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Herbs and Spices Can Help Protect Against EMFs
Our exposure to man-made radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) has increased dramatically in recent decades. From mobile phones and laptops to Wi-Fi access points, routers, smart meters, antennas on cell towers, Bluetooth devices, and cordless phones, it’s becoming nearly impossible to avoid man-made EMFs.
While government and industry assure us that near-constant exposure to these sources of radiation is safe, the current established standards of exposure to EMFs are based largely on the thermal effects. However, the most damaging component is likely nonthermal, direct tissue penetration.
The potential long-term health effects of low-dose exposure to EMFs were scarcely investigated prior to the mass introduction of these technologies. A 2009 study published in Pathophysiology reported that long-term exposure to EMFs “increase the risk of both Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.”
Specifically, EMFs can penetrate tissues and decrease the production of melatonin, which may contribute to the development or progression of Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.
EMFs may also affect fertility in both men and women. A study published in the Central European Journal of Urology in 2014 tested sperm motility and DNA fragmentation in sperm samples from healthy men following exposure to a cell phone in “talk mode” for five hours. Compared with the control group, mobile phone radiation exposure decreased sperm motility and increased DNA fragmentation levels.
In 2017, a prospective cohort study of 913 pregnant women published in Scientific Reports concluded that women who were exposed to higher amounts of EMF radiation had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage compared to women with lower EMF exposure.
“This study provides fresh evidence, directly from a human population, that MF [magnetic field] non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” the authors wrote.
For instance, based on the increased risk for brain cancer associated with wireless phone use, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
The European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks concurred that low-frequency EMFs are “possibly carcinogenic” based on evidence of increased incidence of childhood leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease in adults.
EMF exposure can also lead to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), which is a phenomenon characterized by the appearance of symptoms after exposure to EMFs.
Symptoms range from both acute to chronic inflammatory processes across multiple organ systems, but mainly appear in the skin or nervous system. For instance, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, problems with concentrating or memory, depression, burning sensation of the skin, and sleep disturbances are common symptoms among the EHS population.
Given the current research, it’s plausible that reducing man-made EMF exposure can improve health and wellness, especially in sensitive populations. Various strategies for EMF mitigation are available, such as shielding and distancing. However, one often overlooked strategy involves herbs and spices.
Due to the numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds contained in herbs and spices, they can help the body heal from the damage caused by man-made EMF exposure. By learning how to harness the healing power of herbs, we can become more resilient in the face of ever-growing EMF exposure.
Always consult your health care provider before consuming herbs or supplements or making any changes to your medications or medical protocols.
Here’s a list of herbs and spices that have been studied for their potential EMF-protecting ability.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, especially for treating inflammatory conditions. A 2021 review published in Biofactors analyzed previous studies and confirmed that turmeric contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects and can be used for treating “inflammatory, oxidative, and immune dysregulation disorders.”
Turmeric is also a powerful anti-radiation herb partly due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, likely plays a primary role in the ability of turmeric to inhibit inflammation and prevent damage triggered by EMF exposure.
EMF exposure can increase the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1beta. Those pro-inflammatory cytokines can contribute to the formation of neurological conditions and diseases. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, curcumin can inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines following exposure to EMF radiation.
A study published in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy in 2022 reported that EMFs emitted by mobile phones for one hour per day for 28 days significantly decreased the total number of neurons in the hippocampus of rats compared with the control group. The neuronal structure was also negatively altered. However, curcumin provided “significant protection” against EMF-mediated damage, according to the authors.
These studies suggest that the consumption of turmeric might reduce the negative effects of man-made EMF radiation on the body.
Turmeric can be consumed through food and is often found in Indian dishes such as curry, although it’s great in soups, stews, and hundreds of other dishes. Turmeric root can be added to meals such as salads. Turmeric powder can be added to smoothies and sauces and sprinkled on top of vegetables. Turmeric supplements are also widely available.
CAUTION: Turmeric supplements shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy. Turmeric is a blood thinner and may interfere with blood thinning medications. Individuals with iron deficiency, diabetes, gallbladder issues, blood clotting issues, or endometriosis should ask their health care practitioner prior to consuming turmeric.
Gingko biloba comes from the ginkgo tree, which is thought to be one of the oldest living tree species. Gingko biloba was used in ancient Chinese medicine to help unblock stuck energy in vital organs and to stimulate blood flow throughout the body.
Today, ginkgo is used to soothe headaches, assist with breathing issues, fight depression and anxiety, protect against free radicals, assist with diabetes, and protect the brain from the aging process due to its rich antioxidant properties.
Ginkgo may also protect against EMF radiation. In one study published in the International Journal of Clinical Chemistry, rats were exposed to EMFs from a mobile phone for one hour each day for seven days. EMF exposure resulted in oxidative damage to the brains of rats in the control group.
