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Did you know that we have everything we need to heal and thrive right here in the form of plants on earth? That is why we call our precious planet “God’s Pharmacy.” It really is. What’s more, you probably have a lot of the most healing herbs, spices, and plant-based powders right there in your kitchen cupboard or spice rack. So let’s take a tour of what’s in there while we let you in on a secret: herbs and spices are a cancer-fighting powerhouse, and there is ample scientific evidence to prove it!
God’s Pharmacy Vs. the Man’s Pharmacy
Did you know that as late as the turn of the 20th century, most people living in the United States were not only aware of but still appreciated the role of herbs, spices, and other plant-derived and natural medicines and modalities such as homeopathy? That was because, at that time, American medical education was much different than it is today. Not only were there dozens of homeopathy schools in the country (bringing the practice that was flourishing in Europe to the United States) but there were also hundreds of chiropractic schools as well as legitimate institutions and lines of curricula that taught other forms of natural medicine.
What happened to change all this can be summed up in three words: the Flexner Report. The Flexner Report was an analysis of the state of American medical colleges put together by an American educator, Abraham Flexner. Its aim, at least on the surface, was to create an “unbiased account” of the quality of this education in response to concerns and complaints.
Yes, this was the era of the “snake oil salesman.” To be sure, there were a lot of people making a “quick buck” off of the hopes of people wanting cures. In addition, there were also some sub-par institutions who were taking advantage of the system, or lack thereof, since at the time there was not that much regulation for school accreditation.
That being said, the vast majority of homeopathic and natural-health medical colleges (as well as plant remedy and nutritional educational curriculums) were run by well-intentioned, moral, and scientifically-educated individuals and organizations who were providing students with the best, most well-rounded, patient-focused, education out there at the time. For example, did you know that during the yellow fever epidemic, the death rate for those who chose homeopathic care (administered by homeopathic doctors, many of whom were trained by U.S.-based homeopathic medicine colleges) was one-third the amount of those who chose orthodox medicine modalities?
Even J.D. Rockefeller referred to homeopathy as “a progressive and aggressive step in medicine” and used it personally until his death at 97, according to medical historian Harris Coulter, Ph.D. This is significant since Rockefeller was one of the key players in destroying homeopathy and natural health education in this country.
And this was, in reality, the ultimate agenda of the Flexner Report. Secretly funded by the Carnegie Foundation as well as the Rockefeller family, the Flexner Report was designed to not only establish the drug-focused system of medical education which we have today, but also the system of university-funded medical research that is currently in place as well.
And guess who got to sit on the board of some of the most prestigious medical colleges around? You guessed it – the very same robber barons who stood to gain enormous profits from pushing drug therapies, and the doctors who would be trained to promote them.
In the 20th century, the use of natural and medicinal herbs and spices was put to the wayside by medical doctors who taught that natural medicines were nothing more than quackery. However, all that is now changing. Over the last twenty years, there has been a surge of new research studies—thousands in fact, from here in the U.S. and also from all over the world—which have proved the efficacy of many common herbs and spices, roots and shrubs, and fungi, for not only helping with overall health, but for directly targeting cancer cells and destroying them.
Who knew? Well, the doctors prior to 1900’s America knew. And now you do too!
Take a Look in Your Kitchen Cupboard. How Many Super Herbs Do You See?
Some of the most powerful natural healers for the body, including for cancer, are the most common ones.
Herbs and spices represent the “most powerful cancer-fighters, hands down,” says Dr. Josh Axe. They are also the biggest things missing from U.S. diets.
“I have an acupuncturist who’s from Israel, and him and I are always talking about when he goes to Israel or if you visit other countries, when you walk into somebody’s home, typically that’s from the East…you smell the food, right? You smell herbs…” says Axe. “Remember this, food is to be medicine and we should be using herbs generously. Any time you eat a meal, every single meal, add some herbs and spices.”
Take a minute and walk into your own kitchen. Peek into your cupboard, pantry shelf, or spice racks and count how many common, ordinary herbs and spices you have in there. As you will see, many of them contain cancer-destroying properties.
1 | Oregano
Who doesn’t have that bottle of “Italian seasoning” sitting on their shelf? The main ingredient in that compilation is oregano.
So what is so special about this fragrant Italian herb? A lot, as it turns out. According to master researcher and natural health expert Mike Adams, aka “The Health Ranger,” oregano is a powerful antibacterial. He personally swears by it every time he travels. Indeed, research in Poland and elsewhere has confirmed that oregano can be protective against E. Coli and strains of Listeria bacteria. According to Adams, oregano is a “go to” medicinal herb that should have a place in everyone’s emergency medicine kit.
Indeed, key phenolic monoterpenoids carvacrol and thymol as well as Ursolic acid and oleanolic acid act as natural antibiotics in oregano. Researchers at the Universidade Federal de Sergipe in Brazil found that oregano has the ability to modulate inflammatory cytokines, keep microbes at bay, and promote angiogenesis. All of these characteristics make oregano a healing powerhouse.
