7 Cancer fighting herbs & spices!

More and more people are turning to alternative therapy for cancer, to find relief from the symptoms of the condition, alleviate the side effects of radiation or chemotherapy or to prevent spreading of the lethal disease.

Cancer takes years to develop, hence prevention, if possible, is preferable to treatment. When it comes to protecting ourselves against the disease, our eating habits can tip the scales in our favor. Believe it or not, but our humble kitchen spices known for their culinary versatility could be a powerful weapon to fight certain pathogens that can cause cancer.

By incorporating spices and herbs that help naturally fight cancer we can change what may have been a cancer diagnosis. The MedGuru suggests 7 specific spices and herbs that will help you steer clear of cancer.

1.Turmeric:Turmeric, the spice used extensively in Indian curries, is getting a lot of attention as a potentially powerful cancer fighter. Laboratory research shows that curcumin (a derivative of the spice turmeric) has potent anti-cancer properties that help to quell the inflammation that contributes to tumor growth. Curcumin has been clinically shown to protect against colon, prostate, ovarian cancer and melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

2.Oregano:Another common spice, oregano has extremely high levels of antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. It contains the phytochemical Quercetin, which is known to restrict the growth of malignant cells in the body and also induce apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells. Moreover, oregano is a rich source of Vitamin K and Iron.

3. Garlic: Garlic, a spice that provides a typical flavor to food thanks to its sulphur-containing ingredients, is being recognized as a very powerful anti-cancer agent. Preliminary research indicates that garlic can slash the risk of developing cancers especially those of stomach, intestinal, colon and prostate. Garlic has strong antibacterial properties and the ability to halt activation of cancer-causing substances.

4. Tulsi: With its antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties, basil (tulsi) is touted as a wonder herb known to treat multiple ailments. Now new evidence suggests that basil also helps prevent the negative effects of oxidative stress in the body. Carnosol, one of its components has shown promising results in liver, prostate and stomach cancer as well as leukaemia. Basil is believed to decrease carcinogenesis (new tumors) and help protect against cancer.

5.Saffron:An exotic herb used in the preparation of desserts, saffron is now being evaluated for anti-cancer properties. Animal studies revealed that crocetin, a natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid found in saffron, not only slowed the progression of the malignancy but also decreased the size of the tumor by half. In liver cancer research, saffron was found to promote apoptosis and block the inflammatory response.

6. Rosemary:A well-known garden herb used abundantly in many Mediterranean dishes, rosemary is loaded with antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that rosemary can aid in preventing oxidative stress, one of the causes of cancer. It also affects the capability of cancer cells to invade neighboring tissues.

7. Parsley:Yet another example of the healing power of nature and the medical efficacy of phytochemicals found in herbs is that of parsley. This lush green herb used primarily as a garnish has grabbed eyeballs of medics. Parsley contains apigenine, (natural oil) that has been shown to stem the growth of blood vessels that supply cancerous tumors with nutrients.

Edited by Neelam Goswami on 21-03-2014.