Cancer Fighter: Spices for fighting cancer

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By Julia Oyefunke Fortune

Ginger

This spice is probably among the oldest known medicinal plants in history. What we know as ginger, is actually the underground stem of the plant zingier offi cinale. It has been widely used as an herbal remedy for numerous ailments in Asian, Indian, and Arabian cultures for centuries.

In the West, we typically use ginger to treat such things as nausea and inflammation. But more recently, studies are looking to ginger as a possible anticancer agent, more specifically in cases of ovarian cancer where research shows ginger can cause cancer cells to die off .

Other studies suggest ginger may also cause cancer cells to die in cases of leukemia154 as well as stomach cancer. Research also shows ginger may be useful to treat cancer-associated bone loss as it can prevent bone resorption, commonly associated with cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Rosemary:  While this popular plant is widely used as a culinary spice, especially in the Mediterranean area, it is also now believed to have numerous protective properties against various cancers. One compound found in rosemary, carnosol, has been shown to inhibit the production of nitric oxide (NO), a substance known to trigger cancer causing DNA damage by as much as 50 percent.

Other studies suggest rosemary can inhibit the formation of breast cancer cells by as much as 74 percent. Rosemary is also shown in studies to protect prostate cells with its powerful antioxidant activity. This herb contains numerous anti-aging constituents and significant 5-LO inhibitors that prevent the metabolization of the enzyme 5-LO that is associated with the production of a further chemical known as 5-HETE, which is necessary for prostate cancer cells to survive.

In other words, chemicals found within rosemary could prevent the metabolic process required to produce prostate cancer cells. Initial animal studies further show rosemary has an antimutagenic eff ect that may prevent cancer in general from developing by lowering the occurrence of cell mutation, which is essentially, how cancer forms.

Turmeric

Also known as curcumin, turmeric is a member of the ginger family believed to have healing properties because it inhibits the production of the inflammation-related enzyme cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2), which is directly linked to certain inflammatory diseases and cancers, specifically bowel and colon cancer. Some studies further show turmeric inhibits a cancer-provoking bacteria (H. pylori) associated with gastric and colon cancer.

There is further research showing turmeric can also slow tumor growth in cases of prostate cancer. In Japan, researchers now defi ne curcumin as a broad-spectrum anti-cancer agent following numerous studies that clearly show its powerful antioxidant effects.

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