However, rats given ginkgo biloba prior to cell phone exposure didn’t suffer from oxidative stress. The authors concluded that ginkgo biloba “prevented” the brain tissue from being damaged by EMF exposure.
Ginkgo biloba can be consumed as a tea, tincture, leaf extract, roasted seeds, or in tablet form.
CAUTION: Ginkgo biloba has antiplatelet activity and may potentiate other anticoagulants. Consult with a health care provider prior to consumption. Fresh ginkgo biloba seeds in raw form may be poisonous and can be considered unsafe to eat. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their health care provider before consuming ginkgo.
Ginseng is an adaptogen that has been utilized in Chinese medicine for its wide spectrum of medicinal effects, including anti-aging and antimutagenic activities.
Recently, studies have verified ginseng’s numerous health benefits, including anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties, as well as pharmacological abilities in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Ginseng may also protect against radiation exposure. A study published in 2014 demonstrated that when rats were exposed to cell phone radiation for four hours per day for 12 days, liver cells were damaged and oxidative injury was observed. However, liver cells weren’t damaged in rats that were administered ginseng.
A study published in BioMed Research International reported a neuroprotective effect of ginseng in the hippocampus of mice following EMF exposure. After one month of exposure to EMFs, brain damage was observed in the control group with a loss of calcium balance in the cells. However, mice administered ginseng were protected against brain impairment and retained calcium balance in the cells of the hippocampus.
A review study published in Mutagenesis reported that ginseng also provides protection against gamma radiation-induced DNA damage. The authors theorized that ginseng’s radioprotective potential may be due to its antioxidative capability to scavenge free radicals, as well as its immunomodulating capabilities.
Ginseng can be consumed as a tea, tincture, extract, or in a supplement form often in capsules.
CATION: Ginseng may interact with certain prescription medications. Both Asian and American ginseng may interact with blood-thinning medications. Asian ginseng may also interact with calcium channel blockers and other medications used for high blood pressure as well as statins, antidepressants, and chemotherapy. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their health care provider before consuming ginseng.
Green tea has been used for treating numerous ailments in traditional Asian medicine. It’s possibly best known for its abundance of antioxidants.
Studies have confirmed numerous health benefits of green tea including prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiarthritic, antibacterial, and antiviral effects.
Green tea may protect against EMF exposure as well.
A 2011 study published in Neurotoxicity Research reported that green tea can protect neurons in the brain against cell phone radiation. Cell phone exposure for 24 hours resulted in neuronal cell death in cultured rat cells. Green tea, however, prevented cell death.
“Our results suggested a neuroprotective effect of green tea polyphenols against the mobile phone irradiation-induced injury on the cultured rat cortical neurons,” the authors wrote.
A second study published in 2016 in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology was based on a randomized controlled trial. It reported a protective effect of green tea on workers exposed to low-frequency electromagnetic fields of high-voltage power lines. Oxidative damage to DNA was measured in workers exposed to the EMFs from high-voltage power lines. Following 12 months of green tea polyphenol supplementation (GTPS), the oxidative damage was diminished.
“We found a negative impact of high-voltage power lines on the health of workers,” the authors wrote. “Long-term GTPS could be an efficient protection against the health issues induced by high-voltage power lines.”
Green tea can be consumed as a tea, extract, or in supplemental form such as capsules.
CAUTION: Individuals with any of the following conditions should speak with their health care provider before consuming green tea: anemia, anxiety disorder, a blood-clotting disorder, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, or osteoporosis. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their health care provider before consuming green tea.
A herb used by traditional healers for the treatment of cancer, polygonum aviculare contains phenolics and flavonoids that impart antioxidant and antitumor properties. Consequently, it’s studied for its potential to treat diseases associated with aging.
Polygonum aviculare, more popularly known as common knotgrass, may also protect against damage from EMF exposure.
Exposure to radiofrequency EMFs, such as that produced by laptops and cell phones, has reportedly led to reduced sperm motility and development. A study published in 2011 reported a protective effect of Polygonum aviculare following EMF exposure in mice.
Following two months of EMF exposure, sperm motility was reduced and morphology was impaired. However, in mice supplemented with the herbal extract, sperm motility and development were preserved.
The young leaves of Polygonum aviculare can be consumed raw or cooked, as well as dried and consumed in tea. The seeds can also be consumed either whole or dried and ground into a powder to be used in baking. Supplemental forms, such as capsules, are also available.
Caution: An individual who’s consuming prescription medications or is pregnant or nursing should consult with their health care provider before consuming Polygonum aviculare.
The use of rosemary dates back to at least 500 B.C. It was traditionally used for relief from diverse conditions ranging from mental decline to epilepsy, pain, and infertility.
Today, rosemary is studied for its potential to alleviate inflammatory conditions and neurological deficits. It may also protect the body from potential damage caused by EMF exposure.
