One of the gratifying things about the work I do is finding so many foods that are powerful cancer fighters. The one I’m going to talk about today may be more effective than chemotherapy or those painkillers called NSAIDs. And it’s almost certainly sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now.
It’s been used medicinally and for cooking for thousands of years. New research is confirming and rediscovering what many traditional healing traditions knew: Its value goes far beyond the kitchen.
According to a number of studies over the past several years, this common spice has huge potential as a cancer treatment, painkiller, inflammation fighter, and more. And no, it’s not turmeric. Keep reading. . .
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For at least 2,000 years, various cultures in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have celebrated the medicinal properties of ginger.
The root-like part that grows underground is ginger’s most frequently used part. But you can eat the leaves, too. Ginger contains a wide variety of antioxidants, and has anti-parasitic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties as well.
17 studies demonstrate ginger’s anticancer powers
Because cancer is associated so closely with inflammation, it should come as no surprise that ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties could have huge potential for fighting cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
More than 17 studies show its ability to fight cancer – even difficult-to-treat cancers, such as lung, colon, skin, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers.
Scientists believe that ginger attacks cancer cells mainly by inducing apoptosis, the process I’ve mentioned often in these pages, in which cancer cells essentially commit suicide without harming healthy cells.
J. Rebecca Liu, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, described the process by saying that “the cells are tricked into digesting themselves.”1
What’s more, the American Association for Cancer Research found that every time cancer cells were treated with ginger powder, they died.
Kills cancer outright
Ginger is a powerful secret for fighting ovarian cancer, the deadliest cancer of the female reproductive system.
A 2007 study showed that ginger fights ovarian cancer by blocking the cancer from growing and limiting its ability to spread.2
A University of Michigan study showed that ginger caused the death of ovarian cancer cells in a lab.3 Animal and human trials are needed, but this holds great promise because chemo-treated cancer has a tendency to recur, and to build up resistance.
In another study on ovarian cancer, researchers concluded, “Ginger inhibits growth and modulates secretion of angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells. The use of dietary agents such as ginger may hold potential for the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer.”4
Gingerol, a compound contained in ginger, was also shown to inhibit the growth of — and even kill — a variety of prostate cancer cells. In a study at Georgia State University, treatment with ginger shrank prostate tumors by a stunning 56% in mice.
Studies confirm that whole ginger extract perturbs cell cycle progression, impairs the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce, and triggers apoptosis.
In other words, ginger basically tricks the cancer cells into killing themselves.
Plus, because ginger relieves nausea and helps limit the effects of toxic substances, it can be very beneficial for those who choose to undergo conventional cancer treatments.
What’s more… it’s non-toxic. There are no side effects.
Studies also suggest that consuming ginger could help prevent cancer from overtaking you in the first place.
And ginger’s benefits extend far beyond cancer prevention and treatment…
A no-side-effects pain “medicine”
that outperforms NSAIDs
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory powers mean it can help alleviate pain.
Four active ingredients in ginger – gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone – have all been shown to reduce pain.
Preliminary evidence shows benefits for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava has extensively researched the medicinal and therapeutic uses of spices including ginger.
In a three-month study, Dr. Srivastava gave ginger once daily to patients suffering from arthritis. By the end of the study, the majority of study participants experienced less pain, morning stiffness, and swelling.
NSAIDs – a category that includes drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, plus a number of prescription medicines — merely inhibit the formation of new inflammatory compounds. NSAIDs reduce pain, but put you at risk of many side effects in the process, some of which can lead to death.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger not only inhibit new inflammatory compounds but go beyond anything NSAIDs do and break down existing inflammation as well.
So ginger can get at the root of the problem and get rid of pain completely.
Settles your stomach
I first heard of ginger as a great medicinal herb for stomach or intestinal upset. That still remains true.
Ginger is very commonly used to treat nausea, motion sickness, and digestive problems. Researchers have found it’s helpful for relieving morning sickness during pregnancy, motion sickness during travel, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Ginger is also beneficial for sailors suffering from seasickness. In one study of 80 sailors prone to motion sickness, those who took powdered ginger experienced less vomiting and fewer cold sweats than those taking the placebo.5
That’s why so many people drink ginger ale to soothe stomach problems. But I recommend using lower-sugar methods to claim ginger’s benefits.
Besides relieving pain and nausea, ginger also aids digestion and discourages flatulence, without the negative side effects conventional treatments involve.
Ginger can also help protect against ulcers.
Best ways to get a dose of ginger
Largely due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can have a positive impact on the treatment of more than 100 diseases, ranging from asthma and bronchitis to PMS and headaches (including migraine), to joint pain and cancer.
Depending on the seriousness of the illness you’re treating, you can take ginger in a number of ways.
It’s available as a root, supplement, powder, and even as an essential oil.
The root can be purchased in the produce section of your grocery store. A little goes a long way, so just break off a small section and experiment till you see how strong you like it. Chop it up into tiny pieces and boil in water to make a tea. Or include it in a wide variety of foods such as stir fries, soups, marinades, sauces, fish, and smoothies.
When you take ginger as a supplement, the recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg per day, although it’s safe even at much higher doses as far as we can learn.
While scientists believe that ginger is largely side effect-free, there’s one exception…
If thinner blood could pose a problem, you should avoid it, especially prior to surgery or if you already take a blood-thinner such as Coumadin. This feature is not unusual among food supplements. Fish oil and enzyme supplements also act as blood thinners. So do NSAIDs.
In our last issue we discussed a potent cancer treatment that doesn’t cost a thing. If you missed it, we’re rerunning the article just below this.