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Aroma News You Can Use -  Herbs

May 20, 2006

How Well Do You Know Herbs?


Many scientists believe that using even a small amount of
herbs in cooking provides many phytochemicals that
effectively fight cancer. Fresh herbs are preferable
because they are the most flavorful and contain the most
phytochemicals, but dried herbs are still potent. Match
each herb with one of the phytochemicals found in it.

1. Turmeric - An essential ingredient in curry dishes, this
herb contains the yellow pigment curcumin. Curcumin tends
to stay in the gastrointestinal tract, where it appears to
block the release of damaging substances that can switch on
cell proliferation, resulting in colon polyps and possibly
colon cancer. In cell culture studies, curcumin has slowed
the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.

2. Rosemary - The needle-like leaves of this pine-scented
herb contain carnosol, a strong antioxidant. Carnosol may
help guard against breast cancer by detoxifying substances
that can initiate the cancer process. It may also protect
against skin and lung cancers. This herb can be used in
soups and stews and roasted chicken, fish or vegetables.

3. Oregano - Minute amounts of farnesol, a phytochemical in
this herb, have blocked the growth of a fast-growing skin
cancer in mice. This herb also contains quercetin, a strong
antioxidant, which may be especially protective against
breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. This herb is
particularly good in Mexican or Italian dishes with chili,
garlic, tomatoes and onions.

4. Ginger - The National Cancer Institute lists this
pungent herb as one of the foods with the strongest
anti-cancer activity. The pungency in the fresh herb comes
from gingerol. When dried, zingerone is formed. Both
Phytochemicals have antioxidant and anti- inflammatory
effects. They are believed to suppress the growth of cancer
cells by inducing cell death. This herb is used fresh in
many Asian dishes.

5. Parsley - Another herb singled out by the National
Cancer Institute for its anti-cancer effect has a faint,
subtle flavor. It is rich in polyacetylenes, which seem to
protect against certain carcinogens found in tobacco smoke.
It may also help to regulate the body's production of
prostaglandin, a substance that is a powerful tumor
promoter. The leaves of this plant are excellent in tomato
sauces, salad dressings and most vegetables.

6. Mint - The phytochemical limonene is found primarily in
the peel of citrus fruit, which isn't often eaten. Studies
suggest, however, that this powerful anti-cancer agent can
block the development of breast tumors and shrink them. Add
limonene to your diet by using this refreshing herb in your
tea, as well as with fresh fruits and salads.