Ginger and lemon balm against radioactive isotopes

February 25, 2014 by Michael Greger   The German Medical Association has finally apologized for the involvement of doctors in Nazi atrocities. It has been 65 years since 20 doctors were put on trial in Nuremberg. During the trial, doctors employed by the Nazis claimed that their experiments were no different from previous studies in other countries of the world. In the US, for example, Dr. Strong injected prisoners with the plague. 

Nazi criminals against humanity were punished. Dr. Strong continued to work at Harvard. The few examples mentioned by the Nazis are nothing compared to what American medical institutions began to do after Nuremberg. After all, the researchers noted, prisoners are cheaper than chimpanzees.

Much attention was focused on experiments related to the effect on the body of radiation during the Cold War. They remained classified for many decades. The declassification, the US Energy Commission warned, would have a “very bad effect on the public” because the experiments were conducted on humans. One such person was Mr. Cade, a 53-year-old “colored man” who was injured in a car accident and ended up in the hospital, where he received an injection of plutonium.

Who is more powerless than the patient? At a Massachusetts school, children with developmental disabilities were fed radioactive isotopes, which were part of their breakfast cereals. Despite the Pentagon’s claims that these were “the only possible means” to study ways to protect people from radiation, this is a violation of the generally accepted rule that doctors are only allowed to perform experiments that can kill or harm a person, only on themselves, then there is, if the doctors themselves are willing to act as experimental subjects. Many different plants have been found to be able to protect cells in vitro from radiation damage. After all, plants have been used since time immemorial to treat illness, so researchers began to study them and found radiation-protective effects in many of the plants found in the grocery store, such as garlic, turmeric, and mint leaves. But all this has only been tested on cells in vitro. None of the plants have been tested for this purpose in humans so far. It is possible to reduce radiation damage to cells with the help of ginger and lemon balm due to the protective effect of zingerone. What is Zingeron? It is a substance found in ginger root. The researchers treated the cells with gamma rays and found less DNA damage and fewer free radicals when they added ginger. They compared the effects of zingerone to those of the strongest drug given to people to protect them from radiation sickness, and found that ginger’s effects were 150 times more potent, without the serious side effects of the drug.

The researchers concluded that ginger is “an inexpensive natural product that may protect against radiation damage.” When you suck on a ginger lozenge to prevent motion sickness on an airplane, you are also protecting yourself from cosmic rays at that altitude.

How do you find people who have been exposed to radiation on whom you can test the effects of plants? The group that suffers from excessive radiation exposure are hospital workers who work on x-ray machines. They are more likely to suffer chromosome damage than other hospital staff. X-rays can damage DNA directly, but most of the damage is caused by free radicals generated by the radiation.

The researchers asked radiology staff to drink two cups of lemon balm tea a day for a month. Herbal tea is known to be rich in antioxidants. The antioxidant activity of enzymes in their blood increased and the level of free radicals went down, from which we can conclude that the introduction of lemon balm may be useful in protecting radiology personnel from radiation oxidative stress. These studies may be useful for exposed cancer patients, pilots and Chernobyl survivors.  



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