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Can Ginger Root Fight Cancer?

By on April 8, 2013

Do you have ginger root supplements in your medicine cabinet? A new study finds they reduce inflammation in the  intestines — a  potential sign that the pills might reduce the risk of colon cancer.

While the study is promising, the research author notes it’s still preliminary. “If you want to add ginger to part of a healthy diet, that’s great. But you can’t make any conclusions about definite health benefits” based on the study findings, said lead author Suzanna M. Zick, a naturopathic physician and research associate professor at University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor. The study was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Previous research in animals has suggested that ginger can reduce inflammation but isn’t potentially toxic to the stomach like aspirin, Zick noted. And scientists have linked chronic inflammation in the gut to colon cancer, suggesting that easing this inflammation could reduce the risk of the disease.

In the new study, Zick’s research team randomly assigned 30 people to take pills containing 2 grams of ground ginger root extract or a “dummy” placebo pill each day for 28 days. They measured the level of inflammation in the participants’ intestines before and after the test period. The amount of ginger in the pills is equivalent to 20 grams of raw ginger root, the authors said. That’s well beyond what most people would eat in their regular diet. 

The researchers found that the level of inflammation in the subjects who took the ginger pills fell by an average of 28 percent, while staying about the same in those who took the placebo.

Ginger, an herb, is found in supplements and in many foods such as  ginger snaps and Asian dishes. Research has supported its use to treat  stomach problems such as nausea and vomiting; the U.S. National Library of  Medicine says it’s “likely safe,” although some people may develop mild  side effects. Dr. Andrew Chan, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical  School and a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said the findings are promising because they hint at how ginger may  prevent colon cancer.



  1. LittleBlackVillage

    November 7, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Using plants, roots and herbs in its natural form has always been the preferred choice of medicine and healing methods for many cultural outside the US. Ginger for example has been used in the Haitian culture on pregnant women because of its effectiveness as a treatment for nausea and morning sickness. It’s also been shown to reduce motion sickness. It also has been use to treat the common cold and soothing aching joints and muscles. Of course the elders in these cultures would know best on what to take or eat and how much should be taken or eaten to help with a particular illness. A lot of the research that is being done on these plants, roots and herbs or these discoveries are not really new but just a rediscovery of what many cultures knew before. My point is that there are many plants, roots, herbs that we have underestimated or taken for granted because we have move from natural remedy to more synthetic remedies. I would not be too surprise on how these plants, roots and herbs can help better our health if taken in moderation. Thanks for the article it’s a good heads up and/or reminder for some.

  2. Staff Contributor

    November 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Do you take any supplement pills? Which ones?

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