Mint exerts a wide
range of health benefits. Like their aromatic plants, their primary
application has been as a carminative and digestent.
The oil of the peppermint plant is an excellent example. It has been
shown to relieve spasm of the gastrointestinal tract and gas. In fact a
enteric coated peppermint oil capsule has been shown to be very
effective in reliving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint
oil relaxes smooth muscle. Once the smooth muscles surrounding the
intestine are relaxed, there is less chance of spasm and the indigestion
that can accompany it. Peppermint contains a compound known as
perillyl alcohol that has been shown to inhibit the growth or
formation of cancer. It also contains the substance rosmarinic acid, a
powerful antioxidant that blocks the production of allergy – producing
leukotrienes. The high content of rosmarinic acid may be the season
extracts of peppermint have been shown to help relieve the nasal
symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
seeds - like other cabbage - family vegetables mustard seeds contain
plentiful amount of phytochemicals called glucosinolates and and
isothiocyanates. These compounds have been repeatedly studied for their
- nutmeg as both a dried spice and an essential oil is used as a
carminative (to lessen gas formation and prevent flatulence). An
ointment made with nutmeg butter has also been used as a counterirritant
to treat rheumatism. Nutmeg has been found to be an effective ant
diarrhea agent, reducing the amount of stool, increasing the period
between evacuations, and improving intestinal tone while inhibiting the
contractions that would normally be stimulated by irritating agents. In
addition, nutmeg's demonstrated sedative effects had no harmful effects
on blood pressure.
in various studies, nutmeg oil has expedited considerable antibacterial
activity against 25 different species of bacteria, including animal and
plant pathogens, and food poisoning and spoilage bacteria.
of these studies provide scientific support for the traditional use of
nutmeg as a food preservative, disinfectant, and antiseptic.
(black) - pepper is valued not only for culinary purposes but
also for its medicinal applications for treatment of digestive
disorders. Black pepper has diaphoretic, carminative and diuretic
properties. It also stimulates the taste buds in a manner that causes an
increase in stomach acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Black
pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial
properties as well, and the outer layer of the peppercorn has been
proven to stimulate the breakdown of fat cells.
Many of the
benefits of black pepper are due to the compound piperine. Piperine has
been shown to
dramatically increase the absorption of certain nutrients, such as
selenium, B vitamins and beta-carotene.
and assist the body's natural thermogenic activities
and enhance the liver's detoxification process.
Saffron –has been used
as and aphrodisiac, diaphoretic (to cause sweating), carminative (to
prevent gas) and emmenagogue (to bring on menstruation). In Japan
saffron is encapsulated and used as a sleep aid and in the treatment of
Parkinson’s disease. Modern research suggests the spice may provide
protection against cancer, memory loss, heart disease, and inflammation.
Saffron contains a dark orange, water – soluble carotene called crocin,
which is responsible for golden color. It has potent antioxidant and
anticancer effects, which may help explain saffron’s historical use in
Crocin has been fount
do trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in a number of different
types of human cancer cells, including murine tumors, liver cancer and
In studies conducted in China, saffron has demonstrated anticancer
activity against a wide spectrum of cancers, including leukemia, ovarian
carcinoma, colon Aden carcinoma, papilloma, and soft tissue sarcoma, and
has also been used to protect against coronary heart disease and
hepatitis and to promote a healthy immunity.
Researchers in Mexico discovered that saffron extract and several its
active components display a dose – dependent ability to inhibit human
malignant cells but also actually stimulates their formation and that of
lymphocytes (immune cells that help destroy cancer cells)
Recent studies have also demonstrated that saffron extract, specifically
its crocin, promotes learning and memory retention in experimental
animals. On the basis of the early research, scientist are hopeful that
saffron may be useful as a treatment for age-related mental impairment.
Saffron also has demonstrated protective effects against heart disease.
Turmeric – is used as
an anti-inflammatory agent and in the treatment of numerous conditions,
including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine,
hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain and colic. Turmeric poultices
are often applied locally to relieve inflammation and pain. Turmeric is splendid against skin
yellow pigment, has demonstrated significant anti-flamantory activity in
a variety of experimental models.
Other clinical studies have further substantiated curumin’s
anti-inflammatory effects in rheumatoid arthritis. In the study curcumin
was compared to phenylbutazone. The improvements in the duration of
morning stiffness, walking time, and joint swelling were comparable in
Curcumin helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so the cannot
spared through the body and cause more harm.
Some of curcumin’s benefits come from its know activity as an
antioxidant but curcumin also
- Inhibits the formation of cancer causing nitrosamines
- Promotes the liver’s properdetoxification of cancer-causing compounds
- Prevents overproduction cyclooxygenase 2 (COX – 2), an enzyme that may
contribute to the development of tumors. Regarding the heart disease
turmeric not only helps to lower cholesterol it also prevents the
oxidation of cholesterol.
- Since oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up
in the plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing the
oxidation of new cholesterol may help to reduce the progression of
atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.
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Source: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods -
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods