4 Science-Backed Spice-Based Remedies

Many of the properties of spice-based remedies now have scientific backing. Despite this, they're not a first-line treatment and you should use them with caution. What else should you bear in mind? Learn more in this artice!
4 Science-Backed Spice-Based Remedies

Last update: 09 May, 2021

The majority of us know spices for their culinary and medicinal applications. Given that they add taste and smell to foods, we tend to use them when preparing meat, vegetables, and stews, as well as a large variety of recipes. In addition to that, people traditionally prepare spice-based remedies to fight certain pains and illnesses.

But, how much truth is there in these medicinal properties? What do the investigations tell us? Luckily, in recent years specialists have conducted many studies to analyze the effects of this kind of ingredient on our health. Many of the benefits that people attribute to spices are supported by science. So, let’s discover what they are!

Science-backed spice-based remedies

The majority of spice-based remedies come from popular literature and anecdotal data that talk about the benefits. However, in hopes to determine if spices really do have an effect, many investigators have dedicated their time to studying these properties.

For example, a review published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition points out that the spices that contain chemical compounds like phenylpropanoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and anthocyanins are those that offer a potential therapeutic effect.

Additionally, many people claim they have antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activity. This could explain their ability to improve our health. Despite this, we should remember that no remedy of this kind is a first-line therapeutic option or a substitute for medical treatment.

Simply, for their properties, spices have a positive effect when we’re facing certain health problems. In any case, as they’re not exempt from causing side effects, you should use them with caution, and consult a doctor in advance. Let’s take a look at what these 4 remedies are.

1. Spice-based remedies: Turmeric for pain and inflammation

Turmeric is one of the most studied spices with therapeutic potential in recent years. Specifically, we can use it to prepare spice-based remedies against pain and inflammation. The proof for this is shown in a pilot study published in Phytotherapy Research; people with arthritis showed felt their pain had reduced after taking 500mg (1/50 oz.) of turmeric.

Other studies, like this one, published in the journal Foods, support the same effects and suggest that it may be as effective against the pain as ibuprofen when it comes to osteoarthritis in knees. However, it still needs further study.

We can consume this spice in dosages of 2g (2/25 oz.) to 5g (1/5 oz.). You can take it as a tablet, extract, or tea. You can even prepare it in the more traditional way as “turmeric milk”, which is where you add half a tablespoon of powdered turmeric to a cup of warm milk.

ground turmeric on a wooden table with turmeric root behind
Turmeric has huge anti-inflammatory power.

2. Spice-based remedies with ginger for pain and nausea

Specialists have studied the active component in ginger, gingerol, for its potential as a painkiller, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. A systematic review published in Nutrition Journal highlights that ginger extracts are useful for reducing chronic subjective pain without the risk of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs).

In turn, a study published in Integrative Medicine Insights determined that this spice can be a remedy with its antiemetic (anti-vomiting) potential. It’s an economic option that helps control nausea and vomiting. However, more studies are required to determine the appropriate dosage.

For the time being, you can use it in moderate quantities. Simply add a teaspoon of grated ginger to a cup of water. If you want, you can add a little bit of honey to sweeten, or lemon juice to add a citrus taste. You can drink this spice-based remedy 2 or 3 times a day.

2. Cinnamon to reduce blood sugar levels

Be careful with this one! Before trying this natural spice-based remedy, it’s important to bear in mind any medical recommendations. Although studies suggest that cinnamon is beneficial when it comes to controlling glucose levels, you shouldn’t take it in excessive amounts, nor should you use it to substitute any medication.

Even when you’re undergoing some kind of medical treatment, it’s better to consult a professional to avoid interactions. With that said, let’s take a look at what the investigations say. Cinnamon contains a substance called cinnamaldehyde. This is what specialists say gives the spice its properties.

Another study, published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, highlights that cinnamon contributes to increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and glucose transportation. Also, it improves the glucose rate in healthy subjects and has beneficial effects on patients with metabolic syndrome.

Similarly, a publication in the medical journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism notes that studies have demonstrated that this spice can reduce blood sugar levels in fasts between 10 and 29% in diabetic patients.

The recommended dosage varies between 1g (1/25 oz.) and 6g (1/5 oz.) a day. You can include it in your diet as an infusion, a shake, or any other way. What’s important is that you avoid consuming it in excess.

bowl of ground cinnamon on a wooden table with cinnamon sticks
Using cinnamon to control your glucose level is a therapeutic option, as and when you combine it with suitable, doctor-prescribed medication.

4. Spice-based remedies: Cayenne pepper for pain

Of all the many spice-based remedies that excited, those made with cayenne pepper are one of the most accepted. In fact, today many people use extracts of this spice when creating pharmaceutical products. This is due to its content of the active compound we know as capsaicin. It has painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects.

A review published in the journal Moleculesshows that studies have confirmed that capsaicin is useful when it comes to alleviating pain. Specifically, it has modest yet beneficial effects against several pain syndromes, such as postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and chronic muscular-skeletal pain.

To take advantage of these properties, you can purchase a prescription of 8% capsaicin. Additionally, it’s also available in extracts and supplements. In any case, you should always consult a doctor first.

If you want, you can also make a homemade spice-based remedy with cayenne pepper. To do this you’ll need to mix a tablespoon of cayenne pepper with a cup of coconut oil (2/5 pint). Then heat this in a water bath until the ingredients mix well. Allow this to sit and then apply it topically to the painful areas.

Conclusion

Thanks to the investigations specialists have carried out over recent years, today we’re able to use some spice-based remedies with total confidence.

However, you should remember that they’re not meant to substitute any medical treatment – they’re simply meant to help against certain pains. To ensure you use it safely, you should consult your doctor and determine its possible side effects and interactions.

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