In recent years scientists have been studying natural remedies that have been used in human healing for thousands of years. Garlic is one such remedy, and turmeric is another. Both have potent medicinal properties. But recently, science has determined that ginger may be just as powerful, particularly in the treatment of cancer.
A study conducted by Georgia State University determined that whole ginger extract can reduce the size of prostate tumors in mice by 56%. It was also observed that the ginger reduced inflammation and provided life-enhancing antioxidants.
PloS published another research study that found 6-shogaol, a component of ginger, is better than chemotherapy at targeting breast cancer stem cells. These cancer stem cells are often called “mother cells,” and they implicated in a broad range of cancers. The mother cells create “daughter” cell types that populate the tumor colony. These stem cells constitute only .2 to 1 percent of the cells within the tumor, but they are very difficult to destroy.
Cancer stem cells have the ability to self-renew, and are capable of continuous differentiation. They resist chemotherapy, and instead of responding, they split off and form new tumors. The only way to really get rid of cancer is to completely kill off the cancer stem cells.
The 6-shogaol component in ginger is very active in killing cancer stem cells, and most importantly, it does not damage healthy cells. This is known as selective cytotoxicity, which conventional chemotherapy is unable to perform. That’s one of the reasons chemotherapy has such devastating side effects.
6-shogaol is produced when ginger root is either dried or cooked. This chemical causes what scientists call programmed cell death, which it accomplishes by inducing autophagy, in which cells consume parts of themselves. It also stops breast cancer spheroids (lumps) from forming.
The study compared 6-shogaol to the anti-cancer drug taxol, and the ginger compound was more effective at destroying cancer stem cells and tumors. Even when the researchers increased the concentration of taxol, they found the 6-shogaol was 10,000 times more effective at destroying cancer stem cells, preventing the formation of new tumors, and protecting healthy cells.
More research must be done on ginger, and on other natural substances, to find what works best against cancer. The conventional therapies currently on offer from medicine are simply not enough.