Natural Health Products as Anticancer Agents: An Investigation on the Effects of Ginger and Chamomile Extracts

Submitter and Co-author information

Patrick MalolepszyFollow

Type of Proposal

Oral presentation

Streaming Media


Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Siyaram Pandey

Start Date

24-3-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

24-3-2015 2:50 PM

Importance of the Project

Programmed Cell Death (PCD) is a vital aspect of maintaining cell homeostasis and integrity, and the dysfunction of this cycle is a fundamental cause in cancer growth and proliferation. Cancer is one of the most pressing medical crises facing our modern world and will affect 2 in 5 Canadians throughout their lifetime. Though there are few notable instances of promising chemotherapies on the market today, nontoxic and selective cancer strategies are few are far between. In light of this it is important to investigate new sources of safer chemotherapies. Natural health products (NHP) are well known in traditional medicine and have been shown to provide nontoxic treatments for many different diseases including cancer. This project investigates the NHPs ginger and chamomile by assessing their capacity to induce PCD in Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With further investigation it is our hope to discover the mechanisms of action that govern the anticancer effects of ginger and chamomile in their induction of PCD.

Existing State of Knowledge

Within the current body of research, there exists evidence to support the anticancer properties of ginger and chamomile extracts due to the phytochemical compounds present within these NHPs. Previous studies on these extracts have been shown that both these extracts have potential in in vitro studies with prostate cancer especially. It is hopeful that ginger and chamomile extracts, alone or in combination may show superior anticancer properties than current chemotherapies while maintaining less harmful side effects for patients.

Research Question

This project aims to uncover the anticancer properties of chamomile and ginger extracts, when used alone and in combination with each other in in vitro and in vivo models of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


Extracts of Ginger and Chamomile will be prepared in various solvents (hot water, cold water, ethanol). Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cells will be cultured in media and conditions conducive for optimal cell growth. This project employs various biochemical assays to access the anticancer properties of chamomile and ginger extracts in lymphoma cells. The following methods will be used:

-Medium throughput screening of the water and ethanolic extracts of ginger and chamomile, alone and in combination, using a WST-1 assay to determine dose and time kinetics which will provide the effective concentration(s) and time point(s) of cytotoxicity.

-Fluorescence microscopy and image based cytometry will be employed to determine the method of programed cell death (PCD) that occurs following treatment with these extracts.

-These methods alongside western blotting will be used to determine the biochemical events that occur between the time of treatment and the time of PCD induction.

-Future work will include toxicity and efficacy assessments in animal models.

Your Findings

Preliminary results show that the cold water and unfiltered ethanolic extracts of ginger and chamomile have cytotoxicity in HD-MyZ Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cells, in a dose and time dependent manner. These preliminary findings provide a foundation for future studies regarding the mode of cell death and mechanism of action of these extracts. It is apparent that natural health products have potential to provide safer and non-toxic alternatives to current chemotherapies. Results from this study may result in the development of natural health products, especially ginger and chamomile as more efficacious and safer alternative for treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


Mar 24th, 2:00 PM Mar 24th, 2:50 PM

Natural Health Products as Anticancer Agents: An Investigation on the Effects of Ginger and Chamomile Extracts