Ginger & Lemon Balm for Radiation Exposure

Ginger & Lemon Balm for Radiation Exposure

The German Medical Association has finally apologized for the profession’s role in the Nazi atrocities, 65 years after 20 physicians stood trial in Nuremberg. During the trial, the Nazi doctors argued that their experiments were not unlike previous studies by researchers in the United States, such as Dr. Strong’s injection of prisoners with the plague. Nazi Docs were hanged; Dr. Strong went on to Harvard.

We were just getting started. The few examples the Nazis cited were nothing compared to what the American medical establishment started doing after Nuremburg. After all, researchers noted, prisoners are cheaper than chimpanzees.

Much attention has focused on our cold war radiation experiments, which remained classified for decades. Declassification, the American Energy Commission warned, would have a “very poor effect on the public” because they were performed on human subjects. Subjects like Mr. Cade, a 53 “colored male” who got in a car accident and ended up in the hospital, where was was injected with plutonium.

Who is even more powerless than patients? At the Fernald School in Waltham, Massachusetts children with developmental disabilities were fed radioactive isotopes in their breakfast cereal. Despite the Pentagon’s insistence that these were the “only feasible means” of developing ways to protect people from radiation, researchers have since come up with a few ways that don’t violate the Nuremburg code, which states that doctors are only allowed to do experiments that may kill or disable people if they themselves are willing to sign up as experimental subjects.

For those interested in the Nuremburg narrative, I touch on other cases of medical mistreatment in:

One way is to study cells in a petri dish. For example a study I profile in my video Reducing Radiation Damage With Ginger & Lemon Balm entitled “The Protective Effect of Zingerone Against Radiation-Induced Genetic Damage and Cell Death in Human White Blood Cells.” What is zingerone? It’s a phytonutrient found in cooked ginger root. Researchers blasted cells with gamma rays and found less DNA damage and fewer free radicals when they added ginger phytonutrients. They even compared zingerone to the leading drug injected into people to protect them from radiation sickness, and found the ginger compound to be 150 times more powerful—and without the serious side effects of the drug.

The researchers concluded that ginger is an “inexpensive natural product that may protect against radiation-induced damage.” So know that as you’re sucking on some crystallized ginger to prevent travel sickness on an airplane, you may be protecting yourself from the cosmic radiation at that altitude as well.

What else can ginger do? See:

Lots of different plant-products have been found to be protective in vitro against radiation damage by a variety of mechanisms. After all, plants have been utilized since time immemorial for curing diseases, so researchers started screening plants and  found radiation-protective benefits from other plants one can find at the grocery store such as garlic, turmeric, goji berries, and mint leaves (I now add ginger to my pink juice and hibiscus punch recipes).

But this was all just on cells in a test tube. None had actually been tested in actual people—until now.

How are you going to find people exposed to radiation whom you can test stuff on? Oe group that suffers inordinate radiation exposure is the hospital workers that run the X-ray machines. They have been found to suffer chromosomal damage and higher levels of oxidative stress on their bodies compared to other hospital staff (although X-rays can damage DNA directly, much of the damage is caused by the free radicals generated by the radiation).

So, the researchers asked radiology staff to drink two cups a day of lemon balm tea for a month, an herbal tea known to have high levels of antioxidants (as I showed in one of my favorite videos, Antioxidants in a Pinch). The level of antioxidant enzyme activity in their bloodstream went up and the level of free radical damage went down, leading to the conclusion that oral administration of lemon balm tea may be helpful for the protection of radiology staff against radiation-induced oxidative stress.

