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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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