Ginger naturally contains a compound that is up to 10,000 times more effective than chemotherapy drugs at killing the cancer stem cells that make malignant tumors so dangerous, according to a study published in the journal PLoS.
The chemical, known as 6-shogaol, is produced when ginger roots are dried or cooked. The researchers found that 6-shogaol is active against cancer stem cells at concentrations that are harmless to healthy cells. This is dramatically different from conventional chemotherapy, which has serious side effects largely because it kills healthy as well as cancerous cells.
Cells responsible for 90 percent of cancer death?
Like other stem cells, cancer stem cells possess the ability to differentiate into various different cell types. In the case of cancer, stem cells differentiate into the various malignant cells that make up a tumor colony. Although they make up less than 1 percent of the cells in any given tumor, stem cells are impervious to nearly all known or experimental chemotherapy agents. These cells are also able to replicate indefinitely, and they are capable of splitting off from their originating colony to start new tumors elsewhere. They are key players in the process of metastasis, which is responsible for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.