Which Spices Fight Inflammation?

Which Spices Fight Inflammation?
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An elegant experiment is described in which the blood of those eating different types of spices—such as cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric—is tested for anti-inflammatory capacity.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Once in a while, I come across a study that’s so juicy, I do an entire video about it. It’s like my “Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?” video, or the “Best Cooking Method” one, or that one comparing thousands of foods. Well, this is one such study.

A group of researchers at U of F Gainesville and Penn State set up an elegant experiment. We’ve known, ounce per ounce, herbs and spices have some of the greatest antioxidant activities known—but, that’s in a test tube. Before we can ask if an herb or spice has health benefits, it’s first necessary to determine whether it’s bioavailable. This has never been done, until now.

They could have [gone] the easy route, and just measured the change in antioxidant level in one’s bloodstream before and after consumption. But, the assumption that the appearance of antioxidant activity in the blood is an indication of bioavailability has a weakness. Maybe more gets absorbed than we think, but doesn’t show up on antioxidant tests, because it gets bound to proteins or cells. So, they attempted to measure physiological changes in the blood. They were interested in “whether absorbed compounds would be able to protect [white blood cells] from an oxidative or inflammatory injury”—whether it would protect the strands of our DNA from breaking when confronted by free radicals. They also wondered if the consumption of herbs and spices “might alter…cellular inflammatory response[s] in the presence of a physiologically relevant inflammatory insult.” What does that all mean?

Well, what they did was take a bunch of people, and had each of them eat different types of spices for a week. There are so many really unique things about this study, but one was that the quantity that study subjects consumed was based on the usual levels of consumption in actual food. Like, the oregano group was given a half-teaspoon a day—the kinds of practical quantities people might actually eat once in a while. Then, at the end of the week, they drew blood from the dozen or so people they had adding black pepper to their diets that week, and compared the effects of their blood to the effects of the blood of the dozen on cayenne, or cinnamon, or cloves, or cumin. They had about ten different groups of people eating about ten different spices.

Then, they dripped their plasma (the liquid fraction of their blood) onto human white blood cells in a petri dish that had been exposed to an inflammatory insult. They wanted to pick something really inflammatory, so they chose oxidized cholesterol, which is like what you’d get in your bloodstream after eating something like fried chicken. So, they jabbed the white blood cells with oxidized cholesterol, and then measured how much TNF they produced in response.

Tumor necrosis factor is a powerful inflammatory cytokine, infamous for the role it plays in autoimmune attacks, like inflammatory bowel disease. Compared to the blood of those who ate no spices for a week, was the blood of those eating black pepper able to significantly dampen the inflammatory response? No. What about any of these other spices? Cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric were able to significantly stifle the inflammatory response. And, remember, they weren’t dripping the spices themselves on these human white blood cells, but the blood of those who ate the spices. So, it represents what might happen when cells in our body are exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream after normal daily consumption. Not megadoses in some pill—just the amount that makes our spaghetti sauce taste good, or our pumpkin pie, or curry sauce.

There are drugs that can do the same thing. Tumor necrosis factors are such “major mediators of inflammation and inflammation-related diseases” that there are these TNF-blocking drugs on the market for the treatment of inflammatory diseases—like osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis—which rake in, collectively, more than $20 billion a year, because drug companies charge people $15,000 to $20,000 a year for the drug. At that price, the side effects better be hugs and rainbows. But, no, these drugs carry a black label warning because they can cause things like cancer and heart failure. If only there were a cheaper, safer solution.

Curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, is a spice that’s a tad cheaper, and safer. But, does it work outside of a test tube? There’s evidence that it may help in all the diseases for which TNF blockers are currently being used. And so, with health care costs and safety being such major issues, this golden spice, turmeric, may help provide the solution.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to SteamDave, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – PNNL, Paolovalde, and Riy via flickr, and Saxluvr via clker.com. Thanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

 

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Once in a while, I come across a study that’s so juicy, I do an entire video about it. It’s like my “Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?” video, or the “Best Cooking Method” one, or that one comparing thousands of foods. Well, this is one such study.

A group of researchers at U of F Gainesville and Penn State set up an elegant experiment. We’ve known, ounce per ounce, herbs and spices have some of the greatest antioxidant activities known—but, that’s in a test tube. Before we can ask if an herb or spice has health benefits, it’s first necessary to determine whether it’s bioavailable. This has never been done, until now.

