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J BUON. 2011 Jul-Sep;16(3):414-24.

Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) as an adjuvant in cancer treatment: a review.

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Department of Pathology, Father Muller Medical College, Kankanady, Karnataka, India.


Despite acquiring a strong understanding of the molecular basis and advances in treatment, cancer is the second major cause of death in the world. In clinics, the stagedependent treatment strategies may include surgery, radiotherapy and systemic treatments like hormonotherapy and chemotherapy, which are associated with side effects. The use of traditional herbal medicine in cancer patients is on a rise, as it is believed that these medications are non toxic and alleviate the symptoms of cancer, boost the immune system, or may tackle the cancer itself. Since antiquity the rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe commonly known as ginger (family Zingiberaceae) have widely been used as a spice and condiment in different societies. Additionally, ginger also has a long history of medicinal use in various cultures for treating common colds, fever, to aid digestion, treat stomach upset, diarrhoea, nausea, rheumatic disorders, gastrointestinal complications and dizziness. Preclinical studies have also shown that ginger possesses chemopreventive and antineoplastic properties. It is also reported to be effective in ameliorating the side effects of γ-radiation and of doxorubicin and cisplatin; to inhibit the efflux of anticancer drugs by P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and to possess chemosensitizing effects in certain neoplastic cells in vitro and in vivo. The objective of this review is to address observations on the role of ginger as adjuvant to treatment modalities of cancer. Emphasis is also placed on the drawbacks and on future directions for research that will have a consequential effect on cancer treatment and cure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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