Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Spice


To examine the associations between the regular consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality.

Concepts: Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Cohort, Epidemiology, Demography, Actuarial science, Spice


Rhus coriaria L. (sumac) is an important crop widely used in the Mediterranean basin as a food spice, and also in folk medicine, due to its health-promoting properties. Phytochemicals present in plant foods are in part responsible for these consequent health benefits. Nevertheless, detailed information on these bioactive compounds is still scarce. Therefore, the present work was aimed at investigating the phytochemical components of sumac fruit epicarp using HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS in two different ionisation modes. The proposed method provided tentative identification of 211 phenolic and other phyto-constituents, most of which have not been described so far in R. coriaria fruits. More than 180 phytochemicals (tannins, (iso)flavonoids, terpenoids, etc.) are reported herein in sumac fruits for the first time. The obtained results highlight the importance of R. coriaria as a promising source of functional ingredients, and boost its potential use in the food and nutraceutical industries.

Concepts: Time, Nutrition, Plant, Citrus, Fruit, Spice, Sumac, Rhus


Ginger, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, is a common spice and also a widely used medicinal plant in ancient China. Ginger is an ingredient of Ge-Gen-Tang (Kakkon-to; GGT). GGT has been proved to have antiviral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). However, it is unknown whether ginger is effective against HRSV.

Concepts: Cell, Organism, Respiratory system, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Ginger, Zingiberaceae, Spice, Zingiber


A number of factors likely affect the liking of capsaicin-containing foods such as social influences, repeated exposure to capsaicin, physiological differences in chemosensation, and personality. For example, it is well known that repeated exposure to capsaicin and chilies can result in chronic desensitization. Here, we explore the relationship between multiple personality variables - body awareness/consciousness, sensation seeking, and sensitivity to punishment, and sensitivity to reward - and the liking and consumption of capsaicin-containing foods. As expected, a strong relationship was found between liking of spicy foods and frequency of chili consumption. However, no association was observed between frequency of chili consumption and the perceived burn/sting of sampled capsaicin. Nor was there any association between perceived burn/sting of capsaicin and any of the personality measures. Private Body Consciousness did not relate to any of the measures used in the current study. Sensation Seeking showed positive correlations with the liking of spicy foods, but not non-spicy control foods. Sensitivity to Punishment showed no relation with frequency of chili consumption, and nonsignificant negative trends with liking of spicy foods. Conversely, Sensitivity to Reward was weakly though significantly correlated with the liking of a spicy meal, and similar nonsignificant trends were seen for other spicy foods. Frequency of chili consumption was positively associated with Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward. Present data indicate individuals who enjoy spicy foods exhibit higher Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward traits. Rather than merely showing reduced response to the irritating qualities of capsaicin as might be expected under the chronic desensitization hypothesis, these findings support the hypothesis that personality differences may drive differences in spicy food liking and intake.

Concepts: Scientific method, Food, Sense, Capsaicin, Chili pepper, Dissociative identity disorder, Black pepper, Spice


Coumarin as an additive or as a constituent of tonka beans or tonka extracts is banned from food in the United States due to its potentially adverse side effects. However, coumarin in food from other natural ingredients is not regulated. “True Cinnamon” refers to the dried inner bark of Cinnamomum verum. Other cinnamon species, C. cassia, C. loureiroi, and C. burmannii, commonly known as cassia, are also sold in the U.S. as cinnamon. In the present study, coumarin and other marker compounds were analyzed in authenticated cinnamon bark samples as well as locally bought cinnamon samples, cinnamon-flavored foods, and cinnamon-based food supplements using a validated UPLC-UV/MS method. The experimental results indicated that C. verum bark contained only traces of coumarin, whereas barks from all three cassia species, especially C. loureiroi and C. burmannii, contained substantial amounts of coumarin. These species could be potential sources of coumarin in cinnamon-flavored food in the U.S. Coumarin was detected in all locally bought cinnamon, cinnamon-flavored foods, and cinnamon food supplements. Their chemical profiles indicated that the cinnamon samples and the cinnamon in food supplements and flavored foods were probably Indonesian cassia, C. burmannii.

Concepts: United States, Cinnamon, Cinnamomum, Spice, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamomum burmannii, Malabathrum, Cinnamaldehyde


In response to recent claims that synthetic antioxidants have the potential to cause toxicological effects and consumers' increased interest in purchasing natural products, the meat and poultry industry has been seeking sources of natural antioxidants. Due to their high phenolic compound content, fruits and other plant materials provide a good alternative to conventional antioxidants. Plum, grape seed extract, cranberry, pomegranate, bearberry, pine bark extract, rosemary, oregano, and other spices functions as antioxidants in meat and poultry products. Pomegranate, pine bark extract, cinnamon, and cloves have exhibited stronger antioxidant properties than some synthetic options. Plum products, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, rosemary, and some spices all have been shown to affect the color of finished meat or poultry products; however, in some products such as pork sausage or uncured meats, an increase in red color may be desired. When selecting a natural antioxidant, sensory and quality impact on the product should be considered to achieve desired traits.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Meat, Fruit, Cinnamon, Medicinal plants, Pork, Sausage, Spice


