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Spices Nutrition Facts: More Effective Than NSAIDS For Pain And Inflammation

Updated on August 11, 2012

The nutrition facts of all spices are more significant today than ever before. In countries impacted by modern medicine, it has become the norm to reach for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve pain and inflammation. The most common over the counter variety of NSAIDS include ibuprofen (Advil®), aspirin (Bayer®)and naproxen (Aleve®). Many people use these drugs because they are assumed to be well tolerated by most healthy individuals. Today NSAIDS are among the most widely and frequently used drugs in the world.

NSAIDS relieves pain, fever and inflammation by blocking the body's natural healing hormones to injury and illness. But these hormones have another important function. They prevent the lining of the stomach from being digested by its own acids. When these hormones are constantly inhibited, the stomach becomes vulnerable. This is the reason habitual NSAIDS consumers end up with bleeding stomachs, damaged livers and stomach ulcers.

Habitual users should be greatly concerned because the onset of stomach bleeding takes place without any noticeable symptoms. These hormones are also involved with the implantation of fertilized eggs and ovulation. Taking NSAIDS can interfere with conception and during pregnancy may inhibit the proper development of a child's circulatory and respiratory system. They are also known to increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Since 1997, The American Journal of Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine the following year stated that over 100,000 NSAIDS hospitalizations and over 16,000 deaths have been reported each year, from NSAID related complications in arthritic patients alone. The severity of the problem is greatly underestimated by the public because the total number of NSAID hospitalizations and deaths is much higher. In 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine made this statement:

“...If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a "silent epidemic," with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS." Another study conducted by Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management show that the number of hospitalizations and deaths remain unchanged since the 1999 study was conducted.

A recent Danish study showed that healthy individuals who use ibuprofen may be at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association and The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had already warned heart patients about the dangers of taking Ibuproben (brand names include Motrin and Advil). Now this new study reveals that healthy individuals have the same increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The study involved more than one million Danes and took place from 1997 to 2005. Those participants whose average age was 39, increased their risk of stroke by twenty nine percent. Diclofenac users(Voltaren and Cataflam) had a ninety one percent higher risk of death from all cardiac disease. Those healthy individuals at highest risk are those who exercise regularly and take NSAIDS for joint and muscle pain.

The Danish study found that stomach bleeding was common among the users in the study. NSAIDS may also inhibit folic acid absorption and deplete iron stores in the body. Researchers of the study highly recommend seeking alternative treatments for pain and inflammation.

New research has found some remarkable properties found in spices. The active ingredient Eugenol, found in several common spices was found to be 29 times more effective in the prevention of blood clot formation and platelet aggregation than aspirin. The research also found that the eugenol was effective at inhibiting inflammation. A condition that is directly related to heart disease. The Central Food Technological Research Institute has studied the effects of the active compounds eugenol, curcumin, capsaicin, allyl sulphide, piperine, quercetin, and cinnamaldehyde found in common spices. The studies show that each compound was effective at significantly inhibiting blood clotting.

Eugenol - is extracted from cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and lemon balm. Medicinally, it is used as a local analgesic and antiseptic. It is often used in lotions for its antioxidant properties.

Adding cloves to food is one way to get this compound. Eugenol can also be found as an essential oil for external use. Some clove oil products are available for internal use. These oils are usually taken under the tongue. Always follow the dosage recommendation on the bottle because it is possible to overdose.

Curcumin - is the active ingredient found in Tumeric. It is a more effective pain reliever than NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and has no side effects. Recently, studies revealed that it strengthens cell membranes, allowing cells to become more resistant to malignancy and infection. Curcumin prevents blood clot formation and oxidation of cholesterol, which protects against plaque build up and blood vessel damage which can lead to heart disease.

Capsaicin is found in chilli peppers, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Not only does it reduce platelet aggregation, it is effective at protecting against cancer. Capsaicin soothes the digestive and protects the stomach against the effects of aspirin. It lowers triglycerides and cholesterol. Large dosages are available in capsule form.

Many spices are available at the supermarket in ground form. They may work as a flavor enhancer but they are deficient in the active ingredients which provide such powerful health benefits. The best way to buy high quality spices is from an online spice retailer or the local spice shop. These spices are organic and much less expensive than buying organic spice supplements. They can be kept fresh in the freezer for many months. Taking effective dosages of whole herbs may seem like a chore at first, but with persistence will soon become a habit. Follow the recommendations on the bottle and use a teaspoon to put the herb on the back of your tongue and swallow with water.

