Ginger is well known as an effective natural remedy for treating nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness. In a new study, a pungent compound of ginger called [6]-gingerol, known to have potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities, was investigated for its possible anticancer potential.

Researchers at the College of Natural Sciences, Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea found ginger had novel anticancer activity in both lab and animal studies. Ginger inhibited the spread of human endothelial cells and caused cancer cell death. Moreover, the results show ginger inhibits cancer cell development (called angiogenesis) and may be useful in the treatment of tumours and other angiogenesis-dependent diseases.

In another study from the College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University in South Korea, the same compound of ginger plus another of its unique compounds called [6]-paradol were found to inhibit the development of human leukemia cells. The compounds restricted the viability and DNA synthesis of the cancer cells. The ability of these compounds to stop the cancer cells from spreading and disrupt their natural development was associated with cancer cell death.

The above results suggest that ginger may possess potential tumour-shrinking properties, and may have a future role in the treatment of leukemia and other cancers.

Sources: Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Sep 23;335(2):300-8; Cancer Lett. 1998 Dec 25;134(2):163-8