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Ginger Is Effective In Killing Cancer Cells, Study Finds

Ginger Is Effective In Killing Cancer Cells, Study Finds

In spite of the fact that there have been a lot of advancements in cancer research in recent decades, the reality is that cancer remains the fourth leading cause of death in the United States — and around the world. It takes the lives of 7.6 million people a year. Although there are more treatment options than there used to be, most plans of care still revolve around some combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery. However, from nausea and vomiting to burns to the risk for post-surgical infections, all of these treatments come with the possibility of unwanted side effects.

However, the good news is that research is underway to look at more natural forms of cancer treatment — and recent research out of India which looked at the effects of ginger compounds on breast cancer stem cells found that ginger might hold the key to treatments that kill off cancer cells without doing harm to healthy tissue.

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What the New Research on Ginger Found

This new study was funded by the Indian government’s Woman Scientist Scheme and in it, researchers looked at 6-shogal, a gingerol derivative which is found in dried ginger. This compound has been studied in the past on other forms of cancer, but scientists wanted  to see what sort of effects it would have on breast cancer stem cells, which play an important role in the development of this disease.

In this study, cancer cells grown in the lab were exposed to extracts of 6-shogal. In comparison, stem cells were also exposed to curcumin derivatives (the active ingredient found in turmeric) and to Taxol, a common chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of breast cancer. What the researchers found was that of the three compounds, the action of 6-shogal was found to be the most effective for inhibiting cancer growth and inducing the death of cancer cells (called apotosis).

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Researchers also noted that, while this compound was the most effective against cancer cells, it also did the least amount of damage to surrounding healthy tissues. This makes it superior to traditional methods of cancer treatment like chemotherapy which can do significant harm to non-cancerous cells and negatively impact a cancer survivor’s future quality of life.

What We Learn from the Study

This is not the first study that has looked at the anti-cancer benefits of ginger compounds. Researchers working on this recent project noted that shogal-6 has been the focus of similar research in the past in which it has proven effective against the viability of stomach cancer cells and increased the rates of cell death in colon cancer cells. It has also been used, in conjunction with chemotherapy, to help not only kill off cancer cells but to reduce the intensity of nausea and vomiting that chemo can cause as a side effect.

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These are all parts of a growing body of evidence that ginger can truly be effective against cancer development. Animal studies have come up with similar findings: for instance, one recently published piece of research found that the use of ginger on laboratory mice with prostate cancer was able to shrink these cancerous tumors by 56%, while another study found that it was also effective at treating oral cancer in hamsters.

People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consider increasing the amount of ginger in their diets and also discussing, with a herbalist, the possibility of ginger supplementation. However, patients should also be aware that they should not try to replace their current treatment plan with ginger and should also discuss the addition of ginger to their diet with their doctor or oncologist. However, this study and others like it have raised the hope that new anti-cancer treatments can be developed that are both more effective against tumors and less damaging to healthy cells than what is currently available.

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Featured photo credit: wavebreakmedia via shutterstock.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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