They could have [gone] the easy route, and just measured the change in antioxidant level in one’s bloodstream before and after consumption. But, the assumption that the appearance of antioxidant activity in the blood is an indication of bioavailability has a weakness. Maybe more gets absorbed than we think, but doesn’t show up on antioxidant tests, because it gets bound to proteins or cells. So, they attempted to measure physiological changes in the blood. They were interested in “whether absorbed compounds would be able to protect [white blood cells] from an oxidative or inflammatory injury”—whether it would protect the strands of our DNA from breaking when confronted by free radicals. They also wondered if the consumption of herbs and spices “might alter…cellular inflammatory response[s] in the presence of a physiologically relevant inflammatory insult.” What does that all mean?

Well, what they did was take a bunch of people, and had each of them eat different types of spices for a week. There are so many really unique things about this study, but one was that the quantity that study subjects consumed was based on the usual levels of consumption in actual food. Like, the oregano group was given a half-teaspoon a day—the kinds of practical quantities people might actually eat once in a while. Then, at the end of the week, they drew blood from the dozen or so people they had adding black pepper to their diets that week, and compared the effects of their blood to the effects of the blood of the dozen on cayenne, or cinnamon, or cloves, or cumin. They had about ten different groups of people eating about ten different spices.

Then, they dripped their plasma (the liquid fraction of their blood) onto human white blood cells in a petri dish that had been exposed to an inflammatory insult. They wanted to pick something really inflammatory, so they chose oxidized cholesterol, which is like what you’d get in your bloodstream after eating something like fried chicken. So, they jabbed the white blood cells with oxidized cholesterol, and then measured how much TNF they produced in response.

Tumor necrosis factor is a powerful inflammatory cytokine, infamous for the role it plays in autoimmune attacks, like inflammatory bowel disease. Compared to the blood of those who ate no spices for a week, was the blood of those eating black pepper able to significantly dampen the inflammatory response? No. What about any of these other spices? Cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric were able to significantly stifle the inflammatory response. And, remember, they weren’t dripping the spices themselves on these human white blood cells, but the blood of those who ate the spices. So, it represents what might happen when cells in our body are exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream after normal daily consumption. Not megadoses in some pill—just the amount that makes our spaghetti sauce taste good, or our pumpkin pie, or curry sauce.

There are drugs that can do the same thing. Tumor necrosis factors are such “major mediators of inflammation and inflammation-related diseases” that there are these TNF-blocking drugs on the market for the treatment of inflammatory diseases—like osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis—which rake in, collectively, more than $20 billion a year, because drug companies charge people $15,000 to $20,000 a year for the drug. At that price, the side effects better be hugs and rainbows. But, no, these drugs carry a black label warning because they can cause things like cancer and heart failure. If only there were a cheaper, safer solution.

Curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, is a spice that’s a tad cheaper, and safer. But, does it work outside of a test tube? There’s evidence that it may help in all the diseases for which TNF blockers are currently being used. And so, with health care costs and safety being such major issues, this golden spice, turmeric, may help provide the solution.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to SteamDave, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – PNNL, Paolovalde, and Riy via flickr, and Saxluvr via clker.com. Thanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

 

Doctor's Note

Here are links to those other juicy videos I opened up with:

See Antioxidants in a Pinch and How to Reach the Antioxidant “RDA” to see the extent to which even small amounts of spices can affect one’s antioxidant intake.

Another elegant series of ex vivo experiments exploring the cancer-fighting power of lifestyle changes can be seen in videos starting with Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay.

Mushrooms (see Boosting Immunity While Reducing Inflammation), nuts (see Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell), and purple potatoes (see Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes) may also reduce inflammation—along with plant foods in general (see Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants and Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods). In fact, so well that plant-based diets can be used to treat inflammatory conditions (see, for example, Dietary Treatment of Crohn’s DiseaseDiet & Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Potassium & Autoimmune Disease). Animal products, on the other hand, may increase inflammation through a variety of mechanisms, including endotoxins (see How Does Meat Cause Inflammation?), arachidonic acid (see Chicken, Eggs, & Inflammation), and Neu5Gc (see The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc).

If oxidized cholesterol is a new concept for you, please check out its role in heart disease progression in my video Arterial Acne

I’ll cover the DNA findings in my next video, Spicing Up DNA Protection. And, if turmeric compounds are so anti-inflammatory, can they be used to successfully treat inflammatory diseases? Find out in my next video, Turmeric Curcumin & Rheumatoid Arthritis.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

115 responses to “Which Spices Fight Inflammation?

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  1. Great video! I wonder what results they would have gotten if they combined spices, since black pepper and turmeric may work better synergistically?