2 | Rosemary
Rosemary contains similar phytonutrients as oregano, including carvacrol, a cancer-inhibiting agent, according to Dr. Nalini Chilkov, L.Ac., O.M.D., a Doctor of Oriental Medicine practicing in Santa Monica, California. Along with cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and ginger, rosemary is a strong anti-inflammatory. Isn’t it interesting that a lot of these herbs are used together in many types of cuisines around the world?
“We can easily make our diet talk to our genes,” says Dr. Chilkov.”It is really easy. Anyone can do it.”
A major way we can do this is to eat the rainbow of colorful foods as well as eat as many herbs and spices with our meals as possible, including rosemary!
3 | Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an amazing blood sugar stabilizer. This is important for those who are struggling with hormonal-related cancers such as breast, prostate, or uterine cancer, according to Dr. Josh Axe.
Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years as a culinary aid as well as a medicinal substance, especially in Asia. Cinnamon contains a phytonutrient called cinnamaldehyde, which has been shown to extract heavy metals from the body.
Cinnamon has also been shown to work directly against cancer tumor growth. A 2003 report published in the journal Cancer Letters found that cinnamaldehyde has the ability to protect against genetic mutations as well as inhibit tumor growth.
Cinnamon is also good for pain and is a brain booster as well, according to recent research.
4 | Cloves
Clove is known as a powerful substance for oral health. A 2012 Brazilian study is just one of many that have demonstrated cloves anti-inflammatory effects in the oral cavity, where periodontal disease can inflame gums and make them more susceptible to pathogenic bacteria.
In addition, clove is also a source of the phytonutrient eugenol, which has been shown in a recent study published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology to be a liver protectant. It is also extremely high in antioxidants. In fact, some studies suggest that clove has 30 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
Cloves can help reduce cellular oxidation and help prevent major disease, including cancer. Some experts state that clove may be able to chelate unwanted stores of fluoride from the body.
5 | Garlic Powder
Garlic, which is in the same family as chives, scallions, leeks, and onions, contains the phytonutrient allicin. Allicin is what makes garlic have its unique odor. Vegetables that contain allicin are considered cancer-protective because of how they are able to boost the mechanisms of the p53 gene. One of the jobs of p53 is to help the body detect and eliminate defective cells before they become cancerous.
Allicin is antifungal and antibacterial. It is a great first line of defense for candida and other pathogenic infections, such as bacterium and parasites. Many people with cancer also suffer from high levels of pathogenic micro-organisms.
Allicin was found in a 2015 study published in the Journal of Immunology Research to be immune system-balancing.
Garlic also contains naturally occurring sulfur. Sulfur is a must-have substance in the body for both detoxification and metabolism. All of the allicin-containing family of vegetables are considered prebiotics. That means that they contain certain types of fiber that are “food” for beneficial bacteria in the gut.
The best way to consume garlic (as well as onion and other vegetables in the allicin-containing family) is to chop it up and then let it sit for about 10 minutes before eating it or putting it into a dish. If you get a garlic supplement that contains “stabilized allicin,” make sure it contains active enzymes.
6 | Cilantro Leaf
Cilantro is a healing powerhouse for many reasons. Perhaps the most important, however, is what it can do to help chelate heavy metals. In a report presented by the American Chemical Society, cilantro was shown to be able to significantly remove lead from the body. Other studies have shown the same effect with mercury, aluminum, and cadmium. Heavy metal toxicity raises the risk of many kinds of cancer, especially neurological, endocrine-related, and liver-related cancers.
7 | Turmeric/Black Pepper
Many phytonutrients in herbs and spices work with the body to turn on what is known as the “apoptotic switch.” This is a mechanism in our own body that is designed to destroy mutant and defective cells.
“The apoptotic switch is a signal, a wisdom, and an intelligence in cells that tells them that they are not healthy cells, and they should die and recycle themselves,” explains Dr. Chilkov. “That is lost in tumor cells, so not only are they growing but they are failing to die. There are so many botanicals and phytochemicals that turn that apoptotic switch back on.”
Turmeric is not only a great anti-inflammatory. It can also switch apoptosis back on in cancer cells and cause apoptosis. In fact, turmeric has been studied perhaps more than any other herb for this particular trait. To date, there are over 6,000 studies available at Pubmed.gov on the cancer healing properties of turmeric and its main cancer-fighting substance, curcumin.
Studies also indicate that curcumin is able to destroy cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are the ones which are primarily responsible for cancer metastasis.
“When we have a primary tumor, we have two types of cells, non-cancer stem cells and cancer stem cells. And what causes metastasis is the cancer stem cells,” explains Dr. Tony Jimenez, oncologist, natural health visionary, and founder of Hope 4 Cancer. “So they leave the primary tumor, they’ve transitioned to something called mesenchymal stem cells. Then they penetrate the bloodstream, they become circulating tumor cells, and then that’s what goes through the bloodstream, goes to the lung, to the liver, to the bone, or to the brain. And that’s the metastatic process. So, destroying and killing the cancer stem cells and circulating tumor cells is key in the survival of cancer.”
