What You Need To Know About Spice Supplements

Derived from the word “species” back in the Middle Ages, spices include groups of fragrant and pungent, exotic food substances that have been used for flavourings and effective medicines through the ages. 

Spices have also been used as a valuable currency that has defined wealthy economies in Europe and Asia since time immemorial and showcased the amount of wealth and power possessed by countries and individuals.

The use and characterization that defines the general term, “spice” may include an exotic or tropical part of a herbal plant that provides colour, distinctive stimulating odour or aromatic fragrance. 

This can include typical culinary herbs such as mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, fennel, garlic, onion and chives; pungent such as mustard, horseradish, peppers, peppercorns, coriander and turmeric; and the distinctive tastes of chocolate, coffee, teas, wine and olive or other oils, all of which provide unique scents and aromas to foods and beverages. 

Spicy aromatic scents such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cassia, myrrh, saffron, anise and liquorice are used in condiments, sweets, cordials, liqueurs, cosmetics, medications and fragrances.

Anyone or more of the above spices may be found in nutritional supplements and alternative medicines administered by medical practitioners throughout the world outside of Western medicine. 

Spices have been used for thousands of years as flavour enhancements to improve the taste of foods, and have been used as preservatives against food spoilage and preventing illness caused by pathogenic or illness-causing organisms such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or fungi, or used as antidotes for poisons or venoms.

Spices have been potent therapeutic foods and medicinals for many types of ailments dating back to pre-biblical times for the Greeks, Romans, medieval Europeans, Africans, Asians and Middle Easterners. 

Additionally, many exotic spices have been noted for their aphrodisiac effects. Today, spices are used in all medical systems throughout the world. In addition to their antimicrobial, anticatarrhal or nasal mucous dissipating attributes and gastrointestinal antihelmintic and other beneficial properties, spices are also effective as pest repellents, although pungent spices are not always unattractive to birds or rodents.

The following tables below are listed the nutritional values of the more commonly used spices, and that is used in medical systems outside of Western medicine. Spices are used in various cultural, naturopathic medicinal formulations and are also found in many nutritional supplements.

I have also reviewed a lot of other dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.

Phytonutrients in Spices

Over millions of years, plants that fall into the defined category of spices have acquired a diverse amount of phytochemicals or phytonutrients, which serve to repel pathogenic, or illness or disease-causing organisms. 

The phytonutrients in spices inhibit the invasion of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasitic worms and have high antioxidant and enzyme activity. Studies show that there are certain bacterial infections associated with certain cancer risks, and viruses are now known to be the second-highest cause of cancer in humans.

Spices possess properties shown to inhibit mutagenesis or abnormal cell replication cycles, preventing damage to DNA that leads to cancerous conditions. Spices inhibit the proliferation and progression of the cancer cell cycle processes and can induce apoptosis, or cancer cell self-destruction, by improving the mechanisms that contribute to cancer, which are lowered immune function, inflammation, and imbalanced hormone metabolism.

In general, phytochemicals function to attract beneficial organisms such as oxygen loving aerobic bacteria or probiotic organisms and repel harmful anaerobic organisms that thrive in low oxygen environments. The antioxidant activity in spices neutralizes free radicals that would otherwise inflict DNA damage. Spices have also been analyzed for their anti-inflammatory capacity.

There are literally thousands of phytochemicals that are currently being studied.

Many of the commonly used spice plants contain many of the same phytonutrients, while they also contain some of their own unique phytochemicals. The list below will familiarize you with some common phytochemicals found in spices and other foods used in nutritional supplements.

Alkaloids – bitter amines: capsaicin, caffeine, theobromine, theophylline. Coumarins – aromatic lactones: hydroxycoumarins, furanocoumarins, pyranocoumarins, benzopyrones.

Flavonoids – plant pigments: luteolin, myricetin, proanthocyanidins, catechins, epicatechins, quercetin, rutin.

Essential oils – coumarins, limonene, eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, terpinene, sesquiterpene.

Glycosides – sugar esters, derivatives from carbohydrates: allicin, saponins, anthocyanins.

Phenols – volatile oils or aromatic compounds: phenolic acids, phenolic diterpenes, flavonoids, stilbenoids, curcumin.

Phenylpropanoids – eugenol, phenolic acids, esters, glycosylated derivatives of primary PPPs, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, stilbenes, coumarins, curcuminoids, lignans.

Resins – terpene oxidants, resin acids.

Saponins – soapy hemolysins: glycyrrhizin.

Sterols – plant steroidal chemicals: hundreds of precursors required for the production of the body’s thousands of regulating hormones.

Tannins – polyphenolics: catechins, proanthocyanidins.

Terpenes – isoprene derivatives: zingiberene, monoturpines, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes.

Spices Categorized According to Traditional Uses by Medical Systems Outside of Western Medicine

Allspice Used against vomiting and nausea (anti-emetic), has a strong laxative effect (purgative).

Capsicum (peppers): Anti-inflammatory, pain relief (analgesic), expectorant.

Cassia: Antiseptic, used to counter diarrhoea.

Cinnamon (See Cassia)

Clove Used as a topical anaesthetic, for indigestion, soothing a person’s irritable disposition.

Coriander Used against spasms, a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory agent.

Cumin: Anti-microbial, expels parasitic worms (vermifuge), a diuretic.

Curry leaves are Used to calm vomiting and nausea.

Ginger is used for colds, sore throats, alleviating nausea, vomiting, and rheumatic pain relief.

Mace Body tissues and skin tightening effect (astringent).

Nutmeg (See Mace)

Peppercorns: Expectorant, destroys pathogenic (illness-causing) organisms.

Saffron is used to soothing rheumatism, relieve nerve pain (neuralgia).

Turmeric is used for arthritic pain, is a potent antioxidant, used against cancer.

Wasabi: Effective expectorant, used to alleviate sinusitis.

Horseradish: Antimicrobial, used as an expectorant and purgative (laxative effect).

Mustard: Anti-inflammatory agent, purgative, can be used as an emetic (encourage vomiting).

Paprika: Used as a colourant, is an anti-inflammatory, a good natural source of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Aniseed: Used as an antispasmodic, an expectorant, and is a mild sedative.

Bergamot: Has antiseptic properties, an anti-spasmodic, mild sedative.

Caraway: Diuretic, anti-spasmodic, aids in the production of mothers milk (galactagogue)

Cardamom: Has antiseptic properties.

Carob: Used as an astringent, purgative, diuretic.

Chocolate: Mild sedative effects, diuretic.

Coffee: Stimulant, diuretic, dilates bronchial tubes.

Kola nut: Used to calm or prevent vomiting, and astringent.

Fennel: Anti-spasmodic, diuretic.

Fenugreek: Effective for controlling blood sugar helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.

Juniper: Antiseptic, used to ease rheumatism, diuretic, used to induce perspiration (sudorific).

Lemon Grass: Used for fever, repels insects.

Liquorice: Used for coughs (antitussive), spasms, and peptic ulcers.

Nigella: Used to expel parasites, used as a laxative (purgative), and is a diuretic.

Sesame seed: Used to promote mother’s milk production, a diuretic, used to soothe or soften as in soothing and coating an irritated throat during a cold.

Star anise: Has antiseptic and anti-rheumatic properties.

Tea: Anti-oxidant.

Vanilla: Helps reduce fever (febrifuge or antipyretic) and spasms.

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