Which Spices Fight Inflammation?

Which Spices Fight Inflammation?

“Which Spices Fight Inflammation?” Once in a while I come across
a study that’s so juicy, I do an entire
video about it. It’s like my which-fruit-fights
-cancer-better video, or “the best cooking method” one, or that one comparing
thousands of foods. Well, this is one such study. A group of researchers at U of F,
Gainesville and Penn State, set up an elegant experiment. We’ve known ounce per ounce, that herbs and spices have
some of the greatest antioxidant activities known,
but that’s in a test tube. Before we can ask if an herb or
spice has health benefits, it’s first necessary to determine
whether it’s bioavailable. This has never been
done, until now. They could have went
the easy route and just measured the change
in antioxidant level in one’s bloodstream before
and after consumption, but the assumption that the appearance
of antioxidant activity in the blood is an indicator of
bioavailability has a weakness. Maybe more gets absorbed
than we think, but doesn’t show up
on antioxidant tests because it gets bound up
to proteins or cells. So they attempted
to measure physiological changes
in the blood. They were interested in
whether absorbed compounds would be able to
protect white blood cells from an oxidative or
inflammatory injury, whether it would protect
the strands of our DNA from breaking when confronted
by free radicals. They also wondered if the
consumption of herbs and spices might alter cellular
inflammatory responses in the presence of
a physiologically relevant inflammatory insult. What does this all mean? What they did was take
a bunch of people and had each of them eat different types of
spices for a week. There are so many really unique
things about this study, but one was that the quantity
that study subjects consumed was based on the usual levels
of consumption in actual food. Like the oregano group was
given a half teaspoon a day— the kinds of practical quantities people might actually
eat once in awhile. Then at the end of the
week they drew blood from the dozen or
so people they had adding black pepper to
their diets that week, and compared the effects
of their blood to the effects of the
blood of the dozen on cayenne, or cinnamon,
or cloves, or cumin. They had about 10 different
groups of people eating about 10
different spices. Then they dripped
their plasma (the liquid fraction
of their blood) onto human white blood
cells in a petri dish that had been exposed to
an inflammatory insult. They wanted to pick something
really inflammatory so they chose oxidized cholesterol, which is like what you’d
get in your bloodstream after eating something
like fried chicken. So they jabbed the
white blood cells with oxidized cholesterol
and then measured how much TNF they
produced in response. Tumor necrosis factor is a
powerful inflammatory cytokine, infamous for the role it
plays in autoimmune attacks like inflammatory
bowel disease. Compared to the
blood of those who ate no spices
for a week, was the blood of those
eating black pepper able to significantly dampen
the inflammatory response? No. What about any of
these other spices? Cloves, ginger, rosemary,
and turmeric were able to significantly stifle
the inflammatory response. And remember, they weren’t dripping
the spices themselves on these human white
blood cells, but the blood of those
who ate the spices and so represents
what might happen when cells in our body are
exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream
after normal daily consumption. Not megadoses in some pill, just the amount that makes your
spaghetti sauce taste good, or your pumpkin pie
or curry sauce. There are drugs that
can do the same thing. Tumor necrosis factors are
such major mediators of inflammation and
inflammation-related diseases that there are these TNF
blocking drugs on the market for the treatment of
inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis,
inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis, which rake in, collectively,
more than $20 billion a year, because drug companies
charge people $15,000–$20,000 a
year for the drug. At that price, the side effects
better be hugs and rainbows, but no, these drugs carry
a black label warning because they can
cause things like, hmm, cancer and
heart failure. If only there were a
cheaper, safer solution. Curcumin, the yellow
pigment in turmeric a spice that’s a tad
cheaper and safer, but does it work outside
of a test tube? There’s evidence that it may
help in all the diseases for which TNF blockers
are currently being used, and so with health-care costs and
safety being such major issues, this golden spice turmeric may
help provide the solution.


  • Andrea Trussardi says:

    All spices fight inflammation..

  • Melissa Phelps says:

    For more info, you might find this book helpful, it certainly helped me on Anti Inflammatory foods.

  • 2coryman says:


  • Peter Rabitt says:

    All I know is, if I have intractable muscle soreness from a tough workout, I add a 4oz chunk (ie, a LOT) of raw ginger to my smoothie. Sure enough, about 20 minutes later, I get relief AS GOOD as taking 800 mg of ibuprofen. It's almost unbelievable how well it works for muscle soreness.

  • Tom Boardman says:

    great gadzooks, finally something meets the approval of the gods of nutrition!

  • Lisa marie Clark says:

    Hi there look forward to your next findings. Thank you so much.

  • FeelGoodGold says:

    Wonderful one!

