ALLSPICELatin / Botanical Name: Pimenta dioica

Allspice is a zesty spice has as much place healing as it does in pumpkin pie. That's because the berries of this plant contain an oil that can relieve stomach aches, soothe sore muscles and ease toothache pain.

"Allspice owes its healing powers to "eugenol", a chemical component in its oil," says Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph. D., director of the American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City and author of "The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine". Eugenol aids digestion by enhancing the activity of an important digestive enzymes. The oil is also an effective pain reliever. Dentists use "eugenol" as a local anesthetic for teeth and gums, and the chemical is also an ingredient in the over-the-counter (OTC) toothache remedies 'Numzident' and 'Benzodent'.

Aromatic Allspice berries have a long history of use in Caribbean folk healing. Jamaicans drink hot Allspice tea for colds, menstrual cramps and upset stomach. Costa Ricans use Allspice to treat indigestion, flatulence and diabetes. Guatemalans apply crushed Allspice berries to bruises, sore joints and achy muscles. In recent years, the validity of most of these uses has been confirmed by modern science.

Healing with Allspice: Lessens toothache pain: Apply Allspice oil directly to the painful area, one drop at a time, using a cotton swab. (Don't swallow the oil.) Then get to a dentist as soon as possible.
Soothes indigestion: Make an infusion with 1 to 2 teaspoons of Allspice powder per cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, and strain through a coffee filter. Drink up to three cups a day.
Relieves muscle aches and pains: Apply a poultice directly to the sore area. To make the poultice, mix Allspice powder with enough water to make a paste, and then spread the paste on a clean cloth, and cover the entire effected area.

Safety Considerations: Allspice is on the Food and Drug Administration's list of herbs generally regarded as safe for external use, though its highly concentrated oil should never be swallowed. Ingesting as little as 1 teaspoon can cause nausea, vomiting and even convulsions.

Topical use may cause inflammation for people with sensitive skin. If a rash appears, or you experience unpleasant side effects, or your symptoms don't go away within 14 days, stop using the oil and see your doctor.

Finally, you should know that Allspice is a mild antioxidant, which means that it helps prevent the cell damage that some scientists say eventually can cause cancer. On the flip side, Allspice's active ingredient, eugenol, may also promote cancer growth, making Allspice one of the many healing herbs with both carcinogenic and cancer-fighting properties. Scientists aren't really sure which way the balance tips yet. Until they are, people at high risk for cancer should avoid the herb

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