This thread will contain results of studies that prove the medicinal qualities of spices.
It will also contain information about some spices and herbs that may be harmful if taken in large quantities.
I welcome anyone to post information however I do request that the information be authenticated by scientific studies.
We all know how some sheep out there love to bleet the sound ducks make when informed of something too good to be true. Thus the need for validity.
Last edited by LoneWolfB on Sat May 06, 2006 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
I will start with some things about one of the spices on almost every table in North America.
That is of course black pepper.
It strengthens the immune system, lowers high blood pressure, improves digestion, alleviates allergies, is antibacterial and antifungal, and fights osteoporosis.
"It [black pepper] has bacteriostatic and fungistatic properties. Piperine, one of the main alkaloids of black pepper, has been shown to possess bioavailability-enhancing activity with a broad range of different drugs. Research suggests that piperine may induce changes within the digestive tract that increases the absorptive surface of the small intestine and improves drug permeation through the epithelial barrier. Human studies show that black pepper tends to slow bowel movements and doesn't aggravate diarrhea. According to Dr. James Duke in the book Medicinal Plants, black pepper contains at least six different compounds known to reduce high blood pressure and four compounds that have anti-osteoporosis activity. Research on one product containing black pepper with six other herbs has demonstrated anti-allergic activity against hay fever and related conditions. Another study supports the usefulness of purified polysaccharides from Piper nigrum as a supplement for immune enhancement. One study found that fragrance inhalation of pepper oil caused a 1.7-fold increase in plasma adrenaline concentration compared with the resting state, while rose oil caused a 30% decrease. "
Wild thyme is effective against internal parasites and blocks cholesterol production. It also helps in prevention of abnormal growths of the breast and colon.
However excessive use such as in tintures, extracts, and medicinal teas should be avoided by pregnant women.
"Taken in large amounts, clove or clove oil may cause vomiting, sore throat, seizures, trouble breathing, sleepiness, intestinal bleeding, and liver or kidney failure. More serious side effects have been reported in young children, even with small doses. Anyone taking medicine to stop blood clots (“blood thinners”) should not take clove supplements, since they may cause bleeding. Pregnant women should also avoid clove supplements."
Sat May 06, 2006 8:24 pm
Joined: 22 Feb 2006 Posts: 8642 Location: Fingerlakes - NY usa
No scientific studies here, but some things I know work and some I'm pretty sure of:
Clove is one of the 3 well known ingredients in anti-parasite treatments (probably the only one that kills parasites in the egg stage).
Clove is also a well known reliever of toothache pain.
Cayenne for heartburn or GERD -worked better for me 2x a day than prilosec 1x a day.
Red Chili Peppers for cancer. (Alternative Cancer Protocols)
Vinegar for sunburn (used topically). I was skeptical of this until I tried it, and found there is some science behind it. Apply immediately after exposure. Consuming Strawberries before hand is preventative: "Strawberries also provide some sun protection because of the high amount of ellagic acid in them. Ellagic acid is an antioxidant that blocks UV rays." - http://massageretreat.com/HealthResourceCenter/strawberries-for-great-skin/
Ginger Shown on the tv show Mythbusters to be the most effective prevention of motion sickness! Also said to be the ovarian cancer killer! (Alternative Cancer Protocols)
Last edited by madthumbs on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:49 pm; edited 5 times in total
"...In laboratory studies, researchers found ginger caused ovarian cancer cells to die. Further, the way in which the cells died suggests ginger may avoid the problem common in ovarian cancer of cells becoming resistant to standard treatments.
"...Liu's lab is also looking at the effects on ovarian cancer of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, and curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric. In addition, researchers at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center are investigating ginger to control nausea from chemotherapy and ginger to prevent colon cancer. "
Allicin is the most powerful medicinal compound derived from garlic and provides the greatest reputed health benefits.
Allicin does not occur in "ordinary" garlic, it is produced when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. The finer the chopping and the more intensive the crushing, the more allicin is generated and the stronger the medicinal effect.
