Ancient medicine did not have sophisticated medications but old fashion doctors were very successful in treating many diseases by using herbs and spices.
Hippocrates (the father of Western medicine) was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles and he is recognized most outstanding figure in the history of medicine. During several years he wrote medical books with detailed explanations of different diseases, their symptoms and possible cure with herbs and spices.
During last decades modern science start paying more attention to ancient medicine. Several studies confirmed not only health benefits but also anticancer properties of some spices. In most cases anticancer spices have antioxidant properties – their biological effects may arise from their ability to induce changes in a number of cellular processes, including those involved with drug metabolism, cell division and apoptosis (cancer cell death).
Anticancer spices – CURCUMIN (Turmeric)
Turmeric is a yellow powder made from the plant Curcuma longa – very popular in Indian, Asian or Middle Eastern kitchens. The most active component is curcumin (curcuma). Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and it is well known for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory significant activity. Medical studies show that curcumin can both shrink cancer tumors and inhibit blood supply growth to tumors. Several studies confirm that curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer powers – helping fight a host of malignant diseases. Curcumin promotes apoptosis – cancer cell death (suicide of cancer cells). Curcumin has been clinically proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumor, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others.
It is important to highlight that mixed with black pepper and olive oil, human body absorbs curcumin two thousand times better.
Anticancer spices – CINNAMON
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice used in stick or powdered form, both of which are derived from cinnamon bark. The Imperial Romans burned cinnamon at royal funerals and considered it a sacred plant.
Proanthocyanidins, a type of flavonoids in cinnamon, have potent antioxidant capability and may be able to inhibit tumor growth by starving the cancer cells. These special flavonoids may also block the formation of nitrosamines, a carcinogen that can damage the DNA in breast tissue. Thanks to its antioxidants, cinnamon (Proanthocyanidin) can reduce tumor grow.
It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away.
Anticancer spices – GINGER (Gingerol)
Ground ginger has been used in western and European cooking since the time of the Roman Empire.
Gingerol has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor powers. In some studies, gingerol inhibited tumor angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels leading to the tumor), and seemed to reduce metastasis of cancer cells. Gingerol also acts as an antioxidant, scavenging free radicals that might otherwise cause cell damage. Gingerol boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells.
Anticancer spices – GARLIC
Garlic was used in ancient Ayurvedic herbal medicine for ages. No doubts about garlic health benefits. Several studies confirm that garlic is a very powerful anticancer spice – it can decrease the risk of developing different types of cancer (especially colon, stomach, intestinal and prostate cancer). Garlic has strong antibacterial properties as well as the ability to block formation and halt activation of cancer causing substances. It can also enhance DNA repair; slow down cell reproduction and provoke (induce) apoptosis.
Anticancer spices – OREGANO
Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Oregano has not only extremely high levels of antioxidants but also antimicrobial compounds. Oregano is known as a good source of Vitamin K and Iron. Origano contains very specific phytochemical property called “quercetin” which is known to slow the growth of malignant cells and promote apoptosis (cancer cell death – suicide of cancer cells).
One teaspoon of oregano has the same antioxidant power of two cups of red grapes.
Anticancer spices – CHILI PEPPER
Cayenne (red pepper, chili pepper) can be used not only as a spice for cooking but also for medicinal purposes – it was used in traditional medicine to help ease digestive issues, weight control, stimulate appetite and improve blood circulation (lower blood pressure). Its cream is used for itching and inflammation and muscle pain.
Chili pepper is a promising spice with anticancer properties – it induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential cancer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumor cells considerably. Few studies in cancer cells and mice show that capsaicin (cayenne) causes prostate cancer cells to undergo a kind of suicide.
Anticancer spices – FENNEL
Fennel contains Vitamin C, phyto-nutrients and antioxidants which can fight cancer cells. So called “anethole” (major constituent of fennel) resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells – it suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication. Actually anethole induces cancer cell death.
Anticancer spices – CUMIN
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant. Many people like chewing cumin seeds at the end of every meal because of its digestive activity. But only few persons know that cumin has antioxidant component called “thymoquinone” which checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. It was also discovered that “thymoquinone” has the ability to suppress tumor cell proliferation in colorectal carcinoma, breast adenocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, ovarian carcinoma, myeloblastic leukemia and pancreatic carcinoma.
Anticancer spices – SAFFRON
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus – plant native to Southwest Asia. Saffron contains a natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called “crocetin” which is the primary cancer fighting element – it not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumor by half. Similar to other spices, saffron can suppress cell growth in cancer cells to a greater extent than in normal cells.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.