10 Oct 2011

Back To Our Roots Part 2: Ginger

Ginger is one of the most heavily consumed dietary substances in the world.  Medicinal references to ginger are found in the Sanskrit and Chinese texts as far back as 2000 years ago.  Dietary prevalence for foods such as ginger, curcumin, garlic, soy and green tea are thought to be responsible for the decreased incidence of many cancers in Asia.  Ginger is widely used in Western naturopathic medicine for digestive disorders including nausea, colic, vomiting etc.

Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Care have demonstrated the preventative and inhibitory effects of ginger against ovarian cancer in the lab.  Dr. Rebecca Lui, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, states that ginger selectively targets cancer cells that do not respond to standard chemotherapy. According to Dr. Richard Beliveau, one of the principal molecules present in this root is gingerol - a powerful potential anti-cancer agent and anti-inflammatory. In a 2007 study published in the journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology", ginger inhibits tumour initiation but how it does this is unknown.

So how much ginger does one take on a daily basis?  I was told by a naturopathic doctor to put a 1" piece of ginger sliced up into my pot of green tea.  Three cups of green tea infused with ginger is recommended daily.  Ayurvedic practice calls for a cup of hot water infused with 1 teaspoon of grated ginger before all meals.

There are a couple of contraindications with ginger - ginger is a blood thinner so caution should be exercised if you are taking drugs such as heparin or Warfarin .  As well, ginger is spicy so large doses may cause stomach or intestinal irritation.

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