    I love rosemary tea, and I was curious if you had encountered this preliminary study on its effect on prospective memory: http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/article01000.html

    If anyone is looking for ideas about fitting more herbs and spices into each day, these are a few tricks I have found useful:

    I have a large stainless steel french coffee press I use to brew mixed blends of these herbs for tea.

    I also made a ground spice and matcha mixture to make an instant chai, so that I consume the whole herb, not just the water soluble constituents.

    To save time, I stirred small quantities of all the nuts, seeds, dried berries, and powders in my pantry in a large jar. I keep a measuring cup inside, and add a scoop to my morning smoothie.

    This way, with just a few scoops here and there added to water, I take in at least 35 varieties of plants in each day, in addition to my liberally spiced regular meals.




    3
        1. This older study demonstrates similar effects of diallyl disulfide (the major liver metabolite of allicin from garlic) in inhibiting inflammatory cytokine expression, at plausible plasma concentrations. And this more recent study supports an effect on TNF-α.

          Perhaps the featured study opted against dried garlic capsules because, at the doses in this protocol, equivalent to having all foods in the diet strongly seasoned with each spice, their volunteers would smell of sulfur for a week.




          2
        2. I did a research on garlic on my own back in 1988 when my doctor told me I would grow immune to pharmaceutical antibiotics. It was my 8th year to have pneumonia. I learned that garlic in it’s raw form is the strongest natural antibiotic there is. It builds your immune system and you will never become immune to garlic. I have used garlic for the last 28+ years and have never had pneumonia again. God really does provide all we need.




          6
    1. I dissolve the curcumin I use of coconut oil to make it bioavailable. I don’t use the pepperine/curcumin combination because of the toxicity of high levels of pepperine. I agree though I wuold like to have seen the results for the pepper/turmeric combination against just the pepper to see how much more the bioavailability increased.




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    2. Andrew Weil has recommended a supplement available at Amazon that uses black pepper and turmeric. I bought it but found that it gave me a major case of heart burn, which I had never had before trying this.
      Andrew Weil, M.D. suggests using fresh turmeric, garlic, and ginger to reduce pain and inflammation, which I used to make a pot of tea and sipped all day long.




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    3. Tumeric latte: 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1 tsp of matcha tea powder (optional), 2 shakes of black pepper, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, 2 cups soy, coconut, or almond milk. Heat and mix




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  2. Hi Dr. Greger,
    I love your videos – thank you!! What amount of turmeric would you recommend a day? My Husbands PSA has risen to 6 and i’m wanting him to start having this in his diet along with a plant based diet of course :)




    0
    1. Start yesterday. Quit pussyfooting around.
      It is easier to keep psa low than to lower it. My psa was 6 five years ago, 3 months ago: 25, now 31. A friend died with a 25 psa. Do not ever get a biopsy: why poke a dozen poop covered needles in the bloodiest organ in the body into a tumor which just might be confined to the prostrate and risk spreading it??? Plus, Mr. Happy will not like it!! You DO NOT want to piss him off. Just assume you have cancer, are dying from it and change your lifestyle to slow the growth. Use Dr. ORnish’s program.




      3
    1. Turmeric is the best studied of these in reducing hs-CRP, mostly when used in preparations that increase curcumin bioavailability (coingestion with black pepper and some pharmaceutical formulations). See:
      Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials (2013)
      Many, many spices, fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties in the laboratory, though fewer have seen human trials. Page 19 from this paper is a useful guide:
      Age-associated chronic diseases require age-old medicine: role of chronic inflammation (2013)

      Some other ways of reducing hs-CRP:
      exercise & weight loss
      and diets:
      low in saturated fat
      low in glycemic index
      high in vegetable & fruit intake
      high in plant sterols (nuts & seeds), soy protein, viscous fibers (eggplant, okra, oats, barley), and almonds
      EPA & DHA
      vitamin C




      2
  3. Dr. Greger seems to contradict himself on turmeric. In one of his previous videos, Dr. Greger advised everybody to avoid swallowing turmeric powder because they were too high in oxalic acid – the bad, soluble kind that might cause kidney stones. In this video, Dr. Greger is praising turmeric.

    The truth is that the vast majority of people can swallow huge quantities of turmeric powder without getting kidney stones. However, much less than 1% of the turmeric can be absorbed into our bloodstream. Therefore, it’s unlikely that turmeric will benefit where our blood flows to. However, turmeric might be an excellent choice for protecting the inner lining of our entire digestive tract.

