Ginger, the underground rhizome of Zingiber officinale, is a spice that is popular throughout the world. It is an important medicinal plant in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The scientific evidence for the anticancer properties of this herb is summarized as under:
The anticancer properties of ginger have been attributed to pungent molecules—vallinoids. 6-gingerol, 6-paradol, and others such as shogaols and zingerone (Shukla & Singh, 2007). 6-Shogaol was observed to have the potential of an effective immunotherapeutic agent for cancers (Hsu et al., 2015). Similarly, 6-gingerol was effective against gastric cancer cells in animal trials (Ishiguro et al., 2007).
Ginger extract was shown to impact liver cancer cells significantly (Habib et al., 2008). Its action in inhibiting mouse skin cancer has also been investigated (Katiyar et al., 1996). It also inhibits ovarian cancer cell growth (Rhode et al., 2007).
Ginger extract on colon cancer cells was observed to suppress their growth (Abdullah et al., 2010). Terpenoids from a steam-distilled extract of ginger (SDGE) were useful in treating endometrial cancer (Liu et al., 2012). Ginger extracts have also been found to have the potential as an anticancer agent on breast cancer cells (Elkady et al., 2012).
Chemotherapy often leads to nausea and vomiting. Anticipatory nausea that develops before chemotherapy is poorly controlled with available anti-vomiting medicine. Clinical trials with patients showed that adding ginger to standard anti-nausea medicine is useful in reducing nausea. These were observed in phase 2 and 3 trials with cancer patients (Hickok et al., 2007). We appear to be close to conclusive evidence of the role of ginger as an anti-nausea medicine.
Another study in which ginger supplementation at a daily dose of 0.5–1 g was shown to significantly reduce the severity of acute chemotherapy-induced nausea in adult cancer patients (Ryan et al., 2012).
Studies have shown that ginger contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiproliferative compounds, potentially preventing cancer cell growth and spread. Ginger has also been shown to potentially impact certain cancer cells, such as ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic, and breast cancer.
Ginger contains compounds, such as gingerols and shgaols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties may help boost the immune system by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, weakening the immune response.
Additionally, some animal studies have shown that ginger may enhance the function of certain immune cells, such as T-cells and natural killer cells, which play a key role in the immune response.
However, it is important to note that the research in this area is still limited, and more studies on human subjects are needed to understand ginger’s effects on the immune system fully. Ginger is not a cure for immune-related conditions and should not be used as a substitute for conventional medical treatment.
However, it is important to note that while there is evidence to support the potential anti-cancer properties of this spice, it is not a cure for cancer and should not be used as a substitute for conventional medical treatment. Additionally, more research is needed to fully understand ginger’s effects on cancer and determine the appropriate dose and method of consumption.
To know more about the anti-cancer properties of ginger and other herbs, you can check here.