Ginger destroys ovarian cancer cells, says a new study by University of Michigan researchers. The preliminary study results, presented at the 97th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, indicate that ginger shows promise as a treatment for chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer.
Components of ginger root kill ovarian cancer cells two ways: first, by causing a type of programmed cell death called apoptosis, and then by inducing autophagy, or cell self-digestion. Chemotherapy also works by causing cell apoptosis, but some cancer cells can resist its effect. The new research, however, shows that ginger can attack even these chemotherapy-resistant cells by changing their apoptotic signaling, and then destroying them through autophagy. Ginger’s long-known anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to its cancer-controlling power.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 15,000 women will die of ovarian cancer this year. Ovarian cancer usually afflicts post-menopausal women, and those who have never given birth have a higher risk of developing the disease. Fertility drugs may also increase women’s risk of ovarian cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Conventional medical treatment of ovarian cancer usually involves surgical removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix, followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Although alternative treatment with ginger is promising, the University of Michigan does not recommend cancer patients try to treat themselves using ginger until further studies are conducted.