    I swallow turmeric powder capsules whenever I eat wakame (seaweed). Turmeric has been shown to block nitrosation (the formation of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) or cancer-causing nitrosamines) in the human stomach and esophagus. I try to rinse the salt away from my wakame but a tiny amount of salt always remains. Salt always contains nitrosamine precursors such as nitrites and nitrates. Wakame and other “brown” seaweeds (such as mekabu, mozuku, kombu, arame, limu moui, and hijiki) contain marine polyphenols called, “phlorotannins,” which also help in blocking nitrosation.

    The fact that oregano, which has a very high ORAC antioxidant score because of its tannin content, did poorly in this study that Dr. Greger shared with us in this video indicates that powerful antioxidants don’t necessarily prevent inflammation that well.




    0
        1. This result is discussed nowhere else in the paper. The DNA strand break analyses were only done on cells that expressed

          annexin V but still had intact cell membranes, common markers for apoptotic cells in flow cytometry. My guess is the cell counts in this “FITC+/PI-” category were lower after a week of paprika, but paprika may have reduced normal and H2O2 induced damage so much that the fewer cells became apoptotic, or may have interfered with annexin V expression, or may have interfered with the fluorescent assay, or it might just be an experimental artifact. A few papers address paprika & apoptosis directly, and they don’t appear to present issues for cancer patients, indeed paprika carotenoids (their major well absorbed phytochemicals) appear to potentiate cancer treatment and apoptosis 1,
          2.




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    1. Perhaps, it is the amount or frequency of turmeric that may cause negative effects.

      As more and more studies come out, more and more physicians have changed their points of view.

      I think we all need to listen to our own bodies.




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  4. Great video Dr. Greger! Special thanks to your team also! Getting back on the tumeric wagon (just have to figure out how to keep my dishes from turning yellow!)




    0
    1. yeah, I made a great butternut squash soup with a generous amount of turmeric…. my fancy Blendtec blender carafe now has a yellow tint to it… lol




      0
    1. Heat treated turmeric actually had greater average activity than raw, looking at inhibition of the three factors (IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1α), but the variation in response between subjects/samples was too great for a statistically significant result. Heat treated turmeric also reduced DNA strand breaks more than any other spice, while raw turmeric had no significant effect.




      1
      1. We know black pepper (containing piperine) promotes absorption of curcumin (and presumably other compounds) in turmeric powder. Piperine and turmeric / curcumin cooked in combination describe Indian curry. So, the question now becomes whether HT turmeric with cooked piperine demonstrates (1) greater activity and (2) reduces DNA strand breakage more than uncooked turmeric / curcumin and uncooked piperine.




        0
  5. After reading this I went right to my kitchen mixed turmeric, ginger, cloves (and a bit of black pepper as I have read that it activates the turmeric) and, using veggiecaps (available online at a very reasonable price) made up capsules. I used to use just turmeric, but have been incorporating new information. I take 2 per day. Yes, I do use these spices in cooking, but not everyday so I think this is a good way to get them.




    0
    1. This may sound weird, but I mash up half a banana, sprinkle on turmeric, ginger, cloves and black pepper, mix it all up, and just eat it straight up! Now I might have to add rosemary!




      1
  6. Great information! To add, I just read an article regarding the use of Ginger, Turmeric, Cocoa, Cayenne, and Cinnamon – it stated that these “spices” are rated high for great skin and hair. So added to the information you provided, it sounds like “spices” are essential for a healthy “overall” body! Thank you and your voice is very enjoyable to listen to!!!!




    1
  7. My husband has suffered from muscular inflammation and pain as a result for years. I finally talked him into trying turmeric, oregano and black pepper every morning. !/4 tsp of each combined in a glass of water and lo and behold (just like I expected) no more pain after about a week. Now it’s just part of his day and the relief from daily achiness in every muscle is going a long way towards improving his quality of life.

    We combine the three because somewhere I read that the benefits of turmeric and oregano are enhanced with the inclusion of the pepper. ,




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    1. Do you have any idea what is causing the muscular inflammation in the first place? My first reaction to this video was don’t eat the fried chicken then the need for the spices decreases. My point is are we treating the cause or just a symptom?




      1
    2. I tried the supplement which is available at Amazon that has turmeric, oregano and black pepper. The black pepper gives me heart burn, which I had never had previously.

      What works for me is the Herbal Therapy which contains turmeric from Andrew Weil, M.D. Although he does say that taking too much turmeric can contribute to heart burn. His combination gives me relief from pain and inflammation which occurred after an accidental bump to the area of the calf bone located on the lateral side of the tibia.
      I’ve had severe inflammation and pain for two years, yet a recent x-ray showed no fracture. The only thing that worked was the turmeric from Dr. Weil, and the pain and inflammation vanished. No amount of praise should be limited on this herbal therapy, in my opinion.




