x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

A spicy discovery

Spices and herbs have always played a role in Middle Eastern dishes. New research shows they could help fight deadly diseases.

Lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine will know the important role spices play in the preparation of traditional meals. Few, however, might be aware just how beneficial these spices seem to be to our health.

As The National reports today, a new Emirates Foundation-funded study from the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain claims that the spice saffron could help fight the spread of cancer cells. If shown to be true, this could alter the way the disease is treated.

Natural extracts from herbs such as cinnamon and horseradish have long been advocated by alternative health practitioners for any number of ailments.

New age medicines and treatments may draw sneers from some quarters, but herbal remedies have always had a home to our east. Coincidently, the UAE has long-served as a trading hub for the transport of spices like saffron, cumin and black pepper from India, Pakistan and Iran. Perhaps it was only a matter of time that an enterprising researcher examined whether spices could do for our bodies what they do for our favourite dishes.