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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 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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