      1
      1. Did you know McCormick is one of the corporations who contributed in Washington State and California to keep the public controlled and ignorant about GMO’s in their foods/spices?




        1
        1. Mark Lynas is correct: Why We Need to Label GMOs.

          It has nothing to do with the negligible health/nutrition differences between current GMO and non-GMO crops, but the strategic decision to not label GMOs generates the impression that engineering for higher yield, lower chemical inputs, or (coming soon) better nutrition is something to be ashamed of. As with 911 truthers, Obama birthers, and other internet echo-chambers, transparency is the best antidote.




          0
    1. I automatically take my turmeric and vitamin-anti oxidant supplements with a cup of hot organic green tea after breakfast every day. It seems to speed relief to my body.




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  8. Do data exist for the high-cost TNF blockers vs. ability to dampen inflammatory response that are comparable and could be plotted on the scale? Is the effect within the same order of magnitude or would apples and oranges be as similar?




    1
  9. Dear Dr. Greger,

    I’ve been putting powdered turmeric into my smoothies, but someone told me that in order for it to be effective and properly absorbed it should be usied in cooking (heated up) instead.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks!




    0
  10. Loved this video! And this is exactly why I make sure to cook with turmeric (and also take a curcumin supplement) for my ankylosing spondylitis. It doesn’t make my disease go away completely, but it sure does help!




    0
  11. I read McCormick sponsored study.
    I assume they sell all the tested spices?
    What about garlic, onions, kale, beans, red cabbage….

    Very thorough study (for what was tested).

    What stands out is:

    1. Anti-oxidant ability measured In Vitro (never touches digestive or olfactory track) does not correlate with anti-oxidant potential in the body.
    USDA withdrew web publication of ORAC values for common American foods in 2012 due to lack of evidence ORAC has biological significance. This study clearly demonstrated USDA position as none of test subjects serum had In Vitro anti-oxidant activity at the end of the study.

    yet… this study was published in 2013.

    When subjects serum (presumably containing active metabolites of hers/spices) was placed in test tubes to “reduce” oxidative chemicals, as the native herbs/spices were, NONE demonstrated antioxidant ability- this “astonished” the researchers.

    2. The serum from patients ingesting 6 herbs/spices DID have biologic activity in decreasing inflammatory markers in leukemia cell line (THP-1) and a protecting subjects normal monocytes (type of white blood cell) from DNA damage caused by adding hydrogen peroxide.
    Don’t know if this is realistic simulation of oxidative stress the body actually faces unless one does shots of peroxide. However, it is HUGE step forward. Hopefully, more beneficial effects and new biologic pathways await to be discovered. Time will tell whether markers researchers chose as proxy for In Vivo anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity are biologically beneficial.

    3. DR. G- are current In Vitro anti-oxidant levels valid or to be taken with a grain of salt? Looks like in Vitro measure of anti-oxidant ability batted 50/50 in predicting In Vivo performance, at least for the stressed out monocytic and leukemia cell.

    7 herbs & spices did not make the grade as either anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory when tested In Vivo
    Do we call them the “Sucky Seven”?
    Sadly, Cinnamon was one of these failures.
    I will still use it on my whole wheat toast and oatmeal

    (sorry- ginger, turmeric, sage, rosemary, cumin & paprika doesn’t cut it at breakfast time)




    0
  12. It appears that the biotechnology pharmaceutical companies have cut the sound on your videos, just as the biotechnology pesticide industry does to Mercola’s web site. But, thank God and Dr. Greger, you have a transcript and citations, so we can still get the information.




    0
  13. Mercola is a pill pushing slave of commerce.
    He clearly does not have the best intentions towards peoples health or financial health in mind doing what he does.

    That man or other minions of industry like him should not be mentioned within this sanctuary devoted to well-being :)




    0
    1. You mean, “ulterior” motives? Or “alterior” medicine?

      In any case, Dr. Mercola’s articles appear well-researched. Mercola does not always agree with everybody else, but he can defend his position well, providing extensive footnotes and links for those interested in further study.

      Dr. Mercola, trained as an osteopath, does sell vitamins and other nutritional supplements but only those he is prepared to justify by the body of research. However, Mercola is hardly a “slave of commerce” and states where there is ambiguity on nutritional and health questions.

      Dr. Mercola is the least likely to promote a drug therapy / intervention over nutritional approaches, and has been vociferous in his criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA, and Washington’s “revolving door” between industry and the regulatory agencies.

