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5 Cancer – fighting herbs

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Ginger

Ginger has long been used in folk medicine to treat everything from colds to constipation. Ginger can be used fresh, in powdered form (ginger spice), or candied. Although the flavor between fresh and ground ginger is significantly different, they can be substituted for one another in many recipes. In general, you can replace 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger with 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, and vice versa.

Consuming ginger and ginger products, in addition to taking any anti-nausea medications as prescribed, may provide some comfort for a queasy stomach during cancer treatment.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a hearty, woody Mediterranean herb that has needlelike leaves and is a good source of antioxidants. Because of its origin, rosemary is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking and you’ll often see it included as a primary ingredient in Italian seasonings. You can use it to add flavor to soups, tomato-based sauces, bread, and high-protein foods like poultry, beef, and lamb.

Rosemary may help with detoxification; taste changes; indigestion, flatulence, and other digestive problems; and loss of appetite. Try drinking up to 3 cups of rosemary leaf tea daily for help with these problems.

Chile peppers

Chile peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that can relieve pain. When capsaicin is applied topically to the skin, it causes the release of a chemical called substance P. Upon continued use, the amount of substance P eventually produced in that area decreases, reducing pain in the area.

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But this doesn’t mean you should go rubbing chile peppers where you have pain. Chile peppers need to be handled very carefully, because they can cause burns if they come in contact with the skin.

Therefore, if you have pain and want to harness the power of chile peppers, ask your oncologist or physician about prescribing a capsaicin cream. It has shown pretty good results with regard to treating neuropathic pain (sharp, shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve) after surgery for cancer.

Another benefit of chile peppers is that they may help with indigestion. Seems counterintuitive, right? But some studies have shown that ingesting small amounts of cayenne may reduce indigestion.

Garlic

Garlic belongs to the Allium class of bulb-shaped plants, which also includes chives, leeks, onions, shallots, and scallions. Garlic has a high sulfur content and is also a good source of arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium, all of which may be beneficial to health. Garlic’s active compound, called allicin, gives it its characteristic odor and is produced when garlic bulbs are chopped, crushed, or otherwise damaged.

Several studies suggest that increased garlic intake reduces the risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. It appears that garlic may protect against cancer through numerous mechanisms, including by inhibiting bacterial infections and the formation of cancer-causing substances, promoting DNA repair, and inducing cell death. Garlic supports detoxification and may also support the immune system and help reduce blood pressure.

Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb in the ginger family; it’s one of the ingredients that make many curries yellow and gives it its distinctive flavor. Curcumin appears to be the active compound in turmeric. This compound has demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially protecting against cancer development.

Turmeric extract supplements are currently being studied to see if they have a role in preventing and treating some cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, and skin cancers. Although results appear promising, they have largely been observed in laboratory and animal studies, so it’s unclear whether these results will ultimately translate to humans.

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