Seven kinds of spices and cancer

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Intro > Food as medicine > Seven kinds of spices and cancer

Seven kinds of spices and cancer

Did you know that spices that we use in our daily lives can affect our health?

Curry is the combination of various hot spices, mainly of indian origin, which is used to prepare some dishes. Originally it’s the Tamil name for a meal similar to ragout, pieces of meat, fish or vegetables in a sauce, with the side generally being rice. In this meaning, it is spread across India. During the colonial rule however, the Brits started using this term to name the spice that were used for the creation of this meal. When this spice got to Europe, this misnomer stuck.


In india and the entirety of southeast Asia, this term is only used to name the meal and not the spice, which is named masala. The spice which is used to make these meals is also different from state to state, region to region. There are many kind of curry: thai curry, japanese curry, and others. It is possible to buy it already mixed in many shops. Its composition can be debated but it most frequently includes kurkuma, chilli, coriander, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, mustard, fenugreek, basil, celery, and clove. Types of curry are for instance, yellow, green, red, and others. The miracle part of curry is, according to scientists, mostly Turmeric. Curry has a positive effect during the treatment of esophagus cancer. Scientists found that the elimination of cancer cells begins up to 24 hours after consuming it. This positive effect has also been found with large intestine, prostate and lung cancer.

Rosmarinus is from south and central europe as a wildly growing herb. In slovakia it is sometimes grown in gardens and flower pots. It hates winger. The parts that are used are leaves, taken from the cut branches and dried. In pharmacy it is used to make various medicines like syrups and others, as well as being used to gather silica. Silica is used in the perfume industry and cosmetics industry, In the food industry it is used mostly as a spice for fish, for its characteristic aroma. The leaves contain up to 2% silica, sap, mustard and others. It has a sharp taste and a very aromatic scent. If you are using it for preparing food, you are reducing a number of carcinogenic substances which are created during cooking. This was found by scientists and was published in the Journal of Food Science. Other than that, rosmarinus helps increase the activity of detoxification enzymes and their positive influence on cancer of the breasts and skin.

Basil has a very specific intensive scent. It is a melliferous plant, and very useful as a nectar plant for beekeeping. Basil originates in India and is grown since ancient times. It was brought to Europe in the 16th century, mainly as a decoration plant. Basil is a very easy plant to grow, and that’s why it’s very good for indoor growing. It favors hot and sunny places, where it’s protected from wind and cold. It is used as a spice added to foods, as well as in pharmacy and perfume industry. Its dried leaves used as a spice or made into tea help with digestion. The best time to use a basil is right after cutting, as it gives them the most intensive taste and aroma. The leaves are sometimes used in salads, for spicing meat or sauces. An interesting fact is that basil afterheat treatment keeps its healing powers. Basil is recommended as prevention for breast cancer. This was proven in a research by the American Association for Cancer Research. Basil also helps during flatulence. By stimulating the stomach glands, basil helps create a higher appetite for food. Basil also works as an anti-inflammatory medicine during infections of the mouth cavity, and has an anti-cramping effect during bronchitis.

Chilli Peppers (cayenne peppers) are possible to grow in our conditions. Scientists from the Nottingham University a few years back found out that capsaicin contained in peppers can under some circumstances kill cancer cells. Molecules of capsaicin can bind to cancer cells and jumpstart a self-destruct process. A lessening of the tumor happened in the case of lung cancer and salivary glands. In terms of prevention, peppers were proven to work for stomach cancer. Scientists say that peppers are not good during the early stages of melanoma, as capsaicin hastens the growth of skin tumors.

Cumin are dried seeds of a specific plant, and one of the longest-used spices in Europe. Its usage begun in antique times. It was used to spice bread, potatoes, meat, sauces, salads and other foods. It is also used when having digestion problems. In 2009 it was found that cumin is a very strong antioxidant and helps against cancer of the large intestine, breasts and salivary gland.

Ginger is used in sweet foods, but also in vegetable and meat meals from the asian cuisine. It is also good in refreshing drinks. It is great to relieve nausea during travel, by chewing it a little. Fresh ginger is a hot spice, makes you feel warmer and is one of the bases of asian cuisine. While ginger keeps most of its healing properties in a dried state, it is much better fresh for use in the kitchen. Because it stimulates salivation, it is used to create an appetite, as well as during coughs or colds. Women should add ginger into their menu, because according to scientific research by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, ginger is very good in prevention of ovarian cancer.

Cinnamon is used in pharmacy as a mild aphrodisiac, mixed with vanilla and almonds. It is also given to people with digestive problems, as well as flatulence. Otherwise it’s also used to fight the flu and colds. It also has a strong antibacterial and antiviral effect. In chinese and indian medicine it is used for treatment of stomach or liver problems. Cinnamon also doesn’t only prevent cancer, but also stops its spread. Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in human history, and is even mentioned in the Bible. It is treasured for its high content of polyphenols.