19 potent herbs and spices that help fight cancer

Filed in: Health.

The fight against cancer is something that our body is doing all the time, not just when one is diagnosed with the disease. Cancer is triggered by toxins in the environment and in our food, inflammatory conditions, free radicals formed in the body, hormonal actions, recurrent bacterial infections and viral diseases. When any of the above agents causes damage to a cell, and the damaged cell divides, a cancerous growth begins.

Our immune system tries to destroy these abnormal cells through different mechanisms. Produce more killer T cells, induce the self-destruction of abnormal cells (apoptosis), secrete the tumor necrotizing factor (TNF) and prevent the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that feed the tumor are some of them. Many bioactive compounds in our food help the body in these efforts to fight cancer. Some culinary herbs are particularly rich in preventive and cancer-fighting substances. It would seem that nature has endowed them with surprising aromas and strong flavors just to catch our attention so that we include these potent herbs in our culinary traditions.

Even sick animals look for plants with certain medicinal values ​​to heal themselves. A typical example is the way veterinarian John Hoxsey discovered the antitumor properties of certain wild plants when his horse frequented a particular area to heal from a tumor. He used the herbs that grow in that area to make an herbal remedy, and he used it successfully on other horses in the area. His grandson, Dr. Harry Hoxsey, tested these herbs in cancer patients and also had positive results.

Let's look at some culinary and medicinal herbs and spices that can help fight cancer.


This basic ingredient of curry powder comes from the rhizome similar to the ginger of an annual herbaceous. Curcuma longae. Curcumin in turmeric is a very strong anti-inflammatory agent, as well as having broad spectrum antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties. Its anticancer activity includes helping the apoptosis of damaged cells, preventing their rapid division into tumors and inhibiting the development of capillaries that feed tumors.

There is a low incidence of certain types of cancer in communities that traditionally use turmeric as a condiment. Phase I clinical trials have shown that curcumin can prevent precancerous tissues from turning into cancer. It is effective against cancers of the digestive tract, breast and lung.

The bioavailability of curcumin increases when cooking turmeric powder for more than 10-15 minutes. It adheres easily to fats and, when heated in oil, lends its bright yellow color and its pungent odor without biting the dishes.


Garlic or Allium sativum and other vegetables of the Allium family, such as onions, shallots and leeks, are rich in organic compounds of sulfur, allicin and allyl sulfides, which are known to protect cancer. It has been found that they protect against cancers of the stomach and colon. Including more of these vegetables in the diet may reduce the risk of other cancers as well.

Diallyl disulfide derived from garlic eliminated leukemia cells and prevented the growth of breast, lung and skin cancer cells in laboratory studies. Ajoene is another powerful anti-carcinogenic substance isolated from garlic. The mechanism of action is multiple and includes DNA repair, deceleration of cell division and apoptosis of abnormal cells, among others. The advice of the World Health Organization to eat one or two cloves of garlic is not without a valid reason.


Ginger is the stalk / underground rhizome of tropical grass. Zingiber officinale. This popular spice adds a refreshing but spicy kick to food. The ginger rhizome is used both fresh and dry. Surprisingly, the flavor of fresh ginger used in the kitchen and the dry powder of spices used to flavor gingerbread and cookies are as different as they can be. The active substances in them also differ, the fresh ginger that contains gingerol and the dry ginger that has zingerone. Both are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, reducing the risk of cancer.

In laboratory studies conducted in King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, It has been shown that ginger extract inhibits cell proliferation in breast cancer. This action was directed exclusively against the abnormal cells, while the normal cells of the breast were left alone. In mice with prostate cancer, the administration of raw ginger extract reduced the size of the tumor to half the original size. The phytochemicals in ginger promote the apoptosis of cancer cells and have a preventive action against metastasis. Since tea and ginger extract are often recommended to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, it can be an excellent adjunct to conventional treatments for cancer.

Black pepper

Black pepper is the dried fruit of the vine Piper nigrum. The wars have been fought and the countries have been captured for the sake of this spice, aptly called "black gold". The white pepper is not more than its version with skin. The anti-inflammatory property of black pepper has been exploited for a long time in traditional medicinal herbs, but now it is found that the piperine extracted from the spice has an excellent antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effect.

Piperine has the ability to inhibit breast cancer stem cells, particularly those of very aggressive types, not sensitive to estrogen, that do not respond to current preventive medications, tamoxifen and raloxifene. It does not have the toxic side effects of these medications and leaves the breast tissue intact. Not only that, piperine improves the preventive action against cancer of curcumin and increases the bioavailability of the potent polyphenolic compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate in green tea. A daily dose of one-eighth teaspoon may be all you need to get the benefits.