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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I have chronic pain, but try to avoid NSAIDS and other pain relievers (prescription meds) as much as possible. I've learned to live with pain, but I already use some of the spices you mention, so maybe they've been helping me! Thanks for the info. Jaye

    • profile image

      Old Empresario 6 years ago

      Very useful Hub. Thank you for the spice suggestions.

    • profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago

      You're so right about everything you wrote here. Certainly am going to pay more attention to fresh spices as you so rightly point out. Great hub Steve. Thanks.

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 6 years ago from Southern California

      Daydreamer, your welcome!

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 6 years ago

      Thank you son much for writing this! I didn't know any of this!!

    • profile image

      Jasmine JellyBaby 6 years ago

      and where were you with this useful hub when I was dying of stomach ulcers!!!!! excellent hub Dr Steve

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thank you Steve - I wish more people took natural pain relievers. I use cloves, turmeric and chilli powder a lot for so many ailments.

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya Steve, what a great and very useful hub! I don't normally take any over-the-counter medications except to relieve my allergies and this I do only if I really really need to, otherwise I just try to live with it. Great advice. I am now a fan.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      Rosie

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      I used to take ibuprofen daily and ended up at the hospital after having quite a scare. Once I quit taking it for a couple of weeks my blood pressure even went back to a normal level. Thanks for all of this great information!

    • tinaz profile image

      tinaz 6 years ago

      I used to take Advil everyday and I got serious migraines. I went to the doctor and then he told me what seemed stupid at that time " girl, you stop Advil and the migraines will stop too"

      I thought he was joking but i decided to try...well guys it's been 8 years since then with no even headaches!!!

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      The benefits of spice are so many, it amazes me that they are not used more for their medicinal powers. Chilli, cloves and turmeric all wonderful healers in their own way. Thanks for bringing this information together.

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 6 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Thanks very much for sharing, Steve!

      Voted you up and useful!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes, I think natural medication is still safer way in curing our illness.

    • tmbridgeland profile image

      tmbridgeland 6 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      Gonna try the tumeric.

    • dramatis personae profile image

      Kera 6 years ago from USA

      This is interesting and much safer than OTC medications.........great advice and tips.

    • profile image

      Jim Burnett 6 years ago

      Good Stuff, Steve.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 6 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      The biggest side effect of all these useless and dangerous drugs is that the pharma mafia can make a lot of profit. To maintain these profits, this mafia manipulates the people by advertising. Your hub shows an alternative way, thanks!

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Kim! Benadryl is a market name for the antihistamine diphenhydramine. It is no better than any of the NSAIDS mentioned in this article and carries the same health warnings for heart patients. It also may have undesirable short term and other long term side effects.

      Tamarajo, thanks for your comment! If you want to confirm the recommended dosage on the bottle check with the store nutritionist.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 6 years ago

      Great info. I can't wait to try the tumeric as a pain reliever. Is there any resource for amounts to take. I used to make ginger capsules when I was pregnant for nausea. It was most effective

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Another excellent health hub by Stevemark! My husband loves peppers and hot sauce. I never thought of it as healthy until now! I very rarely take aspirin or NSAIDs, but I do take Tylenol PM. I just thought about replacing it with benadryl, as I am concerned about what Tylenol PM might be doing.

    • Purplepassion1 profile image

      Joanne Lombardo 6 years ago from Prescott AZ

      Thank you, very helpful piece. Just had french toast loaded with cinnamon and nutmeg.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 6 years ago from USA

      Steve - You can add to your list. The feds just pulled Darvon and Darvacet from the market because they can cause fatal heart arrythmias. Spice tastes better, anyway.

      Gus :-)))

    • FloBe profile image

      FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've been using cinnamon as an anti-inflammatory for a while and it really does work...I've also had less migraines since I started using it. I use the cinnamon/raw honey combination and I am feeling much better.

    • Sky321 profile image

      Sky321 6 years ago from Canada

      Excellent hub! It's packed with information. Thanks

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Carrie! I think that when people realize how dangerous these drugs are, they will begin looking at the alternatives.

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I agree with everything you've said here. People are taking meds for every single ache and pain and I hope your hub will open some eyes and realize there are other ways. Well written.