Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Common Spices May Help Diabetes

    Study Shows Herbs and Spices May Help Block Inflammation
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Aug. 6, 2008 -- The spice cabinet may prove to be a source of help for diabetes patients.

    Some of the most commonly used dried herbs and spices may help block the inflammation believed to drive diabetes and other chronic diseases, laboratory studies conducted by researchers from the University of Georgia suggest.

    The researchers tested extracts from 24 common herbs and spices and found that many contained high levels of inflammation-inhibiting antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols.

    The early findings suggest that liberal use of cinnamon in your morning oatmeal or Italian seasonings in your spaghetti sauce could have big payoffs for your health, researcher James L. Hargrove, PhD, tells WebMD.

    "We might all be better off if we used less salt and pepper, and focused more on herbs and spices," Hargrove says. "I've started putting oregano in my eggs. That's not a big change."

    (If you have type 2 diabetes, have you integrated some of these spices into your daily diet? Tell us how on WebMD's Type 2 Diabetes: Support Group board.)

    Cinnamon and Diabetes

    Hargrove and colleagues found that ground clove had the most inflammation-calming polyphenols of any of the spice and herb extracts they tested.

    Cinnamon came in second, but because it is used more in cooking and in larger amounts than ground cloves it has more potential to positively affect health, he says.

    So much has been written about the benefits of cinnamon for lowering blood sugar that many diabetes patients now take cinnamon supplements.

    But the research on cinnamon's effect on diabetes has been mixed.

    Richard Anderson, PhD, was among the first modern researchers to link the antioxidants in cinnamon to increased anti-inflammatory response and blood sugar reductions in diabetes patients.

    A scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Anderson tells WebMD that he made the connection after finding that instead of raising blood sugar as expected, apple pie lowered blood glucose in their test tube study.

    "At first we thought it was the apples, but it soon became clear that it was the cinnamon," he says.

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow