Radiation is often used to treat people with cancer when surgery is not an option. However, using radiation treatment may cause side effects that result from radiation-induced damage to normal tissue. Therefore radioprotective compounds, which can selectively protect normal tissues against radiation injury, are of great interest because not only can they protect the normal tissue, they also allow the use of higher doses of radiation therapy. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been shown to display radioprotective effects, and is the subject of a Food & Function review by Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga and co-workers from Karnataka and New Delhi, India.
In their review, the team highlight that ginger and its phytochemicals dehydrozingerone and zingerone possess radioprotective effects in in vitro tests. The mechanism of this action is proposed to be due to the free radical scavenging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clastogenic effects which may contribute towards the observed radioprotection. The observation that zingerone was selective in protecting only the normal cells and not the melanoma cells indicates its potential attractiveness for clinical development.
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Radioprotective effects of Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Ginger): past, present and future, Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga, Raghavendra Haniadka, Manisha Maria Pereira, Karadka Ramdas Thilakchand, Suresh Raob and Rajesh Arora, Food Funct., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2fo10225k