      Forum mediators always must strike a balance between orthodox opinion and unorthodox opinion, responsibly and respectfully expressed. Which is why a variety of interesting comments frequently appear on nutritionfacts.org, including yours and mine. Truly closed forums tend to die of attritiion.




      1
    1. We humans tend not to notice our own body odor until someone brings up the subject– directly or indirectly. If you have noticed your own body odor, then perhaps you have reached a point where “a ton of spices” is too much.

      Your mother is probably your kindest critic, as well as a good friend and reference point in adjusting your diet. Later in life, others may not be so kind.

      Although you have not named the spices, anything can be carried to excess, and sometimes to even harmful excess.




      0
  14. Hello.What do you think about irradiated spices(spices available in supermarkets)? Are they as potent(against inflamation and oxidation) ? Do they pose any risk? I`ve even read that irradiating foods,can cause free radicals.The exact opposite of what you`re trying to achieve when you consume spices.
    Please share your view on irradiated spices.Thank you.




    0
  15. I don’t know if a new post advances this thread to the front of the line. If not then it will probably never be read but this seems like the most appropriate place to write it. I just came across the mother load of spices. An Ayurvedic concoction called Hingvastak, which I purchased from Banyon Botanicals. The ingredients read like a who’s who of Greger antioxidants:Cumin seed (Cuminum cyminum)**, Ajamoda seed (Apium graveolens)**, Black Cumin seed (Nigella sativa)**, Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)**, Black Pepper fruit (Piper nigrum)**, Pippali fruit (Piper longum)**, Mineral Salt, Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida), Fenugreek (Triognella foenum-graecum)** A teaspoonful instantly converts any dish into an Indian delicacy, assuming you like spicy, curry-like flavor, which I love.




    0
    1. Psych MD: I just wanted you to know that I saw your post and really appreciate it. I’m always on the lookout for good tips and this is a great one. Thanks!




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    2. Hing means asafoetida in Hindi and ashtak means octave. So right spices leading with asafoetida as main is what hingashtak is. My grandmother and then mother would give a teaspoon after dinner every day to aid digestion. It is a well known Ayurvedic practice




      1
    3. Thanks for the link on Hingvastak– nothing in its list of ingredients seems outside conventional cooking except the names Ajamoda, Pippali and Asafoetida. Presumably, we can check with the Banyon Botanicals website and/or a customer service representative for further information.




      0
  16. Thank you for this well versed overview of the benefit of spices! I agree, there are so many options when it comes to taking on a more clean, holistic healthier approach to medicating ailments and nourishing up, its nice having clarification which brings such knowledge into perspective. Kudos to you Doctor for keeping health and wellness alive!




    0
  17. My morning smoothies consist of:
    An orange
    Frozen blueberries
    A carrot
    Baby spinach or steamed kale
    Oat milk
    Flax seeds
    Tahini
    Some rosehip and wheatgrass powder
    Turmeric
    Powdered cloves (a pinch)
    Cardemom
    Black pepper (a pinch)

    A big smoothie for a small girl like me but I love how it makes me feel!




    0
    1. It may. The concern is that no human trials exists to my knowledge. In this review the herb seems promising in vitro, but until we have good human data I am reluctant to say it offers special health benefits. Thanks for reposting your question. Joshua.




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  18. We add ½ to 1 tsp. of spices we blend in bulk (10 oz.) to every cup of coffee. Our recipe: 6TBSP each of cardamom, ginger, cloves, turmeric. ¾ tsp black pepper, ¾ cu. cinnamon. Since I’ve just been hit with trigger thumb and nasty arthritis in both thumbs, I have experimented with adding more turmeric and pepper. But it is easy to overdo so I added more cinnamon which sort of masks the overload of turmeric. I like the taste of my original recipe better. The taste is sort of like a good chai tea style coffee that is not too heavy on cloves as it is in some places.




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  19. I am so glad we are talking about all these spices which are so commonly use in India. I am happy that now all these research are getting documented which my mom, and grandma told us while we were growing up. We also use a powder which is call Gram Masala -which has cumin, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and some other spices. I mostly make my own and also have starting using Curcumin root in cooking with turmeric powder. Thank you




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  20. I am able to get fresh turmeric at my coop. When it is in season I use it in my soups instead of dried. Are the effects – better? not as good? altogether different? Does it matter if I cook it first? Should the spices be added to each bowl instead of the pot?




