Scientists from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University have found that extracts from ginger and turmeric may help prevent DNA damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, a leading cause of melanoma and other skin cancers. Fifteen herbal extracts were created; each was applied to human keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the outer layer of skin that can be damaged by the sun’s rays.
The researchers measured the ability of each herb extract to absorb ultraviolet radiation and act as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals.
Turmeric and ginger extracts absorbed a significant amount of UVB rays before they could damage the skin, according to the results, published in Photochemistry and Photobiology. Each was found to stimulate the synthesis of thioredoxin 1, an antioxidant protein that appears to protect keratinocytes from DNA damage and toxicity to living cells.