Ginger (lat. Zingiber officinale) has been used since ancient times as a natural remedy in eastern medicine. It has a proven effectiveness against vertiginous problems, nausea and it improves appetite. During the past few decades, other important activities of this plant have been noticed, such as antioxidant activity and anticancer properties. The second feature, activity against cancer cells, is attracting a growing attention.
Anticancer Properties of Ginger
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has performed a research which showed that ginger prevent proliferation of cancer cells and improves the effectiveness of other treatment options. Active substances contained in ginger that are responsible for anticancer properties are not strictly defined, but it has been suggested that paradols, gingerols, and shogaols have a crucial role. These are photochemicals that are present in ginger root in low concentrations, so many supplements containing extracts of ginger root are formulated in order to achieve greater concentration.
Ginger and Prostate Cancer
One of the studies investigated effects of ginger on prostate cancer development in mice. They used ginger extract in daily dose of 100mg/kg of bodyweight and got amazing results. Namely, ginger decreased the growth and slowed down the progression of prostate cancer in 56% of cases. Tumor cells were treated with ginger extract both in vivo and in vitro. Another important fact is that ginger did not produce any detectable side effects.
Ginger and Breast Cancer
Another study examined the effects of treatment with ginger on breast cancer cells. Besides form killing breast cancer cells, ginger showed effects on diminishing several important signal molecules within cancer cells that are responsible for metastatic and spreading properties of this aggressive tumor. The researchers concluded that ginger could be a safe and effective treatment for breast cancer in the future, but more investigation is still required.
Ginger and Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer cells were not exceptions when subjected to a solution of ginger powder in one of the recent studies. Turns out that ovarian cancer cells also undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death) as a result of the phytochemicals contained in ginger. Additionally, researchers suggested that besides anticancer activity, ginger supplementation could help people to better handle chemotherapy.
In summary, ginger could be considered a component of future treatments of cancer, giving its effectiveness against different types of tumor cells. Further studies will reveal which substances specifically should be extracted from ginger and what are the appropriate dosages.
How to use ginger as an medicine
The findings that are mentioned above can propose that frequently consuming ginger as part of a healthy eating routine and way of life may help prevent cancer from taking root in the first place. In general, it is not prescribed to take more than 4 g of ginger for each day, though pregnant ladies ought not to take more than 1 g every day.
Nordqvist, C. (2006, April 17). “Ginger Kills Ovarian Cancer Cells.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/41747.php.
Karna, P., Chagani, S., Gundala, S. R., Rida, P. C. G., Asif, G., Sharma, V., … Aneja, R. (2012). Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer. The British Journal of Nutrition, 107(4), 473–484. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114511003308
Elkady, A. I., Abuzinadah, O. A., Baeshen, N. A., & Rahmy, T. R. (2012). Differential Control of Growth, Apoptotic Activity, and Gene Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cells by Extracts Derived from Medicinal Herbs Zingiber officinale. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2012, 614356. http://doi.org/10.1155/2012/614356