This is the final installment of a five-part video series on preventing and treating radiation damage. I started with Fukushima and Radioactivity in Seafood on avoiding radiation exposure in one’s diet and then moved to diagnostic medical and dental radiation in Cancer Risk from CT Scan Radiation and Do Dental X-Rays Cause Brain Tumors?. In the last video, Mediating Radiation Exposure from Air Travel, I reviewed population studies of airline pilots and Chernobyl victims that looked at which dietary components may decrease radiation-induced DNA damage and cancer risk.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Image credit: I bake he shoots / Flickr

  • guest

    How about our vitamin supplements that get passed through the airport scanners, x-ray machines, etc.? Is there a way we can protect them from possibly being damaged? Or should we never fly with our vitamins and supplements? It seems that even if we put them in our check-in luggage, those bags are still individually “zapped” by an x-ray machine. Could we possibly put some ginger in our bags? Doubtful, but just a thought. Are you comfortable having your vitamin B12 “zapped”, when you fly, and then later ingesting this now-zapped product? Wouldn’t this change the integrity of the product? Any studies done on this?

    • Toxins

      I dont think any evidence exists that vitamin b12 will become radioactive after going through an airport scanner. It is really a non issue I would not worry about.

      • guest

        also, radiation gets absorbed by anything of “matter”, with maybe a few exceptions. Whatever goes through the X-ray machines at airports (everything!) is effected. To then put this food, vitamins, supplements into our bodies absolutely raises concerns. Radiation gets absorbed whether we like it or not. And this is some pretty hire powered light zapping through tiny little vitamin pills. Most of the science, from what I can tell, has been done on large bodies (humans). If there are people who are concerned about harming themselves by going through the X-ray at the airport, it makes sense that they should be even more concerned about their tiny little pills. Think about, what defense do these little pills (and most food) have against this radiation? At least humans have living and innate defense/protective mechanisms (regardless of antioxidant ingestion) going on.

        • Lew Payne

          You had better stop breathing the air and eating bananas if you truly subscribe to that notion, since the background radiation level is easily detected in these items (and any foods with high potassium levels)

    • mihn

      BRAVO Excellent thinking!!! We DON’T need “science-based evidence”, studies or “”Experts””. What we URGENTLY need is a CLEAR Mind with natural instinct and common sense knowledge.

      We get all the answers we need the closer to Nature and very very FAR from Human influence which has ALWAYS been shown very negative, evil & destructive, complicated, over pretentious and forever wrong !

      I wouldn’t take any supplements. You can have a break and if possible eat locally fresh organic raw vegetables & citrus fruits instead

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I didn’t see this link in your post and I think it is fantastic!

    This is the recipe link for the Ginger lozenges that Dr. Greger makes and uses for not only motion sickness and nausea but also to protect from the hazards of daily radiation exposure.

  • Jennifer

    Feeding disabled children radioactive isotopes? Didn’t hear about that one. That is unreal.

    • Lew Payne

      Here in Boise, we have had 140 times the legal limit of radioactive iodine 131 and cesium 137 in our crops and drinking water, thanks to Fukushima. As good citizens, we make sure to drink plenty of fluids, as the doctor recommends. Our cows have been affected, due to their drinking the water as well. It’s unbelievable here… in total darkness, you can see a faint greenish glow from the MacDonald’s burgers.

      • Thea

        Yikes. That sucks. My sympathies.

  • Coacervate

    It just so happened that I had my yearly dental exam…I asked what is your x ray policy: full set every year. Everything went icy cold when i asked why … like from cousins in love to call your next witness courtroom drama. I had to get out of there. we dont have that many dentists in New zealand…you cant just throw them away…but i did anyway. Funny thing,,,i pay a lot more attention to flossing and brushing now. heh . thanks for the headsup. I am so lucky that i crave ginger all the time. even chew up the slices in our chickpea curry…cant resist. someday we will all be bionic imortals…till then eat ginger…stick it to the Man.

  • Gabriel

    Does ginger powder work or it has to be fresh root?. How much should I take before x-ray at the dentist?

    • jazzfeed

      I put the root through a juicer. The resultant ginger juice is POTENT; a pound of root nets a cup or so of juice. As a liquid it is quickly assimilated but do not drink it straight !! A moderate dose is 1 teaspoon (put it in tea, w/honey or anything else).