Essential Oils in Common Spices Kill Sickness-Causing Germs
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) When people talk about getting "food poisoning", they usually mean
they became ill because of bacteria that contaminated something they ate. Some
who comes down with this kind of foodborne disease simply has an upset stomach.
But in far too many cases serious health problems and even death can occur,
especially in very young children, the elderly and people who are already ill.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 76
million people suffer from foodborne illnesses each year in the US, resulting in
325,000 hospitalizations and more than 5,000 deaths. But now scientists have
found a way to protect against three of the top culprits ( E. coli, Salmonella
and Listeria) behind foodborne sickness. The solution isn't some new chemical
treatment or drug. Instead, it's the same thing ancient cultures used and
traditional healers have recommended down through the ages -- common
Natural spices make food
In a study just published in the Journal of Food Science, a
publication of the Institute of Food Technologists, researchers at Processed
Foods Research and Produce Safety and Microbiology units of Western Regional
Research Center from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
investigated the effectiveness of oregano, allspice and garlic
essential oils (EOs)
against disease-causing E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. The EOs were
incorporated into thin, tomato-based coatings known as edible films which were
layered on top of the
bacteria. The disease-causing germs were also exposed to vapors rising up
from the EOs in the tomato film.
The results of this research showed that all three essential oils were
effective, natural barriers against E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, although
there were some differences between the three EOs. Garlic, for example, did
little to stop E. coli or Salmonella but delivered a knock out punch against
Like to take in the yummy aromas of food flavored with herbs and spices? It
turns out, according to the researchers' vapor tests, that oregano and allspice
oils work best to kill bacteria as the spice EOs diffuse through the air. Those
two spices proved especially good at zapping E. coli and Salmonella. Overall,
oregano oil was particularly powerful -- it consistently inhibited the growth of
all three foodborne-illness causing germs tested.
In another recent study, also published in the Journal of Food Science,
the same group of USDA researchers found that EOs from cinnamon, allspice and
cloves also can protect food from a host of bacteria. The scientists placed
allspice, cinnamon and clove bud oils in edible films of apple puree. Then,
after 24 and 48 hours, they documented the antimicrobial properties of the
The results showed Salmonella was most vulnerable to the natural EOs. What's
more, even very low concentrations (one percent and 1.5 percent) of allspice and
clove bud oils suppressed the growth of Listeria. Overall, cinnamon oil was
significantly greater than allspice and clove bud oils against not only
Salmonella but also Listeria and E. coli.
"The results show that apple-based films with allspice, cinnamon or clove bud
oils were effective against the three bacteria. The essential oils have the
potential to provide multiple benefits to consumers," lead researcher R. J.
Avena-Bustillos said in a statement to the media.
According to the McCormick Institute of Science, there is abundant historical
documentation that herbs and spices have been used down through the ages for
medicinal purposes, to keep food fresh, and to enhance the taste of foods. In
fact, unlike so-called "advanced" modern Western culture, ancient civilizations
did not distinguish between spices and herbs used for flavoring from those used
for health benefits.
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