Tremendous news from the world of anti-cancer research today!
In a fascinating new study (Nov 2013) published in Molecular Cancer (an open access, peer-reviewed online journal) researchers in China have discovered that 6-Shogaol, a major pungent ingredient inginger induces apoptosis (cell death) in human leukemia cells both in vitro and in vivo – without side effects
Several other studies have indicated anti-cancer potential for ginger. The researchers also stated that 6-Shogaol “could induce cell death/apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells including human lung cancer, colorectal carcinoma, hepatocarcinoma, ovarian cancer and breast cancer cells.”
What’s remarkable about the results found is that 6-Shogaol appears to act selectively (that’s the magic word!) against the leukemia cells, but but not against normal bone marrow mononuclear cells.
Now it’s important to understand that this news of course does not mean that ginger is considered aproven anti-cancer medicine. That would require many more studies – including human trials. However, it indicates that ginger, already known to be a profoundly beneficial spice to health in many ways, has real potential as an anti-cancer agent.
Another fascinating facet of the modern research on ginger is that it is pointing towards the conclusion that the individual compounds in ginger have a synergistic effect when taken together. In other words, the healthiest way to consume ginger may be to eat it as a whole food.
You will often hear herbalists mention the benefits of “whole plant extracts”. This makes sense, if you take a step back and think about it from an evolutionary standpoint. We are survivors, and we have consumed whole foods from the natural environment for hundreds of thousands of years. Our bodies are fine-tuned to eat whole foods – and the manner of consuming food (and even “food-like products”) that has appeared in the last few hundred or few thousand years is highly anomalous to what we are evolutionarily designed for! It is, in fact, completely bizarre. Foodstuffs are now “created” artificially in buildings; not for reasons of increased health, but for reasons of creating marketable products with high transportability and shelf stability. Why do we think we can do better in a few years of science than foods which we have been fine-tuned to eat over hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection?
I think I am going to make some ginger tea! Wash then chop some thin slices of fresh organic ginger and put them in a cup. Pour on freshly boiled (filtered or mineral!) water, and add raw honey and fresh lemon to taste. Mm mm! Then when you are done, get a spoon and chomp down the ginger slices for maximum benefits. Here’s to us!
The full text of the 6-Shogaol study is available free online at http://www.molecular-cancer.com/content/12/1/135
Big thanks also to our good friend Ethan at The Eden Prescription for bringing this new study to our attention and for his continued efforts to highlight the dedicated work being done by unsung, hard-working researchers worldwide in the search for anti-cancer medicines.