Turmeric has widely been promoted for its effect on cancer, but breaking research has shown that its cousin ginger is just as potent.  Surprisingly, ginger has been found to be more effective than many cancer drugs at treating cancer, including chemotherapy.  There is mounting evidence of some cancer drugs being ineffective and actually accelerating the death of cancer patients.

The Power Of Ginger

A Georgia State University study found that whole ginger extract was able to reduce prostate tumor size by 56% in mice. In addition to positive effects on cancer, ginger was also observed to generally reduce inflammation and to supply the mice with life-enhancing antioxidants.

A recent study published in PLoS found that 6-shogaol, a particular ginger component, exhibits a superior ability to target the root cause of breast cancer malignancy, as compared to traditional chemotherapy-based approaches to locating breast cancer stem cells.

Sometimes referred to as ‘mother cells’, cancer stem cells form the basis of a wide variety of cancers, including breast cancer. The ‘mother’ cells are responsible for creating the range of ‘daughter’ cell types that constitute the tumor colony. Though these cancer stem cells may only constitute 0.2 to 1.0 percent of the tumor population, they seem to possess several almost ‘immortal’ properties.

What that means is these cancer stem cells are able to self renew; they are capable of continuous differentiation, are resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents, and are capable of splitting off and forming new tumor colonies. The only way to fully ensure that your body is cancer free is to destroy the cancer stem cells within a tumor.

The PLoS study found that 6-shogaol exhibited powerful anti-cancer stem cell activity, and is produced when the root is either dried or cooked, two very common uses for ginger already. The study additionally found that 6-shogaol effects occurred at concentrations that were far lower than those required of conventional cancer treatments. The concentrations were low enough that healthy cells were undisturbed, while the cancer causing cells were subject to the toxic effects of the 6-shogaol. This makes it very different from conventional cancer treatments that do not display that kind of selective cytotoxicity, meaning they can really harm the patient.

In addition, the study identified a number of ways 6-shogaol attacks breast cancer. It significantly affects the cell cycle therefore resulting in increased cancer cell death. It induces programmed cell death through the induction of autophagy. It also inhibits breast cancer spheroids (lumps) from forming. But that isn’t the only astounding thing about 6-shogaol.

This study also found in tests of the cancer drug taxol, that it did not show the same level of effectiveness of destroying cancer stem cells and tumors as 6-shogaol. Even when concentrations of taxol were increased, results showed that 6-shogaol was 10,000 times more effective at killing cancer stem cells, stopping tumors from forming, and keeping healthy cells alive.

This new study is yet another indication that the conventional cancer treatment options of chemotherapy and radiation are being eclipsed by reaching back to natural substances found in the human diet for thousands of years. More research needs to be done so we can show that ‘modern cancer medicine’ is not as effective as natural medicine; making our bodies sick while trying to cure a disease is simply not enough anymore.

Link to Public Library of Science (PLoS)




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