Nutrition, Diet & the Healing of Cancer (3)

Ginger and turmeric fight cancer

Vimala, S., et al. Anti-tumour promoter activity in Malaysian ginger rhizobia used in traditional medicine. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 80, No. 1/2, april 1999, pp. 110-16.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa or domestica) and other members of the Zingiberaceae family of rhizomes have a long history of use in Malaysian traditional medicine. Ginger, for example, is widely used in the treatment of stomach problems, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, sore throat, cough, bruises, wounds, childbirth, sore eyes, liver complaints, rheumatism, asthma, and many other disorders.

Researchers at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia now report that several members of the Zingiberaceae family effectively block the promotion of cancerous tumors. They tested 11 different species and found that seven of them had strong anti-tumor properties. Their test involved a short-term assay of the inhibitory effect of extracts of the rhizomes (roots) on human cancer cells. They found that turmeric (Curcuma domestica) extracts (turmeric root extracted with petroleum ether, chloroform or ethanol) completely inhibited further growth of the cancer cells.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) extracts, especially the chloroform extract, also inhibited further growth, but the concentration of extract was more critical than for the turmeric extracts. The researchers conclude that turmeric, ginger and other Zingiberaceae rhizomes may be useful in preventing the promotion of cancer and that populations with high risks of cancer should be encouraged to include them in their diet. Further work is now underway to isolate the active components in the plants.

Addenda by Healing Cancer Naturally

1 There are a number of studies showing that curcumin derived from turmeric has cancer-fighting properties, see e.g.

  • "Plant-derived anticancer agents - curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/23700916
  • "Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/12680238
  • "Curcumin: A review of anti-cancer properties and therapeutic activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/21299897
  • "Curcumin causes superoxide anion production and p53-independent apoptosis in human colon cancer cells"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/20472336
  • "Superoxide anion and proteasomal dysfunction contribute to curcumin-induced paraptosis of malignant breast cancer cells"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/20036734
  • "Curcumin induces down-regulation of EZH2 expression through the MAPK pathway in MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/20385124
  • "Anti-proliferative potential of curcumin in androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells occurs through modulation of the Wingless signaling pathway"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/21240460
  • "Chemopreventive potential of an ethyl acetate fraction from Curcuma longa is associated with upregulation of p57(kip2) and Rad9 in the PC-3M prostate cancer cell line"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/22631633
    Conclusion (inter alia): "...reduced the migration and invasive ability of prostate cancer cells".
  • "In vitro and in vivo* anti-tumoral effect of curcumin against melanoma cells" (International Journal of Cancer, 2004)
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/15221965

Similar studies exist for the anti-cancer activity of dietary ginger and compounds isolated from ginger, see e.g.

  • "Cancer-preventive properties of ginger: a brief review" published at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/17175086
  • "Zerumbone inhibits tumor angiogenesis via NF-kB in gastric cancer"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24220661
  • "[6]-Gingerol Prevents Disassembly of Cell Junctions and Activities of MMPs in Invasive Human Pancreas Cancer Cells through ERK/NF- ? B/Snail Signal Transduction Pathway"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24204396
  • "Antimutagenic Potential and Modulation of Carcinogen-Metabolizing Enzymes by Ginger Essential Oil"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24023002
  • "6-Shogaol induces apoptosis in human leukemia cells through a process involving caspase-mediated cleavage of eIF2a"
    (This study done in vivo* and in vitro found potent anti-leukemia activity, ginger shrinks leukemia tumors 91%.)
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24215632
    Full text at www.molecular-cancer.com/content/12/1/135
  • "[6]-Gingerol induces caspase-dependent apoptosis and prevents PMA-induced proliferation in colon cancer cells by inhibiting MAPK/AP-1 signaling"
    This study found anticancer and chemopreventive efficacy of [6]-gingerol, ginger's major active principle.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/25157570
  • "Pilot clinical study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colonic mucosa of subjects at increased risk for colorectal cancer" (Molecular Carcinogenesis, 2014)
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24760534
  • "6-Shogaol from dried ginger inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo* through inhibition of STAT3 and NF-?B signaling"
    Published in Cancer Prevention Research. 2014.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24691500
  • "Zerumbone inhibits angiogenesis by blocking NF-?B activity in pancreatic cancer" (2014)
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24622069
  • "Induction of lung cancer cell apoptosis through a p53 pathway by [6]-shogaol and its cysteine-conjugated metabolite M2"
    Published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2014).
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24446736

Finally, a study researching the combined effect of ginger and turmeric concluded that "the combined effects of C. longa and Z. officinale are much greater than their individual effects", see

  • "Combinatorial cytotoxic effects of Curcuma longa and Zingiber officinale on the PC-3M prostate cancer cell line"
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/23072849 .

2 Turmeric is a major ingredient in most curry powders. Taking turmeric together with some piperine (an alkaloid found in black pepper) has been found to dramatically increase absorption of curcumin. So you can simply use the two spices on your meals or alternatively put them in capsules if you don't care for its taste. Incidentally, even allowing the turmeric to well mix with your saliva increases its beneficial effects according to one study.

3 According to author Kelley Eidem, the turmeric available in India is non-irradiated, while that on sale in the US is typically irradiated. Irradiation changes the herb by rotating one of the hydrogen atoms on its fatty acid compound by 90 degrees which "turns the turmeric from an active oxygen transporter into an active oxygen blocker". So it is paramount to only use non-irradiated turmeric and spices, respectively. Before purchasing turmeric, check with the seller to make sure the spices you buy are non-irradiated.

* Animal experimentation is not supported by Healing Cancer Naturally, for the reasons both ethical and scientific click here.

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