Prevent and Treat Cancer with Herbs & Spices

Updated: Apr 20




Everybody can likely agree, that cancer is a devastating and life changing disease.

Fortunately, there is something you can do...


There are scientifically proven ways to:

  • Prevent cancer

  • Improve the outcome of cancer treatments

  • Improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients

In this article you are going to read how herbs & spices can contribute to cancer prevention and how they can assist in cancer treatment.



DISCLAIMER:

Herbs and spices is 1 out of 14 key points that are essential for both cancer prevention and the improvement of cancer treatment.

You can find more information towards the end of the article.

WARNING:

This article contains graphic images of Rocky Balboa getting physically abused by an apple. 
A sincere apology goes out to all Rocky fans in advance...

Although you're probably used to see him get beat up.


Your Diet and Your Immune System


There are two main pillars that form the foundation of the information presented in this article:


  1. Diet

  2. Immune system


This information has already been mentioned in the article: How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Vegetables, Fruits and Mushrooms.


Feel free to go directly to the chapter Intense Herbs & Spices, if you have already read it.


If you haven't read it yet, it's recommended to read this part first before you proceed.



1. Diet



Diet is an important risk factor for cancer. (1) Even, in respect to the deadlier and hard to treat pancreatic cancer.


Here's why:


According to some research, approximately 50% of pancreatic cancer cases are caused by diet. (2)

This doesn't include weight problems though.


That matters, because...


Obesity is a well-known risk factor for (pancreatic) cancer and weight and diet are immensely close connected. (2)


That means:


This number is actually higher.


Many pharmaceutical companies are increasingly interested in developing multi-targeted therapies, to increase the effectiveness of current cancer treatments.


However:


Many natural, plant-based products multi-target naturally, but because pharmaceutical companies are not usually able to secure intellectual property rights to plant-based products, the development of plant-based anticancer therapies has not been prioritized in cancer research. (3)


You may be wondering:


"How is that relevant?"


That means that the focus in medicine and healthcare is not on natural products and food.


That also means:


The science on plant-based products doesn't get as much attention, both in the media and the doctor's office.


But the good thing is...


There is enough science, from cancer research, on the role of diet in cancer:


To prevent or treat.


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2. Immune system



Another key factor in the development of cancer is the link between cancer and the immune system.


It's been widely accepted and it was first mentioned already 150 years ago by Rudolph Virchow. (4)


Here's the deal:


A good functioning immune system is ESSENTIAL in preventing and treating cancer.


The irony of chemotherapy though, is that it can can worsen immune function for a significant amount of time, and be a cause of innumerable side effects decreasing the quality of life for many cancer patients.


Want to know the worst part?


Many people don't survive chemotherapy as well. (5), (6)


That doesn't mean chemotherapy or other therapies don't have their place.


This will be explained further in this article.



The Key Takeaway


Considering the importance of diet and immune system:

We are going to take a scientific look at the promising anticancer and immune enhancing properties of herbs & spices, in regard to:

Cancer prevention and a successful cancer treatment.

As opposed to...

Just chemotherapy or other treatments on their own.

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Intense Herbs and Spices



Herbs and spices have a lot of potential benefits to human health and in cancer treatment. (7), (8), (9)

Therefore:

Phytochemicals (plant compounds) in spices are becoming popular as anticancer compounds. (10)

Curcumin is one of these phytochemicals.

Curcumin?

Curcumin is a phytochemical found in turmeric. Turmeric powder is the yellow spice that makes curry powder yellow.

It can also make you regret...

Not wearing an apron in the kitchen.

Whatever you do, try not to stain your clothes.

It targets cancer through multiple pathways and has shown promising results among a variety of cancers:

In combination with different drugs, but also on its own. (11)

It has also been tested on people with pancreatic cancer...

The results?

It had a positive effect, but only in a small number of patients.

A downside, the researchers concluded, is that curcumin is poorly absorbed. (12)

This is a well known phenomenon, so they should have known that. (13)

Here's the thing though:

The bioavailability of curcumin can be easily increased by adding black pepper or an active compound of black pepper, called piperine.

Bioavailability can be increased by up to 2000%! (14)



So much for poor absorption.

Simply put:

It could have a lot more potential.

Besides, it's well worth it for its anti-inflammatory effects, especially in combination with piperine. (14)

And inflammation is a powerful contributor to the development of cancer. (11)

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Whole Foods vs. Extracts


There's more good news:

In most studies on spices and herbs, extracts are used.

What does that mean?


That excludes any potential synergistic effects phytochemicals may have. That's good news, because normally we eat the WHOLE food, not the extracts.

Why does that matter?

We know that the whole package is often greater than single nutrients. (15)

That's also the reason that antioxidant rich food is superior to antioxidant supplements, since the supplements can even be harmful in some cases. (16)

In the case of curcumin and piperine:

Using a combination of actual turmeric and black pepper includes thousands of phytochemicals and nutrients more than just curcumin and piperine alone.



Think about it:

Take fruit for example.

Fruit contains simple carbohydrates.

