First published: Aug 3, 2017 - Updated June 23, 2018
Inflammation is not only experienced by individuals with muscle and joint injuries. In fact, we all can experience minor inflammation and pain from a workout routine, from skin eruptions, over working and simply from being sick with a cold or the flu. Furthermore, it is also common during pregnancy.
Inflammation is your body’s protective response to injury or damage. The inflammation process also helps the body to heal itself.
But when your body is chronically inflamed, such as by modern stressors like pollution, food sensitivities, being over weight, can lead to a wide variety of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease among many other illnesses.
Because of the significant side effects of steroidal and NSAID medications, there is a greater interest in natural compounds, such as dietary supplement and herbal remedies, which have been used for centuries to reduce pain and inflammation.
Reducing Inflammation Naturally With Herbs
A study published in Surgical Neurology International, participants were given small amounts of various common herbs and spices for a period of 7 days.
Rosemary showed one of the strongest protective effects against inflammation and oxidation.
The other top spices were turmeric, cloves and ginger.
The researchers noted that the amounts given of each herb were no more than what someone would normally eat in a seasoned soup, sauce or other dish.
Turmeric is used to help reduce inflammation caused by fibromyalgia, over exertion, and joint or muscle issues.
One problem with curcumin is its low levels of bioavailability. Therefore, to enhance the benefits of turmeric add fresh ground black pepper.
Piperine the key chemical found in black pepper helps make curcumin more bioavailable.
When eaten with a healthy fat, such as coconut oil, curcumin is directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system.
Cloves have an anesthetic effect and can help to reduce inflammation of the gums or around sore teeth, by either chewing on a clove, or using its essential oil.
The oil is very powerful and can cause irritation as it can have a stinging effect. To prevent this, just mix with a carrier oil, such as almond oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.
Gargling with the oil in warm water can help improve dental hygiene besides reducing pain and inflammation.
Clove buds are also effective for a sore throat. Just chew on a bud between your teeth to ease away pain in the mouth or throat.
As an expectorant cloves are useful in treating various respiratory disorders including coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis.
Ginger is widely known for its use as an anti-inflammatory agent, nausea reliever and digestive aid for indigestion and cramps.
Roy Altman, MD lead author of the study of gingers medicinal effects at the University of California, reports that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level.
As the herb has shown to decrease joint pain and reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Research reported in the Journal of Pain, notes that a few tablespoons of grated ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by extraneous activity.
Add ginger to your diet by grating it over a salad or into a stir-fry. You can also make a soothing tea by adding one to two teaspoons of chopped ginger and simmering it in a pot of hot water for five minutes.
Cinnamon is a popular spice often used to flavor baked treats. But cinnamon is more than just a delicious additive in our cakes. Studies have proven that the spice has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help to ease swelling or inflammation.
A study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, indicated that cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon inhibits the activation of inflammation causing factors such as arachidonic acids thereby acting as an effective anti‒inflammatory agent .
These are only five of the herbs that can help with inflammation. They are also the easiest to obtain, use, and store. For these reasons, they should be part of your natural medicine arsenal.