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The Spices of Life: Spices That Improve Your Health

Wellness News Network
Your Source for Health & Wellness Information

Presented by: Chiropractic Spine Center

February, 2016


Cinnamon has historically been used to help relieve diarrhea and nausea, boost blood flow to the extremities, warm the body and improve digestion (especially fat metabolism). This spice
also helps combat fungal infection and it has been used for weight loss and diabetes management. A 2006 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation states that the cinnamon extract may have a moderate effect in lowering fasting plasma glucose concentrations in diabetics
with poor glycemic control.2 Another study, published in 2010 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, notes that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties, as well as beneficial cardiovascular effects.3

Ginger is one of the most commonly used spices for cooking purposes and the list of health benefits associated with this spice is impressive. Ginger has been used by various cultures around the world for the following medicinal purposes: reducing inflammation, stimulating circulation, reducing spasms and as an antimicrobial agent for wounds and sores. A 2008 review article published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology notes that ginger is a safe and powerful antioxidant substance capable of preventing free radical formation, has anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-tumor actions and is capable of favorably regulating immune functions.4 Morning sickness, motion sickness, indigestion, hot flashes, headache and muscle pain are all health problems that ginger has been used to treat.

Garlic has historically been used to stabilize blood sugar levels, enhance immune function and improve cardiovascular health (by lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and treating arteriosclerosis - hardening of your arteries). According to a review article published in 2002 in the Nutrition Journal, the scientific literature supports the idea that garlic is a powerful agent for preventing and treating atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia and diabetes.5 Another review article,
published in 2008 in the journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, states that garlic preparations are better than placebo for lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension. Garlic may also be helpful for sinusitis, colds and flu, digestive problems, insomnia and ulcers and contains the following nutrients: vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, selenium, zinc, calcium and folate, among others.

Turmeric, a spice grown in India and other tropical regions throughout Asia, has long been used in the ancient healing traditions of India and China for a variety of health purposes. Turmeric, notes the American Cancer Society, destroys or slows the growth of cancer cells in laboratory dishes,
slows the progression of several types of cancer in lab animals and shrinks animal tumors.6 According to a review article published in 2008 in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
turmeric helps boost detoxifying enzymes, prevents DNA damage, enhances DNA repair and reduces tumor formation in animals.7 This spice has also been used in India for healing wounds, treating rheumatic disorders and addressing gastrointestinal symptoms.

It is important to talk with your chiropractor before using any spice for medicinal purposes. Your chiropractor can counsel you on what spices may be most helpful for your specific health needs as well as provide you with relevant information about safe and effective dosage.


What part of a spiceplant is not harvested?
A) root
B) bark
C) leaves
ANSWER: C) leaves

QUESTION: Which of the following is not a spice?
A) Turmeric
B) Ginger
C) Thyme

ANSWER: C) Thyme – it is a herb

True or False? Cinnamon is harvested from the fruit of the cinnamon tree
ANSWER: False – from the inner bark of the tree

References and Sources:
1. Tapsell LC, et. al. Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future. Medical Journal of Australia. 2006. Aug; 185(4 Suppl): S4-24.
2. Mang B, et. al. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA1c, and serum lipids
in diabetes mellitus type 2. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2006. May; 36(5): 340-344.
3. Gruenwald J, Freder J, Armbruester N. Cinnamon and health. Critical Reviews in Food
Science and Nutrition. 2010; 50(9): 822-834.
4. Ali B, Blunden G, Tanira MO, Nemmar A. Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger: A review of recent research. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2008. Feb; 46(2): 409-420.
5. Banerjee SK, Maulik SK. Effect of garlic on cardiovascular disorders: a review. Nutrition Journal. 2002; 1: 4.
6. American Cancer Society. Turmeric. http://bit.ly/10eO0Yz. 7. Krishnaswamy K. Traditional Indian spices and their health significance. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008; 17(S1): 265-268.

Disclaimer: Information contained in the Wellness News Network Newsletter is for educational and general purposes only and is designed to assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Any information contained herein is not intended to substitute advice from your physician or other healthcare professional.
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