Michelle Schoffro Cook February 7, 2014
Exciting research published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that a whole food extract of ginger containing a group of phytonutrients known as gingerols slowed cancer tumor growth and increased the rate at which the body destroyed cancer cells in prostate cancer. The scientists conducted both laboratory testing and tests on humans to determine the effects of a ginger extract on prostate cancer and the results were promising. They compared the results to a combination of only the known effective ingredients found in ginger, but the whole ginger extract fared much better against the cancer.
Additional research published in the journal Carcinogenesis confirmed these results and found that the whole food extract of ginger containing the phytonutrients known as gingerols was 240% more effective than a mixture of the active ingredients alone against prostate cancer in human trials. This shows the effectiveness of the various phytonutrients in ginger when found in combination as they are in nature, as opposed to a select group of nutrients extracted in isolation from the whole gingerroot.
Earlier research in the British Journal of Nutrition found that ginger was effective against prostate cancer. The researchers found that it exerted cancer-prevention, anti-inflammatory (previous research has linked cancer to inflammation), and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants destroy harmful free radicals which can damage cells.
In earlier blogs I discussed how ginger was also as effective as drugs against pain, in which I cited a study published in the journal Arthritis. This study compared ginger extract to the drugs betamethasone (cortisone) and ibuprofen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The ginger extract was as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as betamethasone; however, it was superior to the cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which only block the formation of inflammatory compounds while ginger was both anti-inflammatory and also had the effect of breaking down existing inflammation in joints. For more information on ginger’s effects on arthritis, consult my book consult Healing Injuries the Natural Way.
These newer studies on the effects of ginger on prostate cancer show tremendous promise for the disease; however when only individual nutrients were extracted from the ginger, the results were less than stellar. This research points to the use of whole ginger as having potential in the treatment of prostate cancer. Future research will help to determine exact dosage amounts and effectiveness of ginger on other forms of cancer.
In the meantime, it is easy to obtain more ginger in your diet. Add grated or finely chopped ginger to soups, stews, and curries. It can be boiled for a delicious, warming tea. Add it to fresh juices like carrot-apple-ginger.