Ginger, Green Tea and Cancer

August 29, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

A few of my favorite “herbs”, Zingiber officinale (ginger) and Camellia sinesis (green tea), have recently received positive attention in the medical literature with regard to cancer. For starters, two studies published in 2011 have confirmed the efficacy of ginger root in minimizing chemotherapy-induced nausea. A third, and much more surprising trial, reports that “whole ginger extract” possesses potent prostate cancer (PC) fighting activity. This intriguing discovery is based on an in vitro and in vivo experiment conducted in an animal model of PC. Arguably, green tea has an even more impressive track record as a proposed natural chemopreventive agent. Some of the research has examined green tea as a stand alone remedy. Other inquires have tested it in combination with various natural substances such as curcumin and the trace mineral selenium.

Now, a population study involving 60,567 Chinese men reveals that those who drank green tea regularly (more than 3 times/week) demonstrated a 46% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. In fact, the researchers determined that there was a 12% decline in colorectal cancer risk for every cup of green tea consumed daily. However, it’s important to note that the observed protection only applied to non-smokers. These promising findings are part of the reason why a new, 3 year study will evaluate whether taking a concentrated green tea extract can prevent colon polyps in a large group of active seniors. To be clear, nobody is claiming that ginger and green tea present a cure for cancer, but they’re certainly a couple of herbal ingredients worth keeping an eye on.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Acute Chemotherapy-Induced (link)

Study 2 – Anti-Emetic Effect of Ginger Powder Versus Placebo As An Add-On (link)

Study 3 – Benefits of Whole Ginger Extract in Prostate Cancer (link)

Study 4 – Chemopreventive Effects of Coltect, a Novel Dietary Supplement (link)

Study 5 – Green Tea Consumption and Colorectal Cancer Risk … (link)

Study 6 – Protocol for Minimizing the Risk of Metachronous Adenomas … (link)

Whole Ginger Root Extract May Combat Prostate Cancer

Source: Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug 18:1-12 (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements

10 Comments & Updates to “Ginger, Green Tea and Cancer”

  1. liverock Says:

    University of Michigan study showed ginger killing ovarian cancer cells back in 2006. I havent heard whether animal studies are going ahead.

  2. JP Says:


    Here’s the full text of that study.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t find any in vivo animal or human trials that followed up on this preliminary research. This is the closest I found:

    I also searched to see if there are any studies currently planned or underway re: ginger and ovarian cancer. Sadly, nothing.

    Be well!


  3. liverock Says:

    A new study also shows green tea polyphenols help protect brain neurons from RF radiation give off by cell phones.

    Im going to drink more GT, my brain cells are disappearing faster than the hairs off my head!!

  4. Sai Says:

    Dear JP

    Thanks for an informative Post! I regularly have green tea with cinnamon and ginger in the morning. In south indian cooking we use ginger and turmeic for almost all of the preparations. Good to know about this 🙂 Thanks again.

    Best Regards


  5. JP Says:


    Very encouraging! There are so, so many positive studies being published about green tea lately. In fact, I have to restrain myself from oversaturating this site with green tea content! I guess that’s what you’d call a “happy problem”. 🙂

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Cheers to you, Sai! 🙂

    Be well!


  7. J.Starr Says:

    Chinese men have very high rates of gastric cancer, a published study found that as the Chinese migrated to the USA the stomach cancer rates plumetted, but their heart disease rates increased.
    There is no immune society.

  8. JP Says:

    Update: The benefits of ginger in type 2 diabetics …

    J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Feb 10.

    The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes.

    Background: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the functional foods which contains biological compounds including gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone. Ginger has been proposed to have anti-cancer, anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, hypolipidemic and analgesic properties. Here, we report the effect of ginger supplementation on glycemic indices in Iranian patients with type 2 diabetes.

    Methods: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted on 20-60 -year-old patients with type 2 diabetes who did not receive insulin. Participants in the intervention and control groups were received 3 g of powdered ginger or placebo (lactose) (in capsules) daily for 3 months. Glycemic indices, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), malondialdehyde (MDA), C-reactive protein (CRP), serum paraoxonase, dietary intake and physical activity were measured at the beginning and end of the study, and after 12 h fasting.

    Results: Comparison of the indices after 3 months showed that the differences between the ginger and placebo groups were statistically significant as follows: serum glucose (-19.41 ± 18.83 vs 1.63 ± 4.28 mg/dL, p < 0.001), HbA1c percentage (-0.77 ± 0.88 vs 0.02 ± 0.16 %, p < 0.001), insulin (-1.46 ± 1.7 vs 0.09 ± 0.34 μIU/mL, p < 0.001), insulin resistance (-16.38 ± 19.2 vs 0.68 ± 2.7, p < 0.001), high-sensitive CRP (-2.78 ± 4.07 vs 0.2 ± 0.77 mg/L, p < 0.001), paraoxonase-1 (PON-1) (22.04 ± 24.53 vs 1.71 ± 2.72 U/L, p < 0.006), TAC (0.78 ± 0.71 vs -0.04 ± 0.29 µIU/mL, p < 0.01) and MDA (-0.85 ± 1.08 vs 0.06 ± 0.08 µmol/L, p < 0.001) were significantly different. Conclusions: This report shows that the 3 months supplementation of ginger improved glycemic indices, TAC and PON-1 activity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Be well! JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 11/05/15:

    Perit Dial Int. 2015 Oct 16.


    Background: In peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease is lipid abnormalities. This study was designed to investigate the effects of ginger supplementation on serum lipids and lipoproteins in PD patients.

    Methods: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 36 PD patients were randomly assigned to either the ginger or the placebo group. The patients in the ginger group received 1,000mg ginger daily for 10 weeks, while the placebo group received corresponding placebos. At baseline and at the end of week 10, 7mL of blood were obtained from each patient after a 12- to 14-hour fast, and serum concentrations of triglyceride, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and lipoprotein (a) [Lp (a)] were measured.

    Results: Serum triglyceride concentration decreased significantly up to 15% in the ginger group at the end of week 10 compared with baseline (p < 0.01), and the reduction was significant in comparison with the placebo group (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the 2 groups in mean changes of serum total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, and Lp (a). Conclusion: This study indicates that daily administration of 1,000 mg ginger reduces serum triglyceride concentration, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, in PD patients. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 09/27/16:

    European Journal of Nutrition September 2016, Volume 55, Issue 6

    Changes of serum adipocytokines and body weight following Zingiber officinale supplementation in obese women: a RCT

    Purpose: The present randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study aimed to evaluate the effect of Zingiber officinale (ginger) consumption on some metabolic and clinical features of obesity.

    Methods: Eighty eligible obese women (aged 18–45 years) were randomly assigned to either ginger or placebo groups (receiving 2 g/day of ginger powder or corn starch as two 1 g tablets) for 12 weeks. Body mass index (BMI) and body composition were assessed every 4 weeks, and serum levels of leptin, adiponectin, resistin, insulin and glucose were determined before and after intervention. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) were also calculated.

    Results: Ginger consumption significantly decreased BMI, serum insulin and HOMA-IR index, along with increasing QUICKIs as compared to the placebo. Moreover, significant reductions in serum leptin, resistin and glucose were observed in both groups, especially in ginger group with nonsignificant differences between groups. The body composition and serum levels of adiponectin were not significantly changed in study groups.

    Conclusion: In conclusion, our findings demonstrate a minor beneficial effect of 2 g ginger powder supplementation for 12 weeks on weight loss and some metabolic features of obesity. However, given the lack of data in this area, ongoing clinical trials are needed to further explore ginger’s effectiveness.

    Be well!


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