Ginger has a long history of use as traditional medicine for varied human disease. Our present study has shown that the aqueous extract of ginger (GAE) interacts directly with cellular microtubules and disrupts its structure and induces apoptosis of cancer cells as well. The IC50 values of GAE, as determined from cell viability experiment on human non-small lung epithelium cancer (A549) cells and human cervical epithelial carcinoma (HeLa), were 239.4+7.4 and 253.4+8.9μg/ml, respectively. It has been found that the apoptosis of A549 cells by GAE is mediated by up regulation of tumor suppressor gene p53 and alteration of the normal Bax/Bcl-2 ratio followed by down regulation of cellular pro-caspase3. The morphological change of cells upon GAE treatment has also been demonstrated. Both the structural and functional properties of tubulin and microtubule were lost, as confirmed by both ex vivo and in vitro experiments. The major component of GAE is poly-phenols (around 2.5%), which consist of ∼80% flavones and flavonols. Poly-phenolic compounds are well known to have anti-mitotic properties, and may be further screened for the development of a potential anti-cancer agent. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.