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  21. Good to see that this topic is being researched. Indonesian people have been using jamu (herbal remedy) for years. One of them is turmeric. There’s one ginger root species called temulawak (curcuma xanthorrhiza) which local people believe have more healing benefits than turmeric and it’s good for the liver. I am not sure if this has been researched and could be potentially being as a complementary treatment for liver diseases.




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  22. Micheal Gregger, i was wondering if you would do a video on minerals, since most people are drinking distilled water now with nothing in it, which is flushing our bodies of minerals. All water on earth has minerals which are essential when drinking and distilled “pure” water just isnt natural, its no good for us. water companies are selling distilled water, throwing around the word “pure”, as if the water is better than any other, when in reality, it is slowly killing people, stripping their body of minerals that are necessary for survival. We live on this earth, everything we do involves minerals, our society is so afraid of dirt and debris, that they are even taking it out of the water, which is contradicting because we are of the earth, we live on it, our bodies are made of the same elements, those “particles” in water are not just bad particles, they are necessary minerals that our bodies need. Its just like the saying “we are made of stardust”, because we are literally made of stardust. we cannot be anything BUT stardust. Thank you for all of your videos, they help everyone and me so much!




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  23. does anyone know more about the article on 6-shogaol in ginger inhibiting breast and other cancer stem cell-like spheroids inducing autophagy presented from india aug 15 2015. can it aggrevate other cancers?




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  24. I heard that most turmeric powders sold in stores doesn’t actually contain turmeric (it’s just food dye). The study suggested that instead you consume it freshly ground from the actual plant itself. Any thoughts? Is this true? I love adding turmeric powder to all my dishes but want to be sure I’m getting what I pay for.




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  25. I’ve been having a tea spoon of turmeric with some black pepper and tea spoon of olive oil as a “tea” for about three and a half weeks now. I started after reading about a very small (double blind placebo study) on curcumin’s effect on depression and was interested to read in the article it seemed to have a very good effect for atypical depression. I’ve had CFS for about two years now but atypical depression and CFS are actually quite similar in terms of symptoms and potential causes so I decided to give it a go. Very much looking forward to the next month as it was after 4 weeks that curcumin participants saw a gain over placebo so hopefully with a bit of luck I might start seeing some really good effects as well. I am definitely going to start adding a teaspoon of dried ginger though because why not! It’s safe and worth a try. I think I have already started seeing a benefit but we shall see how this goes from here!




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  26. I have been in the process of changing my eating habits for a year now and have already made a lot of good changes going towards a plant based diet. After discovering your website nutritionfacts.org and watching some of the youtube videos I am now making further steps to improve my diet. In particular, I am going to follow your recommendations on turmeric and flaxseed in the dosages that you recommend.

    However, I have also been reading a lot about the positive effects of black cumin seed (Nigella Sativa) on inflammation and also on diabetes in particular (using 2 grams a day). Now I wonder what your opinion is about this. Is it recommended to combine black cumin seed with turmeric and flaxseed in a diet? On your website there is only one reference to cumin seed (I used the search function) and in your book I cannot find any reference it as well in the index (just got the book today and just started reading it). Is this because you think black cumin seed is not beneficial or simply because there is insufficient scientific evidence that it works?




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    1. Erik: I don’t know the answer to your question. I just wanted to say that by posting your question here, it helps Dr. Greger to know that there is specific interest in black cumin seeds.
      .
      Congratulations on the changes you have made so far. Good for you!




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  27. I make a paste of turmeric, black pepper and cocconut oil and water for my dog. He has been to the vet 14 times because he scratches to the point of bleeding due to insect allergies. This paste stopped 95% of his scratching.




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    1. Harley: I have heard of this before and think it is great. Maybe you could answer some questions for me: 1) does you dog try to lick it of? 2) how do you keep the turmeric from staining your house yellow or getting the grease from the oil over everything? 3) how long do you leave it on? Is there a point where you wipe it off or do you just let it sit naturally until is goes away? Thanks!




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    1. Spices do expire and how you store them is very important. Many spices come in their whole form, like peppercorns for example. Storing them in the whole form and grinding them when you use them keeps them potent for a very long time. There are charts available but for most whole spices you can keep them for a few years as long as they are cool and dry. The ground up spices will expire much sooner. Once they are opened you can expect them to taste the same and presumably have the same effects for about 6-12 months. If you live in a hot, humid climate they should be changed more often. Obviously getting huge containers of spices at a warehouse store will not be a cost savings if you have to throw them out twice a year. Getting a small spice grinder or microplane as well as the smallest ground spices you can find for your pantry is probably a good way to go.




