5-Minute Health Tip: Cancer-Fighting Ginger Tea

Dry or cook ginger root, and you produce a highly potent cancer-fighting compound called 6-shogaol. Recent research published in the acclaimed journal PLOS ONE showed that 6-shogaol destroyed cancer stem cells in an in vitro study…and may be up to 10,000 times more powerful against cancer stem cell activity than conventional chemotherapy treatments and cancer drugs. It appears that 6-shogaol can kill off cancer stem cells without damaging healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy agents that are unable to discriminate between healthy and toxic cells.

The Threat of Cancer Stem Cells 

Ginger tea in a white cup on wooden background
Ginger tea in a white cup on wooden background

Cancer stem cells account for just .2 to 1% of the cellular components of a tumor, but they’re extremely stubborn and difficult to kill. If a cancer stem cell isn’t eradicated, it is able to self-renew, split off and generate more cells that then multiply and spread throughout the body, creating more tumors. In other words, to be truly cancer free, all stem cells need to be killed. The researchers write:

“Cancer stem cells pose serious obstacle to cancer therapy as they can be responsible for poor prognosis and tumour relapse. To add into the misery, very few chemotherapeutic compounds show promise to kill these cells. Several researchers have shown that cancer stem cells are resistant to paclitaxel, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, and platinum drugs [8, 16]. CSCs are thus an almost unreachable population in tumours for chemotherapy. Therefore any compound, that shows promise towards cancer stem cells, is a highly desirable step towards cancer treatment and should be followed up for further development.”

When compared to the cancer drug Taxol, 6-shogaol destroyed more cancer stem cells and tumors…and even when the dose of Taxol was raised, 6-shogaol proved 10,000 more effective at killing off the tumors and keeping new tumors from forming, all while leaving healthy cells undisturbed.

How 6-shogaol Targets Breast Cancer

6-shogaol protects against breast cancer stem cells in a variety of ways, including inducing apoptosis (cancer cell death), inhibiting signaling pathways that help the cancer spread, exhibiting cancer-killing properties, influencing the cell cycle that promotes cancer cell death, and suppressing the growth of breast cancer lumps.

Other Health Benefits

Other noted health benefits of ginger include:

  • Boost nutrient absorption
  • Relieve digestive upset
  • Support insulin sensitivity
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve menstrual discomfort
  • Reduce arthritic inflammation
  • Support a healthy weight
  • Ease muscle soreness after exercise

Make Some Ginger Tea

No need to buy ginger tea from a bag. It’s super easy to make at home. All you need is some fresh ginger root. Slice the ginger into one-inch slices (or if you’d like a spicier tea, then grate the ginger) and then use a tea infuser to steep the ginger in boiling water for 5 minutes. According to your taste preference, add a splash of lemon or a dash of cinnamon. You could even sprinkle in some chamomile flowers!