Isn’t it amazing if cancer could be cured with natural herbs and spices? Now we know that nature offers a potential cure. This article deals with culinary herbs and spices and their ability to modify several cellular processes that are linked to cancer.
We are uncertain about the direct benefits of consuming certain spices and herbs with regard to protecting against and fighting cancer and its side effects, but their indirect beneficial effects may be recognizable. One such effect is their unique flavor profile, which ranges from strong to mild, with only small amounts needed to create a whole new taste sensation. When cancer-related loss of appetite and taste changes occur, which can lead to undesirable weight loss, adding herbs and spices to your cooking may help stimulate your taste buds and reinvigorate your appetite.
Ginger has long been used in folk medicine to treat everything from colds to constipation. Consuming ginger and ginger products, in addition to taking any anti-nausea medications as prescribed, may provide some comfort for a queasy stomach during cancer treatment.
Rosemary is a hearty, woody Mediterranean herb that has needlelike leaves and is a good source of antioxidants. Rosemary may help with detoxification; taste changes; indigestion, flatulence, and other digestive problems; and loss of appetite. Try drinking up to 3 cups of rosemary leaf tea daily for help with these problems.
Curcumin appears to be the active compound in turmeric. This compound has demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially protecting against cancer development. Turmeric extract supplements are currently being studied to see if they have a role in preventing and treating some cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, and skin cancers.
Garlic has a high sulfur content and is also a good source of arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium, all of which may be beneficial to health. Garlic’s active compound, called allicin, gives it its characteristic odor and is produced when garlic bulbs are chopped, crushed, or otherwise damaged. Several studies suggest that increased garlic intake reduces the risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. It appears that garlic may protect against cancer through numerous mechanisms, including by inhibiting bacterial infections and the formation of cancer-causing substances, promoting DNA repair, and inducing cell death.
Peppermint is a natural hybrid cross between water mint and spearmint. It has been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid to relieve gas, indigestion, cramps, and diarrhea. It may also help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and food poisoning. If your cancer or treatment is causing an upset stomach, try drinking a cup of peppermint tea. It is also sometimes used to relieve the painful mouth sores that can occur from chemotherapy and radiation, or is a key ingredient in treatments for this condition.
Chamomile may help with sleep issues; if sleep is a problem for you, try drinking a strong chamomile tea shortly before bedtime. Chamomile mouthwash has also been studied for preventing and treating mouth sores from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Although the results are mixed, there is no harm in giving it a try, provided your oncologist is not opposed.
Basil’s antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumorigenic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties likely arise from a variety of components including linalool, 1,8-cineole, estragole, and eugenol. There is evidence that basil can decrease induced carcinogenesis. The anticancer properties of basil may also relate to its ability to influence viral infections.
Cardamom is a common ingredient used in Indian cooking and in various parts of Europe. As with many spices, cardamom has been demonstrated to have antioxidant properties. The ability of cardamom to inhibit chemical carcinogenesis was proven by studies and they suggest that intake of cardamom oil affects the enzymes associated with xenobiotic metabolism and may therefore have benefits as a deterrent to cancer.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of an evergreen tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumor growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body.
Clove is derived from flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata tree. Several bioactive components are found in clove, including tannins, terpenoids, eugenol, and acetyleugenol. While no studies have been conducted in humans to date to evaluate use of cloves in cancer prevention, a few studies conducted in mice suggest its effectiveness, especially in modifying cellular detoxification processes.
Although all parts of the plant are edible, its fresh leaves and dried seeds are most frequently used in cooking. Coriander is a common ingredient in many foods throughout the world. One of its principal constituents is linalool. Several animal studies provide evidence that coriander seeds can promote the hepatic antioxidant system. Coriander can also influence foreign compound metabolism.
Thymoquinone (TQ) is the most abundant component of black cumin seed oil. TQ has been reported to exhibit antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive properties. Thymoquinone checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. Considerable evidence also points to the ability of TQ to suppress tumor cell proliferation, including colorectal carcinoma, breast adenocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, ovarian carcinoma, myeloblastic leukemia, and pancreatic carcinoma.
It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Fennel contains anethole, which can explain some of its medical effects: It, or its polymers, acts as phytoestrogens. Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. Anethole resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication.