The Spices We Use

In my research travels I discovered something interesting which led to something else interesting which led to something else. Rabbit tracks, in other words. I discovered where some of our tax dollars are wisely spent, PubMed, a massive National Institute of Health database. Anyone can access every study listed there. It’s a fantastic resource. (Link below.)

Did you know, for example, that in the 1500s nutmeg was used as an abortifacient to induce miscarriage? In the Swinging Sixties it was used to get high.

The toxic dose for nutmeg is two to three teaspoons. Yep, it can kill you.

Cinnamon can be dangerous, too, if you use the wrong kind. Most of the common stuff in the supermarkets is cassia cinnamon that contains coumarin. That’s a powerful blood thinner. A quarter teaspoon of cassia cinnamon a day several days a week might be toxic. The safer bet is Ceylon cinnamon which will always be labeled Ceylon.

Tarragon seems to be worrisome, too. A study on white blood cells in humans in 2013 suggested that tarragon might have some DNA damaging properties.

To counteract the bad news, four spices have powerful anti-inflammatory properties:

  • cloves
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • turmeric

The more I do research on nutrition the more I realize that we consumers aren’t being told a whole bunch about the food we eat. Scary, hmm?


Other searchable public databases:

6 thoughts on “The Spices We Use”

  1. Not exactly a spice but Lysol spray use to be advertised as a way to make sure you are clean during (ahem) that time of the month . Look at a magazine called mental floss and research the history of normal everyday items , you would be surprised at their history

  2. I thought doctors encouraged patients to use cinnamon because it helps with blood sugar and cholesterol? I guess some of that was the blood thinning property, but the dose you mentioned is one some people use. Proves one must keep up with the studies because newer studies can dispel previous ones which can now be dangerous to one’s health.

    • From what I’ve read they did the same studies on Ceylon cinnamon and didn’t get the same results which made them reconsider and determine that it was the coumarin in cassia cinnamon that was responsible.

      I really wish they’d make the dangers of cinnamon more public because I know people – and I used to – put a bunch in my tea every day.

  3. Wow! I had no idea about cinnamon and nutmeg. You are a wealth of information Karen thatโ€™s why I always go to you most times before going to google ๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Well, to paraphrase an old saying, he who treats himself has a fool for a patient. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have to admit, however, that I’ve been doing lots and lots of research on nutrition and it is opening my eyes.

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