News from the Spice World

Since the early ages spices have been used to flavour foods as well as for their medicinal properties. Here are a few new insights into the medicinal effects of spices and herbs:

Studies on studies

More and more studies are studying the medical effects of herbs and spices. Many can be very effective in treating various ailments. In recent years, the number of studies on spices and their ingredients has steadily increased.

At the moment, turmeric is one of the most popularly studied spices.  It is known to have a positive effect on inflammation or pain. Additionally saffron could help with depression and visual disturbances, and ginger could help with migraines.

Even though many of these studies have not been conducted on humans, the facts remain- spices are very tasty, and could have beneficial effects on your health.

Cinnamon for Studying!

Researchers in Chicago studied memory in mice. The mice were sent into a labyrinth with many holes, one of which led to a safe hiding place. The holes all had different markings. Once a smart mouse had spotted the safe hiding place, it always went back to that place.

 Animals that had a hard time learning were fed cinnamon for a month. Scientists found that on this diet, the animals found the right hole around two and a half times as fast as they did before.

The researchers believed that the sodium benzoate naturally found in cinnamon is filtered out by the liver and stimulates the hippocampus and thus the learning ability of the brain. Whether this effect is also present in humans has not yet been investigated.

Ginger vs. Cancer?

Researchers from Michigan have found that ginger extract effectively combats tumors. In an experiment with ovarian cancer cells, the cancer cells mutually destroyed each other and all the diseased cells treated with ginger extract died. The ginger extract also showed positive effects in fighting prostate cancer cells in animal experiments. It is not yet clear whether these results are shown in humans. Further investigations are planned.

The fact that ginger has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect has been known for a long time.