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Cancer-Fighting Herbs and Spices

Updated on March 17, 2020
Faith Reaper profile image

Theresa writes on the topic of health at times to share what she has learned here and there in life. She is a breast cancer survivor.

Spices, Seasonings, Herbs and Vegetables

File: Spices/seasonings, herbs and vegetables.jpg 3 March 2012 13:14 Author Zak Greant from Vancouver, Canada CC-BY-2.0
File: Spices/seasonings, herbs and vegetables.jpg 3 March 2012 13:14 Author Zak Greant from Vancouver, Canada CC-BY-2.0 | Source

In 2011, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and since that time I have learned a lot about the foods we eat and how to prepare our food. I was especially excited to find out that the spices in our spice racks may actually help to fight cancer. Thankfully, I was healed of my cancer.

I was in the habit of cooking with the same old spices, but I learned there is good reason to dig a bit deeper into our cabinet for those rarely used spices. I have so many spices that I use a whole cabinet instead of just a spice rack.

Dig Deeper into Your Spice Cabinet

File: Herbs&Spices.JPG  Author Vicki Nunn
File: Herbs&Spices.JPG Author Vicki Nunn | Source

What Researchers Have Found

According to the National Cancer Institute, two spices in particular, rosemary and turmeric, used in high doses are proving to be successful at warding off breast, skin and colon cancers. This is great news for me as I love rosemary, but have just recently started using turmeric. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its bright yellow glow.

Herbs and spices contain chemical compounds, similar to the types of components found in broccoli and other vegetables and fruits, that may help prevent cancer. Since most spices are plant foods, and plant foods are rich sources of Phytochemicals, they have been shown to have anticarcinogenic properties.

Pennsylvania State University researchers used powdered rosemary in their testing, and the herb reduced the occurrence of cancers by 76 percent. Also, at Rutgers University in New Jersey, in the Laboratory for Cancer Research, researchers found that curcumin, the anticancer component in turmeric, inhibited skin cancers when it was applied directly to the skin.

The effects of high doses of some phytochemicals are so promising that researchers are testing purified versions of the chemicals in tablet form to be used to prevent or fight cancer.

However, researchers have found that you would need such high doses of these spices, more than our tastes buds could handle if you used only one spice. Therefore, it is best to add a variety of herbs and spices to a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, which all work together to fight cancer more effectively. When they interact with each other, smaller amounts of each may be effective.

Fresh Herbs, Spices and Vegetables

File: Thai market vegetables 01.jpg Author Takeaway 14 March 2009 CC-By-SA-3.0
File: Thai market vegetables 01.jpg Author Takeaway 14 March 2009 CC-By-SA-3.0 | Source

Spices that Have the Most Promising and Abundant Cancer-Fighting Components

SPICE
Component
What It Does
Rosemary
Polyphenol (see below for more information)
Inhibits the binding of carcinogen to breast cells and may help prevent breast cancer initiation
Turmeric
Polyphenol
Helps reduce incidence of duodenal, colon and stomach cancers
Orange zest (Limonene)
Monoterpene (see below for more information)
Helps prevent initiation and progression of breast cancer. May diminish carcinogenic effects of tobacco.
Caraway seed oil
Terpene (see below for more information)
Reduces size of skin cancers when ingested or applied topically (the latter was more effective)
Ginger
Terpene
Prevents skin cancer and reduces inflammation, which slows tumor growth
Cumin seed
Terpene
Decreases incidence of stomach cancers
Garlic
Allylic sulfide (see below for more information)
Suppresses human colon cancer cells when transplanted. Also reduces LDL cholesterol in humans and inhibits the development of lung-tumor cells grown in the lab.

Learn More About These Components

Garlic and Rosemary

File: Garlic and rosemary.jpg  Author Lan Bui 26 December 2011 01:55:20 CC-BY-SA-2.0
File: Garlic and rosemary.jpg Author Lan Bui 26 December 2011 01:55:20 CC-BY-SA-2.0 | Source

Knowing the Best Herbs and Spices for Specific Cancers

view quiz statistics

White Turmeric Growing Wild

File: White Native Turmeric side view.jpg Author John Hill 2010  CC-BY-SA-3.0
File: White Native Turmeric side view.jpg Author John Hill 2010 CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

POLL

How many of these spices have you used in cooking: rosemary, turmeric, orange zest, caraway seed oil, ginger, cumin seed and garlic?

See results

Ginger Tea

File: Ginger tea.jpg  Author: Irangilaneh CC-BY-SA-3.0
File: Ginger tea.jpg Author: Irangilaneh CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

Easy Fresh Ginger Tea

If you have digestive problems or need to curb nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach due to motion sickness, then make fresh ginger tea to help with all of these ailments. It is very easy to make.

Just simmer a piece of ginger root on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes.

If you happen to have a cold, just add fresh lemon juice and honey. This combination is powerful in fighting germs. You may also make tea from powdered ginger to stave off a chill. To do this, just simmer a teaspoon of powdered ginger in about four cups of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain tea and enjoy. To reap more benefits and add more flavor, you may add some ginger root or use a ginger tea bag.


Fresh Ginger

File: Fresh Ginger.JPG Author: Miansari66   PD-self
File: Fresh Ginger.JPG Author: Miansari66 PD-self | Source

Remember to Spice Up Your Life


It is past time to go ahead and spice things up! All of us enjoy a flavorful meal when we sit down to dinner, so why not add in some of these delicious herbs and spices to liven up our taste buds and to possibly prevent certain kinds of cancers?

Remember to live this life to the fullest and savor the flavor of every aspect of life!

© Faith Reaper, March 22, 2014

Disclaimer

Persons with health concerns should discuss them with a health care professional or doctor. This article is not intended for medical advice but merely information and background.

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