Many spices have been shown to offer health benefits and reduce your risk of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, recent studies have found that certain spices are linked to healing physical conditions. Here are four spices that are proven to reduce pain symptoms.
Best for: Stomach pain and IBS
Why it works: Turmeric's main component, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. One study showed that curcumin was shown to be as effective a pain reliever as ibuprofen, but with less stress to the stomach, and another revealed that it lowered symptoms of IBS by 50% by reducing inflammation and intense muscle contractions in the bowel.
How to take it: Add just half a teaspoon of turmeric to your dinner or take 400-600mg capsules with each meal.
2. Black Pepper
Best for: Arthritis, stomach pain, and digestive problems
Why it works: A common remedy used in traditional Chinese medicine, pepper contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study found that one of the chemicals in pepper inhibited the human cells' inflammatory activity, meaning that pepper would be an effective treatment for people with arthritis.
How to take it: Incorporate freshly ground peppercorns in your meals, or try it as a supplement in 10mg capsules.
Best for: Headaches
Why it works: In a recent study, 100 people with migraines were given either 50mg of the migraine drug, sumatriptan, or 250mg of powdered ginger. 64% of people given ginger and 70% of those given sumatriptan reported a 90% reduction in pain. However, 20% of the group that used the migraine drug experienced side effects that included dizziness, vertigo, and heartburn.
How to take it: Use fresh or powdered ginger in cooking, try eating pickled Japanese sushi-style ginger, or drink ginger tea.
4. Peppermint Oil
Best for: Upset stomach and IBS
Why it works: According to a 2014 Journal of Gastroenterology, enteric-coated peppermint oil is considered one of the primary choices for treatment of IBS cramps and pain.
How to take it: Drink peppermint tea, or take capsules containing 0.2 ml of peppermint oil.