Kimchi - Does it work for cancer prevention or bird flu?
March 22 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Gimchi or kimchee is a traditional Korean dish of fermented chili peppers and vegetables, usually based on Chinese cabbage. The word's archaic pronunciation was chim-chae (Hangul ?; Hanja ?), meaning "steeped/submerged vegetable". However, since the pronunciation's drastic change, kimchi is no longer associated with its original Hanja.

In Korea, kimchi is served with most regular meals but is also used as an ingredient in cooking, including kimchi jjigae (kimchi soup), kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice), and other dishes.


Cancer prevention
J Cancer Prevention. 2014. Cancer Preventive Potential of Kimchi Lactic Acid Bacteria (Weissella cibaria, Lactobacillus plantarum). The number of death due to cancer has been increasing in Korea. Chemotherapy is known to cause side effects because it damages not only cancerous cells but healthy cells. Recently, attention has focused on food-derived chemopreventive and anti-tumor agents or formulations with fewer side effects. Kimchi, most popular and widely consumed in Korea, contains high levels of lactic acid bacteria and has been shown to possess chemopreventive effects. This review focuses on Weissella cibaria and Lactobacillus plantarum, the representatives of kimchi lactic acid bacteria, in terms of their abilities to prevent cancer.


Kimchi for Avian Flu? - It works for Chickens
Researchers at Seoul National University have used Kimchi Sauerkraut to treat chickens infected with avian flu. Kimchi is a seasoned variety of sauerkraut that shares Lactobacillus bacteria with traditional Sauerkraut, which may be the critical element in preventing Avian Flu. Both Kimchi and traditional Sauerkraut are made by fermenting sliced cabbage, producing a high level of lactic acid. According to an 2005 BBC report, Kimchi was fed to 13 infected chickens and 11 of them began to recover within a week. South Korean Kimchi consumption is up as a result of this report.


Kimchi in your air conditioner?
South Korean firm LG Electronics is poised to start marketing an air conditioner with a filter made using an enzyme from the pungent national dish kimchi that is aimed at protecting against the bird flu virus. Kimchi, typically made from pickled radish or cabbage packed with garlic, ginger and hot peppers, is renowned for its supposed health benefits -- as well as its powerful odor. Over the years, kimchi has frequently been billed, particularly in Korean culture, as a miracle food with an amazing array of health benefits. During the SARS crisis in 2003, many Koreans believed eating kimchi helped ward off the disease. Researchers in South Korea have been testing whether an extract from kimchi can be used as an additive to chicken feed to prevent bird flu, although there has been little scientific evidence to support the claim.


Korean Kimchi Recipe - How to Make Kimchi
The most common preparation for sale in markets begins with sliced Napa cabbage, which is salted, set aside for hours and then rinsed. Most traditional recipes add plenty of crushed garlic, as well as ginger, onion, sliced radish and fish sauce to the cabbage. And lots of hot pepper, although in some "Americanized" versions, the pepper and fish sauce are reduced. No one quite knows what in kimchi is the magic ingredient.


Food Microbiology. 2012. Controlled fermentation of kimchi using naturally occurring antimicrobial agents. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food. Since it ferments continuously during distribution and storage, the extension of shelf life by preventing over-acidification is a major concern in the kimchi industry. One of the most frequently attempted ways to delay fermentation is to add naturally occurring antimicrobial agents. Many researchers have investigated ways to delay over-acidification by adding minor ingredients, fruits or fruit seed extracts, extracts of medicinal herbs, culinary herbs and spices, and other miscellaneous substances. The addition of naturally occurring antimicrobial agents may enhance the acceptability of kimchi to consumers over a longer period of time but may also have a disadvantage in that it may cause changes in sensory quality, especially if added in large amounts.