The health benefits of ginger have been known for centuries. As a natural home remedy, it has been proven to cure an array of ailments such as the common cough and cold. The potency of ginger has also been shown to combat cancer – even better than the leading chemotherapeutic drugs. Read more to learn an array of health benefits ginger poses to your health.
- Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Ginger contains both antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. The active ingredient in ginger, -gingerol, is an anti-inflammatory that inhibits the effects of NF-kB (a factor in ovarian cancer cell growth that may contribute towards increased transcription and translation of angiogenic factors). Researchers (1) found that treating cultured ovarian cancer cells with ginger resulted in NF-kB inactivation in addition to decreased secretion of VEGF and IL-8 (factors involved in tumour cell proliferation and angiogenesis). These results suggest that ginger effectively inhibits growth and secretion of angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells and may have the ability to treat and prevent ovarian cancer.
- Colon Cancer Prevention
Helicobacter pylori is the main culprit associated with peptic ulcer disease and the development of gastric and colon cancer. A study done by Mahady et al. (2) found via in vitro studies that -gingerol (as seen previously) inhibited the growth of H.pylori strains which points to ginger’s chemopreventative effects against colon cancer.
How does ginger combat cancer cells? A study investigated ginger’s cancer fighting properties (3) and found that -gingerol causes cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase through down-regulation of cyclin D1. This isn’t the only way ginger combats cancer – some studies have found that ginger also induces apoptosis in cancerous cells (4).
- Morning Sickness Relief
Morning sickness is a natural side effect of pregnancy, so finding ways in which expectant mothers can find natural relief from nausea is critical. Studies have found (5) that with 125mg of ginger extract (equivalent to 1.5g of dried ginger) given four times a day for four days significantly reduced nausea in women less than 20 weeks pregnant who had previously experienced morning sickness daily for at least a week. The placebo group (given a placebo) had no reductions in nausea. This effect was found after the first day of treatment! Follow-up of pregnancies revealed normal birth weights and gestational age with no effect on cognitive development, suggesting that ginger can be effectively used as a treatment for women suffering from morning sickness.
- Motion Sickness Remedy
Being a traditional remedy for nausea, ginger is often used for individuals with motion sickness. Lien and colleagues (6) hypothesised that ginger improves motion sickness by preventing gastric dysrhythmias and elevated plasma vasopressin. They found that treating motion sickness patients with 1000-2000mg of ginger before undergoing a circular vection exercise reduced nausea, tachygastria, and plasma vasopressin. This suggests that ginger can effectively treat and prevent motion sickness. Juicing ginger raw and adding it to green juices or a lemon tea that is not boiling hot (so you do not ruin the ginger properties) is a great way to consume ginger before going on a plane or driving in a car.
Ginger has been used as an anti-inflammatory for centuries. The inhibitory effects of ginger on prostaglandin biosynthesis in the early 1970′s has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous researchers. The anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols (as seen in point number one) in ginger offer free radical protection by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide (7) which very quickly, under normal conditions, would form damaging free radicals called peroxynitrites.
Trying to fight the pain of arthritis? Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee underwent a six week study where they received either a placebo or ginger extract twice daily. At the end of the study, individuals who received the ginger extract had significantly less knee pain on standing when compared to patients receiving a placebo (8). Only the individuals who stayed on the program for six weeks showed dramatic improvement in knee pain – individuals who ended the program early showed no such effects.