It’s a popular seasoning for cuisines around the globe – a warm mixture of nutmeg, cloves, black pepper and cinnamon. But researchers at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine say allspice can help men prevent prostate cancer.
Their study showed that a compound found within allspice can actually help to slow the growth of prostate cancer.
Further, research may even uncover that the seasoning holds properties favorable to prostate cancer prevention.
Their study on allspice as a preventive and cure for the second biggest killer among men was published online in the Oxford Journals’ Carcinogenesis.
Slowing the advancement of a deadly cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 14 percent of men can expect to receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime. About 1 in 38 men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die of this disease. So, how can allspice help?
Allspice is native to Jamaica, the world’s largest exporter of the seasoning, where it is derived from a dried, unripe berry of a native evergreen. The University of Miami researchers discovered that the compound known as Ericifolin in allspice has the ability to suppress androgen receptors. It is understood that the androgen receptor plays a critical role in the growth of cancerous tumors in the prostate. Androgen, also called androgenic hormone or testoid, is a hormone that controls the development of male characteristics by binding to androgen receptors.
Tumors in the prostate use androgens, especially testosterone, for growth. Making use of the Ericifolin compound in allspice, it may be possible to develop a treatment utilizing androgen deprivation therapy, or hormone therapy, to effectively treat aggressive prostate cancer. If the receptor can be blocked or made ineffective, then the tumor will no longer be able to consume the hormone and advance.
In laboratory animals, Ericifolin was found to slow cancer growth by as much as 50 percent. The next step in the research is to determine if allspice can prevent prostate cancer from ever getting a start. It has also been shown, following the laboratory experiment involving mice and prostate cancer cells, that the same aqueous allspice extract could be effective in slowing the growth of breast cancer cells, raising the possibility that multiple components found in allspice could be identified as combatants for a variety of cancer types.
A better answer than toxic pharmaceutical substances
While a number of pharmaceuticals have been developed to block the androgen receptors, none have been found to be as effective at the job as the natural alternative of using allspice. In addition, unlike drugs developed to treat prostate cancer, allspice is nontoxic.
Most synthetic drugs come with a long list of negative side effects. These include impotence, hot flushes, sweating, fatigue, weakness, tenderness in the breast, and flare pain in the area of the tumor. As treatment with these drugs continues, longer-term (unwanted) side effects can develop, including memory loss, weight gain, depression, moodiness, osteoporosis and risk of early heart attack.
Adding the health benefits of allspice to your diet
Pound for pound, allspice is believed to have more antioxidants than any other spice. The good news is, that means you don’t have to consume the seasoning in large quantities to benefit from its cancer-fighting attributes.
Researchers of the Miami study are not suggesting that allspice be eaten at every meal, but rather that the slow and consistent consumption of the seasoning could allow men to reap its natural health benefits in the fight against prostate cancer. Given the preliminary findings that point to the potential for additional cancer-fighting properties, everyone could benefit from the addition of allspice to their diets.
Allspice is just one of several dietary changes that could slow the advancement of prostate cancer. Other prostate cancer-fighting foods include green tea, broccoli, turmeric and pomegranate.