Everyday herbs and spices for the prevention of breast cancer.

Which herbs and spices can be used to prevent breast cancer? Most herbalists would say “all of them”, and this isn’t far from the truth. Many herbs and spices are spectacular in relation to cellular metabolism and detoxification.

The list below contains some common ones – but be adventurous when using culinary herbs and spices! They’re all good for your health in one way or another.

TumericSpice breast cancer

This is the “go to herb” for lots of natural therapists. Research shows that turmeric is strongly anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immuno-regulatory, effectively inducing cell death and slowing growth of tumours[1].


One of the most widely used herbs in modern times, garlic adds flavour and healthful benefits to meals everywhere! Researchers have proven that is has anti-proliferative and anti-tumour effects [2]. Preparation of garlic is important to maximise its benefits. One of the main active constituents, allicin, is only activated if the clove is crushed. It should then be left for around 10 minutes to give it enough time to be fully activated before cooking. Of course if you can handle it fresh, uncooked garlic is always best.


In addition to being a delightful & aromatic culinary herb, Rosemary is a strong anti-oxidant and has significant regulatory effects on oestrogen and it’s receptors in breast tissue[3].


This warming spice has been traditionally used as a digestive and circulatory stimulant. In recent times, it’s been shown to have a regulatory effect on blood sugar levels and the growth of tumours (which feed on sugar). It’s shown to be active against multiple breast cancer cell lines, inducing cell death and preventing the growth of new blood vessels that supply developing  tumours[4].


Cloves rupture cell membranes in breast, cervical and prostate cancer cell lines with no toxicity to normal human cells[5]. They are not often used in Australian cooking, but taste great in soup, curries and even warming, spicy teas like Chai.

Herbs are very versatile, adding fantastic flavour to soups, stews, salads, curries and even desserts. They’re also great in teas, and even in beauty creams and massage oils for topical application.



[1] Mansuelli, L et al. Curcumin induces apoptosis in breast cell cancer lines and delays the growth of mammary tumours in neu transgenic mice. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Jan-Mar;27(1):105-19

[2] Malki, A et al. Garlic constituent diallyl trisulfide induced apoptosis in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Nov;8(22):2175-85. Epub 2009 Nov 22

[3] Gonsallez-Vallinas, M et al. Modulation of oestrogen and epidermal growth factor receptors by rosemary extract in breast cancer cells. Electrophoresis. 2014 Jun;35(11):1719-27

[4] Wani, K.D et al. Synthesis, characterization and in vitro study of biocompatible cinnamaldehyde functionalized magnetite nanoparticles (CPGF Nps) for hyperthermia and drug delivery applications in breast cancer. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 30;9(9)

[5] Dwivedi, V et al. Comparative anticancer potential of clove (Szyzgium aromaticum) – an Indian spice – against cancer cell lines of various anatomical origin. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(8):1989-93.

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