While research coming out of major universities such as Harvard and UCLA are showing how chemo and radiation can actually enhance cancer stem cell activity, other research is showing how key substances found in nature can destroy them.
Dr. Thomas Lodi puts it simply:
“If someone went to God and said, ‘God, we’re having a problem down here on Earth with cancer. Can you help us?’ He’d say, ‘I did. I gave you curcumin[!]’ ”
In order for curcumin to be best absorbed in the body, it needs a companion substance. This is called piperine from common black pepper. Ever wonder why Indian food is sometimes so spicy? Now you know why!
Piperine, together with curcumin, was found to be able to help modulate the immune system, boost natural killer cell activity, lower inflammation, help prevent heart disease and diabetes, and lower cancer risk in a 2007 report put out by researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.
8 | Ginger Root
Ginger root can be consumed either as a fresh powder, grated or sliced raw on salad, or in stir-fry. Either way, it is delicious, refreshing, and oh-so-good for the gut, the immune system, the circulation, and just about everything else!
Like curcumin in turmeric, ginger not only keeps regular cancer cells at bay, it can also affect cancer stem cells as it does this through a substance called 6-Shogaol. One study conducted by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India found that ginger was 10,000 times more effective at killing cancer stem cells than the conventional chemo drug Paclitaxel, usually used for reproductive systems cancers.
These Herbs are the Tip of the Iceberg!
There are so many herbs and spices out there that can help you on your journey towards a vibrant, cancer-free life. The above 8 represent some of the most potent, but by no means the only ones.
Variety really is the spice of life, and that goes for healing spices themselves as well. Other potent roots, herbs, and seasonings that have been found to have cancer-protective agents include:
- ginger root
- beet powder
- cayenne pepper
- green tea (especially matcha green tea)
- Himalayan salt
- chanca piedra
- onion powder
…and so much more!
A Word About Mushrooms
While mushrooms don’t really count as an herb or a spice (and you are more likely to find them in your fridge, not your cupboard), We want to give a quick “shout out” to these common fungi you can find in your local grocery store. Mushrooms are probably the most beneficial, nutritional food on the planet, and recent research is discovering that even the more common varieties such as button mushrooms are actually packed with anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting nutrients, and phytonutrients.
Dozens of studies over the years have proven the effectiveness of a variety of medicinal mushrooms on immune system regulation, cancer prevention, and more. Some specific types that have sound research behind them include Chaga, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail. Turkey Tail has recently been in the spotlight because of leading edge clinical trials conducted through Bastyr University and mycologist Paul Stamets regarding Polysaccharide K. This is a phytonutrient in Turkey Tail that has been shown to inhibit breast cancer cells directly.
The next time you go to the grocery store, be sure to pick up a pack of buttons, shitakes, or portobellos to go with your stir fry (or, in the case of portobellos, as an alternative to beef for a hamburger). You will be getting an immune system boost as well as a tasty treat!
Now You Know About the Super Spices You Already Have. It’s Time to Start Using Them!
As a species, we have thrived for thousands of years by deriving both our nourishment and our medicine from the plants that grow in the ground. Now that you have learned all about the most common ones, all you have to do is look in your own kitchen cupboard to begin your cancer healing and prevention journey.
Like Dr. Axe suggests, every time you go to make yourself a meal, make it a point to sprinkle one or more spices on your dish. Whether it is a breakfast bowl that could use a little cinnamon or a savory main dish that would benefit from the hearty aroma and taste of rosemary, have fun with those spices and know that you are preventing cancer with every shake!
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Maureen Cleveland says
Hi. I love this article!. I am going to print it out for future reference. I am 76 and 5 years past a total hysterectomy for Uterine and cervical cancer. I refused chemo and radiation because I knew there had to be a better way. My research led to you first and I was blown away. I have been following your advice (and others) ever since so I want to sincerely thank you for that.
I know the healing power of herbs and have many in my house. But my mother, bless her soul, didn’t know how to cook – everything was just opening a can. Consequently I know very little about how to use them. I would really appreciate an article on simple ways to incorporate these herbs daily. Like which herbs taste best with which foods.. How many times a week should you use each herb to get the best results? I cook very simply – mostly a potato and veggies, so would not be interested in fancy recipes with lots of ingredients and takes a while to make.. Which is the best form to get them in – powdered or the actual plant? Or does it matter?
Do you already have an article written that addresses these things? If not, could you consider writing one? Thank you so much for all you do and for following God in the direction he has given for your life to go (both of you)!
Alexander Grant says
A great to start would be Charlene’s cancer fighting cuisine. Tons of great recipes. You can find them all here: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/category/nutrition/recipes/