As well as having antibiotic properties, allicin is an excellent anti-fungal and has been used to treat skin infections such as athlete's foot. Be cautious: too much contact with crushed garlic can result in skin blistering. You should also be aware that a few people are allergic to garlic. Garlic is powerful and the potency should not be underestimated.
Allicin starts to degrade immediately after it is produced, so its medical effectiveness decreases over time. Cooking speeds up this degradation and microwaving appears to destroy allicin totally and eliminate any health benefits.
So for the most powerful medicinal effect, crush a little raw garlic and combine with the cooked food shortly before serving.
Don't overdo it - too much can produce irritation of and possibly even damage to the digestive tract.
I only just found out about the possibility of garlic causing cognitive problems. Madthumbs tried to tell me more than once... but I had a little trouble understanding. You see I eat quite a bit of garlic.
If this is true then I suppose one would have to choose between a good memory and a good source of cancer fighting compounds.
There are of course no shortage of things that fight cancer. It may be a matter of choosing a different one.
I recently came across some new studies that showed extremely high levels of antioxidants in Black Raspberries.
Though it doesn't fit in this category I will post it here until I remember to look for a suitable one... huh?
"Recent testing has confirmed that Oregon black raspberries have astonishingly high antioxidant levels. Antioxidant levels, shown in terms of their oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC), are a measure of a substance's ability to absorb oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals can damage DNA, cause cellular change, oxidize LDL cholesterol, and cause premature mental aging. Consuming foods high in antioxidants helps prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke, and possibly Alzheimer's Disease. When compared to other foods, black raspberries have extremely high ORAC values. They are also among the highest foods in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give foods like black raspberries their deep, dark color and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and vasoprotective properties. Research has linked anthocyanins with improved vision, cardiovascular health, memory retention in old age and reduced risk of hypertension."
"...Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) have found that blueberries rank #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful by-products of metabolism called "free radicals" that can lead to cancer and other age related diseases."
ORACfl/ORAC levels of regular Raspberries are 26/24 while Black Raspberries have unusually high levels of 168/77.
ORAC is a measure of oxygen radical absorbance capacity. Oxygen radicals are also known as free-radicals.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
"Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-"stealing" reaction. The antioxidant nutrients themselves don’t become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form They act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease."
Madthumbs has already posted the cancer fighting properties of cayenne in 'Alternative Cancer Protocols'.
For this info there will be no need to cite sources because you can see the proof first hand.
If you ever cut yourself or come across someone with a serious cut pour some cayenne powder directly onto the cut. The bleeding will stop immediately and it will heal with barely any scarring.
It also works for internal bleeding. One teaspoon is mixed into a cup of hot water and of course swallowed. It doesn't matter which part of the body is bleeding because it works by instantly balancing the blood pressure from head two toe.
Dr. John Christopher has used cayenne to save every heart attack victim he encountered over a 35 year period. If the victim was still breathing he slowly poured into their mouth a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of cayenne mixed in it.
He also resuscitated infants with a few drops of tincture of cayenne administered orally.
Maybe now that I won't be eating much garlic anymore I will remember to carry a bottle of cayenne extract around with me. It sounds like it could be the most important item in a first aid kit.
"...Winter savory oil has strong antimicrobial properties against viral, bacterial, fungal and yeast infections and can be used both internally and externally.
The aqueous extract of Satureja montana also has documented potent anti-HIV-1 activity (with an ED of 16 microg/ml).
The active components in the extract were found to be water-soluble polar substances, not nonpolar compounds such as essential oils.
In addition, the aqueous extract inhibited giant cell formation in cells with and without HIV-1 infection and showed inhibitory activity against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.
Ethanolic and aqueous extracts of a related savory, Satureja boliviana, also have antiviral activity against both herpes simplex type I (HSV-1) and stomatitis virus (VSV) and it is likely that S. montana also has these properties.
The total extract of flavonoids of Satureja parvifolia was tested and showed antimicrobial activity against Gram positive and Gram negative microorganisms.
Experimentally, Satureja obovata Lag., containing eriodictyol (5,7,3',4'-tetrahydroxyflavanone), acts as a vasodilator and relaxant. A monoterpene found in winter savory oil called geraniol also has been shown to have tremendous activity in combating abnormal growths.