In view of the wide-spread deficiency of iron and zinc in populations dependent on plant foods, it is desirable to improve the bioavailability of the same. Specific dietary spices may alter the ultrastructure and permeability characteristics of intestines. Groups of Wistar rats were fed piperine, capsaicin and ginger containing diets for 8 weeks in order to examine their possible influence on intestinal absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Everted segments of duodenum, jejunum and ileum portions of small intestines isolated from these rats were examined for ex vivo uptake of iron, zinc and calcium from incubations containing digesta of finger millet. Higher uptake of iron, zinc and calcium by the intestinal segments from spice-fed animals was observed. The increase in the mineral uptake was the highest for calcium with >100% in some cases. The positive influence of dietary capsaicin was more pronounced on zinc uptake as compared to that of iron. Uptake of the glutamic acid standard was 87% and 62% higher in the case of jejunal segments of rats fed piperine and ginger. The higher intestinal uptake of iron and zinc as a result of consumption of pungent spices could encourage a strategy to reduce deficiency of these trace elements prevalent in population dependent on plant based foods.

Concepts: Digestive system, Large intestine, Intestine, Small intestine, Duodenum, Ginger, Jejunum, Spice


Abstract Advanced glycation endproducts and oxidative stress contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. The total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant, and antiglycation properties of crude ethanolic extracts of 10 common culinary herbs and spices from Mauritius were investigated in vitro. Fluorescence at 370 nm/440 nm was used as an index of albumin glycation. Allium sativum had the highest TPC (3.1 mg GAE/mL), whereas Allium cepa L. showed the highest radical scavenging capacity (72%) and Zingiber officinale had the most potent ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) (2.99 mg AAE/mL). In contrast, Thymus vulgaris and Petroselinum crispum had the most potent antiglycation activity with IC(50) values of 21.8 and 200 mg/mL, respectively. There was no significant correlation between TPC (r=0.001), FRAP (r=0.161), and the antiglycation activity (r=0.034) for the extracts studied. Therefore, the results showed that antiglycation properties of plant-derived extracts cannot always be attributed to their phenolic content or antioxidant potential.

Concepts: Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Garlic, Allium, Ginger, Onion, Spice, Alliaceae


The study was carried out to determine the effect of ginger on the plasma pharmacokinetics of ciprofloxacin and Isoniazid in a rat model in phase 1. The effects of the herb on the penetration of ciproflacin and Isoniazid into the lung tissues were also determined in phase 2. In phase 1, Albino rats of both sexes (n = 20) were divided into 4 groups of 5 rats per group. Two groups received oral ciprofloxacin (20 mg/kg) and isoniazid (15 mg/kg). Other groups were fed with ginger (5 mg/kg) for 10 days followed by the drug administration on the 11th day. Blood samples were collected from each group at 0-, 0.5-, 1-, 2-, 5-, 8-, 12-, and 24-hour intervals. Plasma concentrations of the drugs were determined by a spectrophotometric method and the pharmacokinetic parameters determined using noncompartmental method as implemented in the winNonlin program. In phase 2, where the effects of the herb on the penetration of the drugs were determined, the concentrations of ciprofloxacin and isoniazid attained in the lung fluid of rats in the presence and absence of the herb were compared after a single oral dose of the drugs used in the same dose range as in phase 1. In the first phase, treatment with ginger significantly increased the area under the concentration-time curve of ciprofloxacin, whereas Vz and Cl were decreased. Ginger significantly decreased the area under the concentration-time curve of isoniazid, whereas Vz and Cl were increased. Ginger enhanced the penetration of ciprofloxacin and Isoniazid into the lung tissues; however, their rates of penetration were delayed.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Rat, Pharmacokinetics, Herb, Ginger, Zingiberaceae, Spice, Zingiber


The overall objective of this study was to develop a decontamination method against microorganisms in cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton) seeds using ozone as a decontaminating agent. Ozone treatment was conducted 3 times, at 24-h intervals, and the parameters of the process were determined assuring the least possible losses of biologically active substances (essential oils and polyphenols): ozone concentration 160 to 165.0 g/m(3) ; flow rate 0.1 L/min; pressure 0.5 atm; time 30 min. After each step of decontamination, the microbiological profile of the cardamom seeds was studied, and the contaminating microflora was identified. Next to the microbiological profile, the total polyphenol content (TPC), composition of essential oils, free radical-scavenging capacity, total antioxidant capacity, ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and LC-MS polyphenol analysis were determined. This study shows that extract from cardamom seeds after ozone treatment is characterized by a better radical scavenging activity (IC50 = 24.18 ± 0.04 mg/mL) than the control sample (IC50 = 31.94 ± 0.05 mg/mL). The extract from cardamom seeds after ozone treatment showed an improved FRAP activity as well (613.64 ± 49.79 mmol TE/g compared to 480.29 ± 30.91 mmol TE/g of control sample). The TPC and the total antioxidant capacity were negatively affected, respectively, 41.2% and 16.2%, compared to the control sample.

Concepts: Microbiology, Antioxidant, Polyphenol antioxidant, Ginger, Zingiberaceae, Spice, Cardamom, Elettaria