The Mediterranean shrub Rosmarinus officinalis With aromatic leaves it is well known for its medicinal properties. It contains rosmarinic acid and caffeic-rosemary acid that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, capable of reducing the oxidative stress that triggers many cancers. In a study in mice with skin cancer, rosmarinic acid reduced inflammation and suppressed the development of tumors.

The rosemary carnosol neutralizes the toxins that trigger breast cancer. The terpenes in the plant inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. When an Adriamycin adjuvant was used, it helped reduce the resistance of the tumor cells to this chemotherapy drug.


Oregano or wild marjoram named after Origanum vulgare It is another Mediterranean herb with protective effect against cancer shown. The monoterpenoid phenolic compound carvacrol, present in oregano and in many other members of the mint family, helps prevent the spread of cancer. Another way in which oregano can protect us from cancer is by reducing the formation of heterocyclic carcinogenic amines that are formed when animal proteins are cooked at high temperatures. Soaking meat and fish in a marinade with oregano before cooking can reduce your risk of cancers caused by HCA.


Petroselinum crispum or garden parsley belonging to the family Apiaceae is widely used as an herb in many indigenous cuisines around the world. The volatile oils in this herb have antioxidant action, especially myristicin which inhibits the formation of tumors and activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase to produce Glutathione, the most important antioxidant generated inside our body. Luteolin is an excellent antioxidant flavonoid found in this herb.

The apigenin found in parsley, as well as in celery belonging to the same family, is an active agent to fight cancer. This phytochemical induces autophagy in blood cancer cells and inhibits tumor-induced angiogenesis.


Dill, the herb Anethum graveolens From the Apiaceae family, it is a popular addition to pickles, where its strong antimicrobial properties are put to good use. Its preventive effect of cancer comes from the monoterpene anetofuran that is produced in the leaves and seeds of this herb. It causes the secretion of glutathione-S-transferase that facilitates the antioxidant action of glutathione to relieve oxidative stress caused by environmental pollutants. Limonene and carvone are two other active monoterpenes found in dill. They help prevent DNA damage that could trigger cancers.

Flax seed

The seeds of Linum usitatissimum,In general, they are praised for their omega-3 fatty acids and for their beneficial effect on heart health. When it comes to fighting cancer, it's the lignans like Secoisolariciresinol (SDG) that get the credit. These plant estrogens mimic the estrogen secreted in our body and regulate its action downward, which helps reduce the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.

It has been reported that regular consumption of flax seeds by a group of women has resulted in a 33% reduction in tumor growth. This gives us one more reason to include these healthy seeds in our diet.


Juice from young shoots of wheat grain Triticum aestivum has many health benefits, including protection against cancer. It is a detoxifier and cleans the liver and kidneys and purifies the blood. Wheatgrass has been used to treat leukemia as well.

The plant hormone abscisic acid found in the wheatgrass It is responsible for its anti-cancer activity. In plants, this hormone regulates downward physiological processes and delays cell division. Within our body, it produces a strong anti-inflammatory effect that is beneficial for people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Anecdotal evidence shows that wheatgrass juice taken daily can cure breast cancer.

aloe vera

Aloe vera is well known for its protective and anti-inflammatory properties for the skin. Fight inflammation It is a way to reduce the risk of cancer, but this succulent herb also contains many beneficial polysaccharides, such as Acemannan. They can induce the production of tumor necrosis factor that destroys cancer cells. Immunological stimulation actions include increasing the production of interferon and promoting the function of T cells.

Aloe vera can be easily included in the arsenal of fight against cancer due to its easy availability and excellent safety profile.

Recommended reading: 10 reasons why each household should have an aloe vera plant

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As the name implies, Feverfew or Tanacetum parthenium It has been traditionally used to reduce fever and headache. But interest in this herb has been rekindled with the discovery that the parthenolide derived from it can destroy the leukemia cells.

As an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, parthenolide can reduce the risk of developing cancers by inhibiting the proinflammatory signaling pathway. Apart from that, it is also known that cancer cells self-destruct through apoptosis. There are many Feverfew extracts available, but those with high parthenol content may be necessary to provide the anticancer effect.