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  28. Hi Michael,

    Loving your work and a bit of an evangelist for your videos, from the UK. Just wondering if you have any information on ankylosing spondylitis – a condition that is common in my family. Do you know of any research linking the inflammation to diet?

    Thanks!
    Heidi




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    1. Here is one article that may be helpful to you, Heidi. It encourages avoidance of refined carbs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8835506 Because The Spondylitis Association of American states “There is, in fact, evidence that certain foods tend to be inflammatory in nature, while others can help manage inflammation” .I’d encourage you to review (using search button) other NF.ogr videos on inflammation




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  29. What are the causes of high levels Galectin-3 and how can we lower it? I know that some research has been done on modified citrus pectin but it is so expensive. Doctor Greger, your work in the field of health is phenomenal. Thank you for taking my question.




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  30. Thank you for your great videos. I often listen to the audio when doing other work. Imagine the CLANG! on my ear when I heard you say “They could have went…”
    Please…”went” is a verb (past tense), not a past participle, which is “gone”. “They could have gone…”
    Sorry if this is over-reacting, but I did not expect to hear such a hicksville grammatical expression during your usual intelligent, educated, and articulate delivery of excellent material.




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  31. Hi Vision Doc! Thanks for your question. I am a dietitian and volunteer moderator who helps answer questions on the site. I too love this study and the practicality of information that we can get from it. In this study, 2.8 g crushed rosemary, 0.3 g ground cloves, 2.8 g ground ginger and 0.3 g ground turmeric were used. If my calculations are correct based on information from nutritiondata.self.com, this translates into: 2 3/4 tsp rosemary (or just slightly less than 1 Tbsp), a pinch of ground cloves (<1/16 tsp), slightly less than 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, and a pinch of turmeric (<1/16 tsp).




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  32. Actually,
    I don’t believe that dispersion of a turmeric directly
    on their blood will yield better results,
    even in mega doses.
    Because our body need to convert the turmeric to other components
    in order for it to be effective.




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  33. Hello! Thank you for your videos and this amazing website! plus, your book is very good! i have a question, so i have a problem on my knees: Chondromalacia Patella. Do you think there are foods that can treat this?

    Thanks a lot




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  34. Dear Dr Gregor,
    Thank you so much for this video! My family member has been diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis. I am wondering what does Tumeric powder you would recommend for this condition? And, do you have a recommendation as to where I can buy the best quality turmeric?
    And, lastly, do you have any other videos, articles, or reliable resources for the treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis? And/or, can you recommend a reliable practitioner to help somebody with this condition? We are working with a rheumatologist, who I assume will prescribe toxic drugs to treat the condition. Thank you and advance for any guidance you can provide!




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  35. Dr. Mcgregor,
    Has there been evidence based research that I may have missed that looks at nutritions role with people diagnosed with lipedemia in the legs? Or how diet and inflammation with people that are diagnosed lipedemia have reduced the inflammation in legs? I am a size 0 with little to no fat on top and a size 14 on bottom and have been on a plant based diet for 6 months and take tumeric supplements and have not seen reduction in the swelling in my legs, although I do have more focus, energy, and memory increased noticably.




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  36. Hello, thank you for your question. I am one of the moderators. Dr Greger does not have specific information about this condition on the site. My understanding of the condition it that diet itself can not ameliorate it. However, as you are already doing, a plant based diet will help to maintain healthful fat levels elsewhere in the body. I am attaching a recent guideline on the condition. Hope it is not too medical.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/ddg.13036/asset/ddg13036.pdf?v=1&t=j7wz4gtt&s=9818d0255221331eff9e32ac99d016689a3c20e0&systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+will+be+unavailable+on+Saturday+7th+Oct+from+03.00+EDT+%2F+08%3A00+BST+%2F+12%3A30+IST+%2F+15.00+SGT+to+08.00+EDT+%2F+13.00+BST+%2F+17%3A30+IST+%2F+20.00+SGT+and+Sunday+8th+Oct+from+03.00+EDT+%2F+08%3A00+BST+%2F+12%3A30+IST+%2F+15.00+SGT+to+06.00+EDT+%2F+11.00+BST+%2F+15%3A30+IST+%2F+18.00+SGT+for+essential+maintenance.+Apologies+for+the+inconvenience+caused+.




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    1. Dear Shireen,

      I am so grateful that you replied to me! Many thanks to you and Dr. Gregor!

      Unfortunately, I was not able to access the link that you provided. When I clicked on it, it came up as a “forbidden” site.
      Is it possible for you to send me the link another way? Or, cut and paste it in the email? I would really like to see what it says.

      Thank you so much! Robin Fomalont




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