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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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