Exposure to EMFs decreased levels of male hormones in rats, including testosterone, according to a study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research in 2020. However, male hormone levels in rats supplemented with rosemary leaf extract were improved. In addition, rosemary “inhibited the destructive effect of electromagnetic fields on testicular tissue,” according to the authors.
In 2021, another study published in the Environmental Science and Pollution Research concluded that rosemary leaf extract “offered substantial protection” against EMF-induced liver damage in rats.
Rosemary can be consumed in food in either fresh or dried form, as well as an extract.
CAUTION: Individuals with the following conditions should speak with their health care provider before consuming rosemary: gastroenteritis, endometriosis, constipation, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, and insomnia. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their health care provider before consuming rosemary.
Not to be confused with sweet basil that’s commonly used to make pesto, the medicinal properties of holy basil have been known for thousands of years, and the herb is considered sacred by the Hindus in the Indian subcontinent.
Holy basil has been shown scientifically to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antistress, anti-carcinogenic, radioprotective, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, hepatoprotective, and immunomodulatory activities.
Holy Basil is an adaptogen that supports the body’s endogenous antioxidant activity to help combat oxidative stress. For example, it contains numerous phytochemicals such as rosmarinic acid, eugenol, apigenin, and carnosic acid.
These compounds reportedly prevent chemical-induced skin, liver, oral, and lung cancers by increasing antioxidant activity, altering gene expression including upregulation of apoptosis, and inhibiting metastasis. They also prevent radiation-induced DNA damage.
Likewise, Holy Basil contains flavonoids, such as orintin and vicenin, which have reportedly protected mice against gamma radiation-induced sickness and death.
Due to its ability to boost antioxidant capacity, decrease oxidative stress, and protect against gamma radiation sickness, it’s plausible holy basil might help protect the body from EMFs as well.
Holy Basil leaves can be consumed in foods. They have a spicy, lemony flavor and are used in foods in Southeast Asia, such as in Thai stir-fried dishes.
CAUTION: Holy basil shouldn’t be consumed by individuals on blood-thinning medications or who have low blood sugar. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive shouldn’t consume holy basil.
Possibly the world’s most popular adaptogen, ashwagandha has been used since antiquity for reproductive health and is currently used for a variety of ailments from relieving anxiety to increasing longevity.
Scientific studies confirm ashwagandha contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, anti-stress, anti-Parkinson, anti-Alzheimer, anti-diabetic, cardioprotective, neurodefensive, and anti-cancer properties.
For instance, ashwagandha inhibited metastasis of breast cancer in rats with minimal adverse effects, according to a study published in the Public Library of Science. It has also been reported to mitigate undesirable side effects of gamma radiation therapy by protecting the liver from damage and increasing antioxidant capacity in rats.
Ashwagandha’s powerful protective properties may be due, in part, to its ability to boost antioxidant capacity and combat oxidative stress. For instance, ashwagandha has been used for several thousand years in Ayurvedic medicine to treat numerous neurological disorders. A recent systematic review of the scientific literature concluded that ashwagandha protects the brain from oxidative stress.
Since ashwagandha contains powerful antioxidant properties and can protect against oxidative stress caused by physical and chemical stressors, such as radiation, it’s plausible ashwagandha may protect against other forms of radiation as well, including radiofrequency EMFs.
Ashwagandha can be consumed as a tea, tincture, powder, or supplement.
Caution: Pregnant women shouldn’t consume ashwagandha. Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure and blood sugar and elevate thyroid hormone levels. Speak with your health care practitioner prior to consumption.
While technically a fungus rather than a herb, Reishi mushroom has many health benefits, such as preventing and reversing cancer, boosting the immune system, and reducing fatigue.
Reishi may also provide protection from EMF radiation. A study published in Food Chemistry in 2010 reported that reishi repaired cells that were damaged by gamma radiation. The authors concluded that the use of reishi “is a promising approach for protection from radiation exposure.”
Reishi extract has also been shown to suppress inflammation, scavenge free radicals, and decrease oxidative damage.
Due to its ability to decrease oxidative stress and repair cells damaged by gamma radiation, it’s plausible reishi might help protect the body from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as well.
Reishi can be consumed as a whole mushroom as well as in a tea, tincture, or extract.
Caution: Reishi mushrooms can cause dizziness, dry mouth, itching, nausea, stomach upset, and rash. Individuals with bleeding disorders or low blood pressure, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should consult with their health care provider before consuming reishi. Individuals that will be undergoing surgery shouldn’t consume reishi.
As these examples can attest, herbs and spices (and mushrooms) can help protect us from potential damage caused by exposure to man-made EMFs. If we can learn to harness their power, herbs and spices can help us become more resilient—even when faced with growing exposure to radiation.