These are sometimes referred to as 'sugar'.

Fruit has hundreds to thousands of phytochemicals on top of this 'sugar'.



Fruit, as a whole, has innumerable health benefits.

But:

The same cannot be said for refined sugar, which is lacking in all these other substances. (17)

Refined sugar is obtained by extracting natural sugar from foods.

To compare fruit with sugar alone is like comparing Rocky Balboa's boxing defense to boxing as a whole and then conclude boxing doesn't work.

Just because Rocky learned to use his face to defend against punches, doesn't mean boxing in itself is bad.

So, in the name of Spiderman's and Wonder Woman's unborn son, stop comparing refined sugars with WHOLEsome foods.


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More promising spices

Ginger has shown impressive cancer killing abilities, without harming normal and healthy cells, but only in Petri dishes and animals. (18), (19)


But here's the good part...

Also ginger, like the earlier mentioned vegetables, has shown that cancer killing ability with a variety of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. (20)

Besides ginger and turmeric, there are a multitude of herbs and spices out there.

The best thing about that?

They all use different pathways to target cancer cells. (21)

The reason why that is beneficial:

Cancer is a complex disease with a complex interaction between multiple signaling pathways. (21)


Multi-targeting cancer cells is therefore necessary.


Bottom line:

Including A VARIETY of herbs and spices would be more efficient than only using 1 or 2 kinds to neutralize abnormal cells like cancer cells.

And let's not forget:

Herbs & spices have tremendous amounts of antioxidants and are highly anti-inflammatory.

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Anti-inflammatory Herbs & Spices


Why do antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects matter?


These are associated with a reduced risk of (pancreatic) cancer. (22)

How?

By targeting chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are two of the things that can cause cancer as you can see in the image on the right.

This image comes directly from study that examined the role of the immune system in cancer. (23)

Speaking of antioxidants...


The highest antioxidant food ever measured has shown to kill off pancreatic cancer cells in animals and Petri dishes as well.

But, what was especially remarkable here was:

It went out of its way to even protect healthy cells. (24)

That's not just taking out the kidnapper, while keeping the hostage alive...

That's more like taking out the kidnapper, while simultaneously giving the hostage a foot massage...

And a really good one at that.

What are we talking about here?


Triphala.


Triphala is technically not a herb or a spice, but a mixture of three berries.

It is, however, normally sold in powder form alongside herbs and spices.

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Immunomodulators


In case you might be asking yourself:


"What on earth is an immunomodulator?"


Well, that's a fair question to ask.


Some foods have immunomodulating effects...


That means they can stimulate or normalize parts of your immune system.


In other words:


They can contribute to normalizing the physical state of cancer patients. (25)


And guess what?


A variety of herbs & spices have the ability to help your immune system. (25)

And as you know by now...


A good immune system is very good thing to have, to weapon yourself against cancer.


Even if the anticancer properties of some herbs or spices wouldn't directly transfer over into humans for certain cancers, the immunomodulating properties are very well worth it.




Conclusion


Considering it's easy to incorporate herbs & spices (that you can tolerate) into your diet, it would be a smart move to include them.


It might make your food more flavorful though, so be careful not to enjoy too much.


This covers #4 of the 14 Key Points to Prevent Cancer and Increase the Success of Cancer Treatment.


Missed the first 3?


Check out the previous article:

How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Vegetables, Fruits and Mushrooms


The next article in this cancer series is going to cover How Phytates Can Help Prevent and Treat Cancer. Phytates are naturally occurring compounds found in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.


How to find out when this article is released?


Subscribe and immediately get notified when new articles and healthy recipes are released.



14 Science Based Essentials, that Help Prevent Cancer and Increase the success of Cancer Treatment


  1. The Most Powerful Vegetables

  2. The Healthiest Fruits

  3. Immune Enhancing Mushrooms

  4. Intense Herbs & Spices

  5. The Surprising Role of Phytates

  6. Energetic Nut bombs

  7. Long Live Legumes

  8. Grains: Don't Drop Your Soap

  9. Microbiome: The Deciding Factor

  10. Heavy weight or Fly weight?

  11. Exercise: the Couch Potato's Best Friend

  12. Synergy & The Success of Mixed Treatments

  13. The Smokey Flavor of Smoking

  14. Foods that increase your risk



References:


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31360907-preventable-cancer-burden-associated-with-poor-diet-in-the-united-states/

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29764623-pancreatic-cancer-a-critical-review-of-dietary-risk/

  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18462866

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5220497/

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777669/

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530042/

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6532192/

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92774/

  9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284747483_Spicy_anti-cancer_spices_A_review

  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827078/

  11. https://jeccr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13046-019-1320-y

  12. http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=18628464

  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835707/

  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/

  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731586/

  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24241129-antioxidant-supplements-and-mortality/

  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5084020/

  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3387266/

  19. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1021/jf0624594

  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427290/

  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645308/

  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914454/

  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6169832/

  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2576337/pdf/1471-2407-8-294.pdf

  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5785894


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