Eat Gingerly for Your Health

CURE, Winter 2011, Volume 10, Issue 4

Ginger has been investigated for its anti-nausea proper ties, and it’s back in the news as a possible preventive for colon cancer.

Ginger has been investigated for its anti-nausea properties, and it’s back in the news as a possible preventive for colon cancer.

In a National Cancer Institute-funded phase 2 study conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, researchers found that ginger reduces inflammation in the intestines, which could reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Specifically, ginger acts against the COX enzymes, which influence the chronic inflammation associated with colon cancer.

The study looked at 30 subjects who were randomized to receive either 2 grams of ground ginger root extract or a placebo each day for 28 days. The inflammation of the subjects who took the ginger decreased by an average of 28 percent, according to Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH, lead author of the study and a naturopathic physician (a four-year degree program that supplements a traditional medical education—one of seven programs in North America).

While no one is recommending daily ginger yet, Zick says the research should continue.

“We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research,” she says. “Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way."