Red clover

the Red clover Pretension of Trifolium It was favored by Hippocrates for its medicinal properties. It has a long history of use to treat coughs and colds and other respiratory conditions and to purify the blood and get rid of kidney stones. One of the herbs was found to have cancer-fighting properties when veterinarian John Hoxsey accidentally found that his horse was cured of a tumor by grazing in an area where it grew.

Its use in the treatment of cancer is based on isoflavones such as genistein found in the plant. They act as phytoestrogens and down regulate the action of estrogen generated in the body. Since this hormone is involved in most breast cancers, as well as in endometrial and ovarian cancers in women and in prostate and testicular cancers in men, phytoestrogens play an important role in controlling their growth and spread. .


It is a Chinese medicinal herb commonly used in its medical tradition as an anti-aging agent. The shortening of the telomeres that protect our DNA chains is a sign of cellular aging. The bioactive compounds in this herb such as cycloastragenol are known to protect telomeres. The same action may be beneficial to prevent cancers that can be initiated by damaged cells.

Astragalus stimulates the immune system and increases the production of interferon. Clinical studies have shown that the use of this herbal extract as adjuvant for radiotherapy results in a better result and a significant increase in survival times.


This North American plant Larrea tridentada It has a long history of being used in various medicinal preparations of native Indians. The plant is called creosote bush due to its characteristic smell. Chaparral Tea has been used to treat various types of cancer, including colon cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer and prostate cancer.

This bitter mixture contains norhiihydroguairitic acid (NDGA) which has antitumor activity. It is believed that it destroys cancer cells by inhibiting their use of glucose. This literally kills you with hunger.


The purple conical extract. Echinacea purpurea It is a popular remedy against cold and flu. The property of immunological stimulation of this plant has been exploited for a long time by Native Americans and widely studied by modern researchers.

The polysaccharides in echinaceaIt has been found that especially arabinogalactan activates macrophages and increases the activity of T cells, as well as the production of interferon. The extract of the plant contains other bioactive substances such as caffeic acid and flavonoids. Several studies have shown that it is effective against brain tumors.

Sweet wormwood

This herbaceous medicinal plant. Artemisia annua It is different from the European grass Artemisia absintio It is used in alcoholic beverages. Sweet wormwood is an Asian native that has been used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat many diseases, including malaria. Now it has been found to be effective in the treatment of breast cancer.

The artemisinin found in the plant extract selectively targets cancer cells and destroys them without affecting normal cells due to increased iron intake by cancer cells. When artemisinin is combined with iron-bearing transferrin, cancer cells easily absorb it. Once it enters the cells, artemisinin does its job.

African Bush Cancer

Sutherlandia frutescens is an African legume plant traditionally used to treat a range of illnesses ranging from flu and chicken pox to stomach problems, rheumatism and type II diabetes. The antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant are well known, but it is the anti-cancer properties that have given it the common name.

In laboratory studies, the Sutherland extract induced apoptosis of cervical cancer cells in mice and showed an antiproliferative effect in several human cancer cell lines.

Cat claw

The woody vine Uncaria stormy of Central America gets its common name from its curved spines. The extract of the plant stimulates the immune system and acts as an adaptogen that modulates our body's reaction to stress. Since its use in the treatment of skin cancer has shown a visible reduction in the size of tumors, it has gained popularity in recent years despite the absence of endorsements from the medical fraternity.

The bioactive compounds in the extract support the anti-cancer mechanism of white blood cells that engulf the cancer cells by phagocytosis and deactivate them. The claw of the cat, when combined with other anticancer herbs such as echinacea and talus, has a more powerful synergistic effect.

Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are only interested in phytochemicals that can isolate and obtain patents for profit. They are quick to deny the therapeutic value of many traditional medicinal herbs, despite the fact that the anti-cancer drugs Taxanes (aclitaxel, docetaxel, cabazitaxel) were originally derived from yews and Topotecan and irinotecan are based on the alkaloid camptothecin of the Chinese tree Camptotheca acuminata.

Well, that shows that these herbs are powerful tools in our hands and can help us fight cancer. As for culinary herbs, we can definitely include more of them in our diet and eliminate the synthetic flavors and flavor enhancers that are so harmful. Other medicinal herbs should be used with caution, preferably after consulting an herbalist who has a thorough knowledge of its correct use and dosage.


The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. It is known that many herbal supplements have negative or potentially dangerous interactions with certain prescription medications. Always consult with an authorized medical professional before beginning any new herbal supplement.

Reference: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/19-herbs-spices-that-fight-cancer/, by Susan Patterson

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