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Ginger: It's More Than Just a Culinary Spice ...
Ghasemzadeh, A. and Jaafar, H.Z.E. 2011. Antioxidant potential and anticancer activity of young ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) grown under different CO2 concentration. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 5: 3247-3255.

The authors say "there is an increasing interest in using appropriate strategies and management practices to improve the quality of food crops by enhancing their nutritive and health-promoting properties." And in this regard, they note that the rhizomes of young ginger (Zingiber officinale) plants - which are widely used to produce a culinary spice - are also employed in the treatment of oral diseases, leucorrhoea, stomach pain and discomfort, inflammation and dysentery, and as a diuretic, further noting that Shukla et al. (2007) reported finding "cancer preventive properties of ginger."

What was done
As described by Ghasemzadeh and Jaafar, leaf and rhizome extracts from two Malaysian young ginger varieties (Halia Bentong and Halia Bara), which they grew under ambient (400 ppm) and elevated (800 ppm) atmospheric CO2 concentrations, were studied for their antioxidant and in vitro anticancer activities against two human cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231).

What was learned
The two Malaysian researchers report that the antioxidant activities of the leaf and rhizome extracts were "increased significantly" by the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration; and they found that the greatest enhancement was observed in the leaf extract. In addition, they say their results "showed strong inhibitory activity of Malaysian young ginger varieties on human breast cancer cells," indicating that "some compounds in Malaysian young ginger varieties possess anticancer activities and may contribute to the therapeutic effect of this medicinal herb."

What it means
Ghasemzadeh and Jaafar conclude their paper by stating that their results suggest that "enriched ginger varieties by elevated CO2 concentration could be employed in ethno-medicine for the management of breast cancerous diseases." But they indicate that "more focused clinical studies are necessary to establish whether these varieties can be exploited to reach cancer blocking or remedial effects in the human body."

Shukla, Y., Prasad, S., Tripathi, C., Singh, M., George, J. and Kalra, N. 2007. In vitro and in vivo modulation of testosterone mediated alterations in apoptosis related proteins by [6]-gingerol. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 51: 1492-1502.

Reviewed 20 June 2012