It seems that the more research is done on the medicinal properties of ginger, the more significant and exciting benefits are discovered.
While many of us are familiar with ginger as a sweet, spicy meal addition and a great digestive system soother, recent research into this amazing rhizome is finding that it shows promise in aiding many other health conditions, including cancer.
A study performed at Georgia State University sought to determine the effects of whole ginger extract on prostate cancer cells. The extract of the whole ginger was chosen because previous research on individual gingerols, antioxidant compounds found in ginger, revealed relatively minor benefits, and the researchers wanted to see if whole ginger fared better.
The study authors state, “the limited success of several single-agent clinical trials suggest a paradigm shift that the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are not ascribable to individual phytochemicals, rather may be ascribed to synergistic interactions among them.”
Indeed, the whole ginger extract had better results than the individual compounds. The study found that the extract inhibited the growth of prostate tumor cells. However, they also found that adding individual gingerols to the ginger extract boosted the anti-cancer activities of the extract even further.
The authors summarize, “Interestingly, combining GE [ginger extract] with its constituents (in particular, 6-gingerol) resulted in significant augmentation of GE’s antiproliferative activity. These data generate compelling grounds for further preclinical evaluation of GE alone and in combination with individual ginger biophenols for prostate cancer management.”
A 2007 review published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology assessed research on the cancer-preventative qualities of ginger. The authors say:
“Some pungent constituents present in ginger and other zingiberaceous plants have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and some of them exhibit cancer preventive activity in experimental carcinogenesis… A number of mechanisms that may be involved in the chemopreventive effects of ginger and its components have been reported from the laboratory studies in a wide range of experimental models.”
On top of ginger’s promise in battling cancer, it has been found to be a potent superfood for relieving pain. Ancient Ayurvedic medicine recognizes ginger for its ability to soothe pain and inflammation.
As we recently reported, ginger extract has been found by some research to be as effective as ibuprofen and betamethasone at reducing the inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. For these purposes, a therapeutic-grade ginger essential oil massaged into aching joints and muscles is a great delivery method for relief.
Ginger has also been long known to be an excellent detoxification food. As we explored in a recent article, not only can ginger soothe an upset stomach and provide relief for nausea, it can also help to cleanse the colon and liver of built-up wastes and toxins.
We eagerly await further research to discover even more of what ginger is capable of. What we already know, however, is good reason to frequently celebrate it in our meals. Add grated or sliced ginger root to a stir fry, on salads, in soups, in teas and more. You can even add it to smoothies for a delightfully pungent kick.
If you have a health condition and are thinking of using ginger in a large quantity, consult a health professional of your choice first just to be safe, especially if you are taking medications.
-The Alternative Daily