As we all know, October in America is breast cancer awareness month. We were all inundated with messages raising awareness about cancer and on taking steps on how to detect the disease in its early stage and encourage others to get checked. The messages mostly were on the conventional method of treating the disease and finding a cure. Plenty of resources were available for women who have been diagnosed, for their friends and families who were caretakers and on staying active and eating right as well on raising funds for research. Nonetheless, I realized there was something missing from this big picture. How come no one talks about Alternative Medicine? What about natural herbs and spices?
I know that there are plenty of spices that not only boost our immune system but also fight cancer by shrinking tumors, but I have never really got the urge to dig in. So this time, I decided to venture off and dig in deeper into nature's gift to us. Starting from google search to reading published articles on alternative medicines and the use of herbs and spices, I learned that some of the spices that we have in our own cabinets were actually medicinal.
With that thought, I took a little trip to our Brundo spice store with a different set of eyes. This time, I felt like I was stepping in Nature's Pharmacy. Here are some of the items I have researched about and found on our shelves:
Turmeric or Ird: part of the ginger family is highly anti-inflammatory, which means it will act to reduce certain signs of inflammation as swelling, tenderness, fever and pain from a body injury or infection. Research has shown too that Turmeric can help stop faulty cellular division, meaning it will help prevent cells from going cancerous.
Cayenne Pepper and Mitmita contain capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers that gives it the hot spicy flavor. Capsaicin is known to be a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are one of the first lines of defense that the body sends to keep invaders in check and prevent them from causing or damaging our cells. So it's important that we eat food that are highly antioxidant, like fruits such as blueberries, grapes and nuts and veggies. But Cayenne Pepper is # 1 on the list and studies have even shown that capsaicin found in cayenne pepper has halted the growth of prostate cancer cells and even had the power to kill them off. See link:http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/66/6/3222.full
Black Cumin or Tikur Azmud: these tiny black seeds are often used for baking bread and preparing spices. The black cumin oil has been used for various medicinal purposes, to boost the immune system and fight invaders, but studies has shown that not only it increases the white blood cells, our good helper cells to fight diseases but also exhibits chemo-preventive measures. For patients with cancer, the black cumin oil employs anticancer effects by activating tumor suppressor genes, blocking blood vessels that feed the cancer cells, eventually killing these cancer cells.
While these spices are just the few that I have named, there are a lot of other spices and herbs that are medicinal to our bodies. Garlic, Ginger, Basil, Cloves are some of the spices that are packed with anticancer nutrients and are considered immune booster. So don't be afraid to consume more of these. Sprinkle a tea spoon of turmeric in your food, or in your juicer. Take a tea spoon of black cumin oil every day and see the changes. Knowledge is power. Next time look into your shelves before rushing to the pharmacy to get drugs. After all, most of these drugs are made from plants, so start at home.
Ird - Turmeric
Mitmita (also known as Birds Eye Chili Pepper)
Tikur Azmud (Black Cumin)