According to a new study, ginger root may lower some indicators of inflammation in the colon. The study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, is an early step toward finding out whether compounds found in ginger root might prevent colon cancer.
“Many studies in cell culture have shown that ginger is an anti-inflammatory,” says study researcher Suzanna M. Zick, ND, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.
Other studies in mice and rats have shown that ginger may help prevent the formation of tumors when it’s fed to the animals exposed to a chemical that causes colon cancer.
Zick and her team wanted to see whether those findings might translate to humans.
For the study, researchers randomly assigned 30 healthy adults to take capsules containing either 2 grams of powered ginger root or a placebo powder every day for four weeks.
It’s equivalent to about 2 tablespoons of ground-up ginger root,” Zick says. “It’s probably not what an average American would want to do every day. But certainly in India and China and Japan, they eat that amount on a daily basis,” she says, noting that those countries have lower rates of colorectal cancer.
But Asian diets may be protective for other reasons, too. Asian diets tend to include more vegetables and fiber and less red meat, for example.
“It probably all contributes together,” she says.
People in the study were asked to take the capsules at mealtimes. They weren’t allowed to use any other kind of medications, including aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) immediately before or during the study, because those are known to have anti-inflammatory effects.