Zerumbone is a sesquiterpene phytochemical from a type of edible ginger known as "Zingiber Zerumbet Smith" grown in Southeast Asia or "Zingiber aromaticum". Zerumbone is currently being explored for its effects on cancer in general, Leukemia in particular, as well as HIV.

Medicinal Properties of Zerumbone:

  • suppresses free radical generation;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • suppresses cancer cell proliferation accompanied by apoptosis: "abolishes NF-kappaB and IkappaBalpha kinase activation leading to suppression of antiapoptotic and metastatic gene expression, upregulation of apoptosis, and downregulation of invasion." (See Abstract 1 below)
  • counters HIV activity (IC50=0.14mM).

Scientific Data on Zerumbone:

  • Synonyms:
    • (E,E,E)-2,6,9,9-Tetramethyl-2,6,10-cycloundecatrien-1-one 2,6,10-Cycloundecatrien-1-one, 2,6,9,9-tetramethyl-, (E,E,E)- 471-05-6
    • Shampoo Ginger, Pinecone Ginger.
  • Chemical Formula:C15H22O
  • Molecular Weight: 218.340
  • To obtain Zerumbone: isolated from fresh rhizomes in yields of 0.3-0.4% by simple steam distillation and recrystallization.

The Plant:

Zingiber Zerumbet Smith is a tall upright ginger growing up to 3m tall with long, narrow leaves. It has cone shaped bracts. After a few weeks, the first green cone turns red and then flowers appear in the cone.
Zingiber zerumbet
Zingiber zerumbet Smith

Historical Uses of Zerumbone:

The Zingiber Zerumbet variety of Ginger was carried by Polynesians throughout the islands of the Pacific, from Taiwan where it has always been used by the indigenous population, to Hawaii where it is known as "awapuhi". Zingiber Zerumbet Ginger is used in cooking for flavour, in the treatment of swellings, strains and bruises as a poultice, as a decoction for settling upset stomachs, for toothache as an anaesthetic, for the treament of cuts and sores, and for tinea and ringworm. The clear liquid contents of the cones are used as a shampoo. The parts used are the rhizome, the leaves and the cone.

Research Abstracts on Zerumbone

Abstract 1: Zerumbone as treatment for cancer.
"Overall, our results indicated that zerumbone inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB and NF-kappaB-regulated gene expression induced by carcinogens and that this inhibition may provide a molecular basis for the prevention and treatment of cancer by zerumbone."

Zerumbone abolishes NF-kappaB and IkappaBalpha kinase activation leading to suppression of antiapoptotic and metastatic gene expression, upregulation of apoptosis, and downregulation of invasion. Oncogene. 2005 Jun 27;
Takada Y, Murakami A, Aggarwal BB. 1Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Box 143, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Abstract 2: Zerumbone as treatment for Leukemia.
"The results indicated that the extract could ... significantly prolong the life (of the) mice ... . Furthermore, zerumbone inhibited the growth of a human leukemia cell line ... in a time- and concentration-dependent manner ... These results suggest that zerumbone ... is potentially a lead compound for the development of anticancer drugs."

Antitumor effects of zerumbone from Zingiber zerumbet in P-388D1 cells in vitro and in vivo. Planta Med. 2005 Mar;71(3):219-24.
Huang GC, Chien TY, Chen LG, Wang CC. Department of Internal Medicine, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract 3: Zerumbone as treatment for tumor.
"The anticancer properties of zerumbone ... were compared with those of curcumin from Curcuma longa ... . Total ACFs (cancer indicators) were significantly reduced by Z. aromaticum extract ... . Zerumbone is effective as an anticancer agent, possibly by its apoptosis-inducing and antiproliferative influences. ..."

Antitumor activity of extract of Zingiber aromaticum and its bioactive sesquiterpenoid zerumbone. Nutr Cancer. 2003;45(2):218-25.
Kirana C, McIntosh GH, Record IR, Jones GP. CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, PO Box 10041, Kintore Avenue, Adelaide DC, South Australia 5000.

Abstract 4: Zerumbone and inflamation.
"The present study was carried out to elucidate the anti-inflammatory effect of the methanol extract obtained from the rhizomes of Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. and its active principles. ... The methanol extract (p.o.) showed both anti-inflammatory activity and analgesic activity. ... These results suggest that the anti-inflammatory action and analgesic action of Zingiber cassumunar is the result of the (E)-1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)but-1-ene that it contains."

Anti-inflammatory effect of Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. and its active principles. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1991 Sep;39(9):2353-6.
Ozaki Y, Kawahara N, Harada M. Division of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, National Institute of Hygienic Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract 5: Zerumbone and HIV.
"Zerumbone exhibited HIV-inhibitory and cytotoxic activities, while the afzelins were inactive in both assays."

Zerumbone, an HIV-Inhibitory and Cytotoxic Sesquiterpene of Zingiber aromaticum and Z. zerumbet, Nat. Prod. Lett. 10: 115-118, 1997.
Dai, J.-R., Cardellina, J.H. II, McMahon, J.B., Boyd, M.R.

Abstract 6: Zerumbone and Liver Cancer.
"This new anticancer bioactive compound from Z. zerumbet was investigated for its activity and mechanism in human liver cancer cell lines. ... Therefore, zerumbone was found to induce the apoptotic process in HepG2 cells through the up and down regulation of Bax/Bcl-2 protein independently of functional p53 activity."

Zerumbone induced apoptosis in liver cancer cells via modulation of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, Cancer Cell International 2007, 7:4.
SA Sharifah Sakinah, S Tri Handayani and LP Azimahtol Hawariah School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, National University of Malaysia (UKM), 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia.

Natural substances for health:

Ananain and Comosain (from Pineapple stem)
Cinnamon Extract
Curcuma Longa
Ficain (from Fig Trees)
Licorice Root Extract
Petty Spurge and Euphorbia Peplus
Rosmarinic Acid (from Rosemary, Sage)
Spanish Sage
Turmeric Extract
Vineatrol (from Grapevine shoots)
Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)
Withanolide (from Ashwagandha)
Zerumbone (from Ginger)

Monitor Your Own Health

Glucose Meter

Natural-energy technology for living:

Phosolar (phosphorescent solar electricity)
This website acknowledges Pubmed (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) as source for medical research abstracts.

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