Multiple articles on the internet are claiming that “ginger is 10,000x more effective at killing cancer than chemo”.
These refer to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One. The study itself discusses the effectiveness of ‘6-shogaol’ compound found in ginger against cancer stem cells that are ‘chemo-resistant’.
“Since 6-shogaol has been reported as a potent anticancer agent against various cancer cells, we have investigated its inhibitory effect on breast cancer cells and cancer stem cell-like spheroids. We demonstrate that 6-shogaol shows anti-proliferative activity against breast cancer cells and spheroids and suppresses the size and colony forming ability of spheroids by altering the North signaling pathway.”The Study
Another study by researchers at Georgia State University found that “whole ginger extract (GE) exerts significant growth-inhibitory and death-inductory effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells.”
So yes, these studies explore the potential of ginger in perhaps supplementing cancer treatment. But do they claim that it is 10000 times better than chemotherapy, eliminating the latter’s need?
No, Ginger Cannot Replace Chemotherapy
The ‘10000 times’ reference may be traced to a sentence in the study report, which says, “Taxol, even though was highly active in monolayer cells, did not show activity against the spheroids even at 10000 fold higher concentration compared to 6-shogaol.”
But this does not mean the same as “6-shogaol is 10,000 times better than chemotherapy”, as claimed.
FIT spoke with Dr Sameer Kaul, Senior Consultant Oncology and Robotics, Apollo Cancer Institute, who denied any such interpretation.
“To say ginger is more effective than chemotherapy is to be irresponsible, misleading and wrong.”Dr Sameer Kaul
He adds that clinical research has proven turmeric in concentrated and absorbable form has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and cytostatic activity, which allows it to be used alongside conventional allopathic treatments in adjunctive and supportive roles.
“But ginger has not undergone as much clinical research as turmeric in these regards.”Dr Sameer Kaul
Even for turmeric, the fact that needs to be pressed is that it cannot replace conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, but can only be used in addition.
Of course, ginger is beneficial and helps in other ways. Nutritionist Sahiba Bhardwaj elaborates, “Ginger undoubtedly is loaded with nutrients.”
“It is known to have anti inflammatory properties which has made it a popular natural remedy for soreness, inflammation and muscle pain. It also helps relieve nausea, which is why I recommend it to pregnant women. While some research has shown that it may help in lowering blood sugar levels, more studies are needed to establish a definitive causal relationship between any disease and one particular spice.”Sahiba Bhardwaj
It is clear, then, that the studies have been misread and misinterpreted, and claims such as these can be very misleading. Consultations with doctors and proven courses of treatment cannot be replaced.