Geraniol has specific activity in vivo against abnormal white blood cells.
Monoterpenes block cholesterol production within the body, which prevents excess estrogen formation and related stimulation of abnormal cell division."
This sure sounds like something that some of the millions of dollars collected every year for AIDS and cancer research should be put toward studying further.
Thu May 11, 2006 11:55 am
Joined: 22 Feb 2006 Posts: 8642 Location: Fingerlakes - NY usa
... Because the incidence of cardiovascular disease is increased up to fourfold in type II diabetics, researchers have sought out nutrients that can simultaneously improve glucose metabolism and lipid levels. In a recent study published in Diabetes Care, cinnamon proved to be such a dual-action agent. Sixty adults (30 men, 30 women) with type II diabetes were divided into six groups. The first three groups consumed one, three, or six grams of cinnamon daily, while the other three groups consumed equivalent numbers of placebo capsules.
The spice or placebo was consumed for 40 days, followed by a 20-day washout period. After the initial 40-day period, all three levels of cinnamon reduced mean fasting serum glucose levels by 18-29%. The one-gram dose also reduced triglyceride levels by 18%, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 7%, and total cholesterol by 12%. Higher doses of produced even greater reductions in triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol.
Tuttle references Diabetes Care which has free access to the full text of the study below:
Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes
Alam Khan, MS, PHD1,2,3, Mahpara Safdar, MS1,2, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, MS, PHD1,2, Khan Nawaz Khattak, MS1,2 and Richard A. Anderson, PHD3
Diabetes Care 26:3215-3218, 2003
OBJECTIVE—The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52.2 ± 6.32 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period.
RESULTS—After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol (12–26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.
CONCLUSIONS—The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Two studies presented at Experimental Biology 2006 provide new evidence for the beneficial effects (and biochemical actions) of cinnamon as an anti-inflammatory agent and support earlier findings of its power as an anti-oxidant agent and an agent able to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose, and improve how well insulin functions.
In a related study, extracts of cloves also were found to improve the function of insulin and to lower glucose, total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. Earlier studies had shown these positive effects in laboratory studies; the study presented at Experimental Biology provides the first evidence of these beneficial effects in humans taking the equivalent of one to two cloves per day.
Joined: 22 Feb 2006 Posts: 8642 Location: Fingerlakes - NY usa
Saffron / Depression
Doug Skrecky @ misc.health.alternative wrote:
[Saffron extract at a very small dosage of 30 mg/day reduced Hamilton
depression rating over 6 weeks on average from 22 to 10. The effect was
virtually linear over this time frame, with no hint of any reduction in
the rate of decline. By comparison over the same time period, placebo was
associated with small reduction to 18.]
Phytother Res. 2005 Feb;19(2):148-51.
Crocus sativus L. in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a
double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.
Depression is a serious disorder in today's society, with estimates of
lifetime prevalence as high as 21% of the general population in some
developed countries. As a therapeutic plant, saffron is considered
excellent for stomach ailments and as an antispasmodic, to help digestion
and to increase appetite. It is also used for depression in Persian
traditional medicine. Our objective was to assess the efficacy of the
stigmas of Crocus sativus (saffron) in the treatment of mild to moderate
depression in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized
trial. Forty adult outpatients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition for major depression based on the
structured clinical interview for DSM IV participated in the
trial. Patients had a baseline Hamilton rating scale for depression score
of at least 18. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-centre
and randomized trial, patients were randomly assigned to receive a
capsule of saffron 30 mg[sol ]day (BD) (Group 1) or a capsule of placebo
(BD) (Group 2) for a 6-week study. At 6 weeks, Crocus sativus produced a
significantly better outcome on the Hamilton depression rating scale than
the placebo (d.f. = 1, F = 18.89, p < 0.001). There were no significant
differences in the two groups in terms of the observed side effects.The
results of this study indicate the efficacy of Crocus sativus in the
treatment of mild to moderate depression. A large-scale trial is