of mice was also injected with cancer but not fed the spice. After 2 weeks, 13 tumours had appeared among the control mice, but just 4 among the ginger-treated animals. Ginger root reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, according to a study  reported in “Cancer Prevention Research“. By researchers at the University of  Michigan Medical School, enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to 2 g of ginger per day or placebo for 28 days. After 28 days, the scientists measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant decrease in most of these markers, and trends toward significant decrease in others.

Some researches demonstrate that ginger root may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, kill cancerous cells.  Detailed studies have approved that  ginger root 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. A study out of  “Georgia State University” demonstrated  ginger root extract was able to shrink prostate tumor size by 56 % in mice. Tumour tissue from ginger root extract -treated mice demonstrated reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods.

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