Anticancer Spice: Ginger may slow rate of tumours, study shows

An active compound in the herb ginger appears to inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, according to US researchers. In a small trial involving 40 mice who were injected with human colorectal cancer cells, the ones given supplements of a compound from ginger (6-gingerol) showed slower rates of cancer growth.

By day 15 of the experiment, 13 (65%) of the 20 control mice began to develop tumours compared to only 4 (20%) in the ginger-supplemented group. By day 38, all of the control mice had measurable tumours. But it was not until 10 days later that all the mice on ginger supplements reached that milestone.

“The results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may slow the growth of cancers or reduce the size of established tumours,” said Ann Bode, an associate professor of research at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute in Austin, Minnesota. Bode presented the findings at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Phoenix, Arizona.

The herb has long been reputed to have medicinal properties: in India, ginger tea is touted as a remedy for the common cold and studies have shown that the herb counteracts motion sickness or nausea as anecdotal evidence suggested it did.

University of Minnesota, Oct 28, 2003