By Sylvia Booth Hubbard   |   Tuesday, 18 Jul 2017 09:37 AM

Some of the spices you use every day do much more than just add zip to your meals. Many are nutritional powerhouses packed with disease-fighting antioxidants so potent that you might consider keeping them in your medicine cabinet as well as your kitchen.

Modern research has shown that the antioxidants in some spices are so potent that they fight  inflammation, which is implicated in most diseases associated with aging, even better than prescription medications.

Add the disease and inflammation-fighting properties of the following spices to your anti-aging arsenal:

Cinnamon. A study published in Diabetes Care found that cinnamon helps improve glucose levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Volunteers who consumed cinnamon over a 40-day period reduced blood glucose levels up to 29 percent. Participants were given amounts of 1, 3, or 6 grams a day, and all doses were equally effective at reducing glucose levels. In addition, a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled studies found that cinnamon reduced blood glucose better than the drug Januvia (sitagliptin).

Cinnamon may even be able to halt the progression of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2015 study at Rush University Medical Center, and could eliminate or reduce the need to take expensive drugs. A 2014 study, also from Rush, found that cinnamon also slows the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Cinnamon even promotes heart health. Several studies have found that as little as a quarter of a teaspoon every day could reduce cholesterol levels by up to 30 percent.

Cloves. Cloves have been used for centuries to ease toothaches, and a study by Kuwait University found that clove was as effective in relieving the pain caused by oral injections as benzocaine. Cloves also pack a big punch when dealing with the pain of arthritis. Studies have found that a chemical in cloves called eugenol inhibits COX-2, a protein which triggers inflammation that causes the swelling and pain of arthritis. The drug Celebrex suppresses the same COX-2 protein.

Cloves also fight infection. Numerous studies have shown that cloves are effective in stopping the growth of many different types of bacteria, including E. coli, staph, and Enterobacter. In some cases, they were even more effective than the antibiotic amoxicillin. Studies show that cloves inhibit fungal infections, and even fight strains of fungi which are resistant to standard medications.

Ginger. Ginger has been used to ease gastrointestinal distress for thousands of years, and numerous modern studies have shown it to be as effective as prescription drugs without the side effects. One trial involving 80 new sailors found that ginger significantly reduced their symptoms of motion sickness, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and a Chinese study found that 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of ginger taken before a nausea-inducing event substantially reduced symptoms.

Ginger also kills cancer cells, first by apoptosis, in which the cancer cells commit suicide but leave healthy cells unharmed, and second, by autophagy, a process by which the cells digest themselves.

Turmeric. A German study found that curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory component of turmeric, may help the brain heal. Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine found that curcumin encouraged the growth of nerve cells in the brains of animals, suggesting that the spice could help repair damage from injuries or diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In addition,  a study at the University of California, Los Angeles, found curcumin may treat Alzheimer’s by slowing the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain.

Studies also show turmeric to be an impressive cancer-fighter. Studies at the University of Texas found that turmeric appeared to prevent the development and spread of many cancer types, including breast, colon, and melanoma.

Coriander. After eight weeks of taking a supplement containing coriander, patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects up to 20 percent of Americans, showed improvement in symptoms of abdominal pain and other discomfort three times greater than those who took a placebo. The study was published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

Coriander also fights salmonella. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that a compound in coriander called dodecenal was twice as effective at killing salmonella than gentamicin, the most commonly used drug.

Cayenne. Capsaicin, the component of cayenne that’s the source of cayenne’s heat, eases pain when applied to the skin. Many studies have found it useful for relieving back pain as well as pain caused by arthritis, shingles, headaches, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, diabetic neuropathy, and the pain caused by arthritis. A Case Western Reserve University study found that  80 percent of patients with arthritis reported a decrease in pain after using topical capsaicin for two weeks. Another study, this one from the University of Toronto, found that capsaicin cream significantly reduced nerve pain in patients following shingles.