Ginger supplements reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, suggesting that this supplement has potential as a colon cancer prevention agent, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for cancer Research.
The warming spice ginger has long been used as both a culinary and medicinal plant. It is an effective remedy against coughs, colds, bronchitis and sore throats, and also as a nausea remedy. Ginger has been proven to possess numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects and the ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds.
For this study, researchers enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to two grams of ginger root supplements per day or placebo for 28 days.
After 28 days, the researchers measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant reductions in most of these markers, and indications of significant reductions in others.
Inflammation has been implicated in prior studies as a precursor to colon cancer, but another trial would be needed to see how ginger root affects that risk, according to one researcher:
"We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research,"
"Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way."
The 2 grams of ginger extract used in the supplement is equivalent to around 20 grams of raw ginger root, noted the team, adding that this is "probably beyond what most people would eat in their regular diet."
Previous research has also found that ginger's powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients help to relieve the pain of arthritis, and its active ingredients, gingerols, have been shown to kill cancer cells. For example, a recent US study found that ginger extracts were just as good for the treatment of arthritis as the standard anti-inflammatory drugs- without any of their dangerous side effects.
Research Paper Details:
Zick SM, Turgeon K, Vareed SK, et al. Phase II Study of the Effects of ginger Root Extract on Eicosanoids in Colon Mucosa in People at Normal Risk for colorectal cancer. Cancer Prev Res, October 11, 2011.