  • VICKIE WHITE says:

    Thank you, Dr. Greger

  • Tom Seward says:

    Dr Frankenstein keep looking for substances that fight inflammation because those GMO's you green light sure as hell cause inflammation

  • Soniya Mystical says:

    I started to add these herbs to my daily meals, even pasta. Love it.

  • Maria Young says:

    thanks for your valuable information and teaching human beings how to make informed decisions

  • Andrew Voorhees says:

    turmeric in high doses works better than over the counter pain relief. I've been an athlete since highschool. I know chronic pain from injuries. Turmeric worked so well on my ankle and even my neck pains from falling asleep on the couch. I had to stop training legs because of my injury, but turmeric comes into play. Try this supplement!! its cheap and theres more benefits than just inflammation!

  • Miranda N says:

    As for ginger, is the dry ground powder as effective as the raw plant?

  • zak00101 says:

    Para los hispanohablantes: romero, clavo de olor, curcuma y gengibre. Si le agregan manzanilla y hacen un té es más sano que el Ibuprofeno.

  • G.G. says:

    I like Greger's juicy scientific studies.

  • Chair DPAC says:

    What would help would be to get the comparative result levels of the expensive drugs in terms of their effectiveness…not to take away the better option of natural food but if one is using it as a comparison to show the comparative results.

  • Yadvendra Yadav says:

    Indian yogis knew all this..nothing new..world need to understand yogic knowledge more

  • Enigma Cipher says:

    If turmeric gets any more good press the pharmaceutical industry is going to have to get it banned. I use it every day to reduce the inflammation pinching my radial and CT nerves. Cook it in veggies with anti-inflammatory properties of their own and you will never go back to the pills, I got off of all of mine. Some dishes I can mix in some Rosemary too, but with cloves and ginger I usually reserve those for something less bitter then leafy greens, they are better suited to something mildly sweet.



  • Jesse Davis says:

    can you take garlic tumric and chamile tea togeather and ginger..anybody know im scared its gonna then my blood yoo much im not on no meds

  • Jeff Lebowski says:

    I love ginger but can't stand the taste and aroma of turmeric, also turmeric stains every dish and utensil I use it in.

  • t m says:

    caution dont do this or quit smokeing.too many more people will be around

  • Armando Zessar says:

    Too much antiinflammatories can rise bacteria's levels in the blood.

  • Vince says:

    I've recently had my initial experience with cloves. I added what I thought was a small amount to my smoothie, 1 heaping tablespoon. Wow! That stuff is quite powerful, made my mouth numb and my smoothie was just barely eatable. I would start with a few cloves at most for your first try.

  • Michelle Larsen says:

    what about garlic???

  • Quantum Chang says:

    Curcumin or tumeric is a very drying medicine and not suitable for people with sjogren's syndrome with dry mouth and dry eyes. Curcumin is so drying that it can cause constipation in some people. Normal ginger is a better choice in such situation.

  • Isaac's new jacket says:

    Does anyone know if it matters whether white or yellow turmeric is best? I know yellow is the standard, but white is far easier to handle given the huge roots you can obtain… and the lack of staining!

  • some random dude said: says:

    Are those also good to fight muscle soreness from exercise?

  • Your Wholistic Life says:

    Actually, we could assume that the better health achieved by people around the Mediterranean is due to the high consumption of spices, particularly Rosemary, and not because of wine consumption.

  • J. Carlos Diaz H. says:

    Herbalism teaches us that of course there are herbs that mitigate inflammation. In this case clove, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric are anti inflammatory, but TNFa will not measure other effects. Oregano is antibacterial and up regulates the immune system. Black pepper is a strong mood enhancer and antioxidant. Cayenne is a strong tonic, immune support, and can be used topically on large flesh wounds. Cumin contains some of the highest ORAC points out of all foods because of its incredible ability neutralize free radicals; therefore cooking cumin seeds in oil, like in Indian food, helps neutralize the radical species produces from heated, oxidized oil. Paprika contain high amounts of vitamin A which is great when mixed with saturated fats and cholesterol for maintaining healthy eyes, liver, nerve synapsids, and neurons. Rosemary is an effective estrogen remover to prevent excess estrogen accumulating in the body from plastics, soy, and nonstick pans. Sage can protect against Alzheimer's and is effective to remedy digestive disturbances. So moral of the story? Eat herbs! Anti inflammatory herbs are great, no doubt, but increasing the total amount of used herbs will be beneficial through synergistic relationships between herbs that have not been completely studied, and it will keep the taste buds constantly stimulated.

  • Judy FIELDS DAVIS says:

    Thank you so much!

  • florin80 says:

    There are a few factors in exercises cure joint pain. One plan I discovered which succeeds in merging these is the Mackyns Nature Guard (google it if you're interested) without a doubt the best resource i've heard of. look at the extraordinary info .

  • Stephen Leung says:

    OMG, you just blew my mind! I always thought it was pronounced/spelled tumeric not turmeric.

  • Bat Fink says:

    Pity they didn't test nutmeg, that'd be interesting.

  • Avinash Tyagi says:

    Turmeric is everywhere in Indian food

  • Alvin Lee says:

    Get your curry on, and add an extra spoonful of tumeric powder.

  • John C says:

    Whats Turmeric HT

  • Bethesda Boy says:

    Hate turmeric, hate clove. Ginger is great and essential for asian dishes. Rosemary is great for soups. I wish I didn't hate turmeric.

  • Straight says:

    I went vegan to try and relieve my RA symptoms and even reverse the disease as claimed by this and many online doctors, after nearly two years there has been no difference in the pain levels. I shall remain vegan for ethical reasons but going vegan as a cure for these vile conditions is just rubbish.

  • Karl Laur says:

    Natural TNF blockers do not necessarily have a better side effect profile, they are probably just less potent so the side effects are not as noticeable.

  • Truong Nguyen says:

    Thanks Dr. Greger about helpfull series of Turmeric video!

  • Chris Wesseling says:

    No control group?

  • nebojsa1976 says:

    I've been eating turmeric paste for 3 years or so. What I noticed the most is that my penis grew 2 inches longer.

  • Brian Richards says:

    Black pepper is supposed to enhance the bioavailability of curcurmin, so it may play a role, even if it doesn't fight inflammation itself.

  • Bettina Vogel says:

    How I get the best results against inflammation? Take all 4 spices together in combination with black pepper? Or change every day another? Or eat as much as possibel like 5 spoons a day?
    Usually got Humira TNF alpha blocker as supplement once a week…. but now have a break since 5 weeks and dont wanna start again. Because of lots of sideeffects.
    Eat vegan.

  • Johny40Se7en says:

    Plant power! =P

  • Hypertrophy says:

    man I love your videos!

  • Forty Four says:

    look at the rates of inflammatory diseases in countries that use Tumeric heavy in their traditional cuisine. You will find correlation. You will also find lower obesity rates…that may or may not be related but I personally think it is. The chain of events that tumeric sets off on a cellular level has benefits that simply start with a reduction in inflammatory markers. cool thing about all this is you dont need alot to gain the benefits. I hate Tumeric but if you add just a dash to chili or any savory foods, you dont taste it anyway….just makes your dish orange. Tumeric is an ancient medicinal spice that westerners are just finally starting to warm up to.

  • MrRyanholder says:

    What's the difference between Turmeric and Turmeric HT?

  • Valerie Dural says:

    What is unique about turmeric is that it combats inflammation through multiple mechanisms…. simultaneously! Its multi-pronged approach allows it to work wonders for aches, pains, and arthritis (by stopping inflammation at the source), while also strongly supporting the immune system with antioxidants This ( t.co/1EwwDxCQ8o ) "Liposomalized" Formula" is specifically blended to make the turmeric bind to phospholipids (fats) that increase bioavailability of turmeric 10 to 20 times!

  • Ian Rivlin says:

    Too much waffle,
    Too few facts

  • Nathan Webb says:

    Hey Dr think your viewers may enjoy this curry vid recipe with superspices! https://youtu.be/LTqQi6Fh2ZU

  • EpicWarframeNinjaPvP says:

    Thank you Thank you

  • Shirley Khamani says:

    Anyone know what's HT? What's the difference between Turmeric & Turmeric HT?

  • Diez Nutz says:

    I’m going to snorting Turmeric to relieve my sinusitis, hope this helps.

  • Azlan Foodscapes - Edible Landscapes for Everyone says:

    Piperine in black pepper increases the bioavailability of the cucurmin in turmeric

  • B T says:

    I’ve been taking tuneric for the better part of a year every morning and have seen no improvement in any way.

  • Chandra says:

    @NutritionFact.org why don't you put some conclusion. ??

  • Guilherme Burjato says:

    Thanks for your work!

  • Porfiris Efstathiadis says:

    To raise the antioxidant load of daily consumption i have bought a capsule filler tool and use it to put spices in the capsules  and take a couple with the meal. I prefer the plant based capsules made of cellulose instead of the ones made out of animal parts. But are these capsules safe for consumption? Since they are an industrial product and are usually sold in bulk with no ingredient labels.

  • Lela Marquez says:

    I wish all videos has subtitle in Portuguese

  • Nic Wenzel says:

    Gainsville? thats where me and my bros go lifting everyday!

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