Natural anti inflammatories are all about what Mother Nature has gifted and made abundantly available as natural remedies for pain. One of the best of these is the anti-inflammatory herbs — potent weapons that can fight and stop pain, yet deliciously edible and make great ingredients for cooking. Aptly, they are often regarded as gifts within gifts.
Best Anti-Inflammatory Herbs
Which are the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs that have been discovered? Here are 6 of the best:
Of these natural anti-inflammatory herbs, both ginger and turmeric are deemed most potent. If you’d like to know how much of each is needed to fight inflammation, check out dosage recommendations by Dr. Weil, M.D. here.
Rosemary naturally eases nerve and muscle tension, which makes it an excellent herb for fighting pain. Containing salicin, a natural form of glycoside from which aspirin is made, the herb rosemary is very good for chronic headaches. In addition, research indicates it may help prevent age-related skin damage and even cancer*.
++ Where to find rosemary: Virtually any store or online at Kalyx.com. You can grow it in a pot or garden too.
++ How rosemary is used in food: Flavoring meats, salad dressings, stews, soups and sauces. Good for tea too.
* Read about pre-clinical findings on rosemary and cancer prevention at the nih.gov website.
Ginger is an excellent herb for migraines and other forms of pain. It contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, known to reduce pain and improve mobility for people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, with regular consumption.
Known and appreciated for centuries, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been confirmed by scientific research. A study published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is an example of such.
Ginger is also good for relieving heartburn — take it as ginger tea. And women with morning sickness has found ginger a good help too.
++ Where to find ginger: The produce section at your local market. And Kalyx.com if you prefer buying online.
++ How ginger is used in food: Stir-fry meat (Asian style); fruit and vegetable dishes. Added to drinks and desserts.
Tip: Do you know that Heal-n-Soothe, a natural anti-inflammatory dietary supplement, contains not just ginger but 11 other powerful ingredients (including turmeric) which work together to fight inflammation, soothe pain and heal?
Well known as a calming herb, chamomile helps a person relax when faced with a stressful experience. It has anti-inflammatory flavonoids — apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin — that help relieve irritation, making it an excellent choice for easing stomach aches.
Chamomile is also rich in azulene, a natural antihistamine that blocks the itching, swelling and redness caused by allergies and insect bites.
Types of chamomile used widely for health conditions include German chamomile and Roman chamomile. Both are thought to have similar effects on the body; however, in the U.S., German chamomile is more commonly used.
++ Where to find chamomile: Grocery store, farmer’s market or natural food store. Also online at Kalyx.com.
++ How chamomile is used in food: Chamomile tea. Also eaten raw in salads.
Turmeric is a potent yet safe anti-inflammatory, long been used by the Chinese and Indians to treat many conditions: jaundice, menstrual difficulties, flatulence, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
Its potency comes from two elements — the yellow/orange pigment, known as curcumin, is the main contributor, along with the volatile oil of turmeric, which has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory activity. In numerous studies, curcumin’s efficacy is compared to potent steroidal drugs but without the attendant toxic effects.
Turmeric is also great for disinfecting cuts and burns, being a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. For most people, they have come across turmeric in curry and table mustard — the latter’s yellow color is unmistakable.
++ Where to find turmeric: Local spice store, ethnic market or supermarket. Kalyx.com too.
++ How turmeric is used in food: In curry powder and table mustard; as a condiment.
Sage helps to relieve achy muscles and inflammation; in particular, white sage is a strong anti-inflammatory. Herbalists use it externally to treat swelling, sprains, ulcers and bleeding. For alleviating sore throat and cough, gargling with tea made from sage leaves can be effective.
With a long history as a medicinal and culinary herb, sage has been used to deal with rheumatism and excessive menstrual bleeding. In ancient times, Egyptians used it as a fertility drug. Sage is also useful to strengthen the nervous system, improve memory and sharpen the senses.
++ Where to find sage: Health food store, local spice store. Or shop online at Kalyx.com.
++ How sage is used in food: (White) Sage tea. As dressings and seasoning for food.
Fenugreek is yet another herb with excellent anti-inflammatory properties, with its seeds as the most potent part. It is commonly used to relieve skin inflammation and to assist in lowering blood sugar in diabetics. Studies indicated fenugreek can even bring down triglyceride levels.
By itself, fenugreek has a bitter taste, yet it is found in flavoring for artificial maple syrups. Fenugreek is known to stimulate breast milk production — it is available in capsule form to help nursing mothers who are unable to produce enough milk.
++ Where to find fenugreek: Indian and ethnic markets. Also online at Kalyx.com.
++ How fenugreek is used in food: Leaves and sprouts can be added to salads; seeds as seasoning and spice for meats, stews and sauces.
Include Anti-Inflammatories in Your Diet
Herbs can provide a natural source of anti-inflammatory help. Of the 6 discussed earlier, ginger and turmeric top the list of best anti-inflammatory herbs that Nature has given us. The best part is, you can actually eat your way to lower inflammation in your body by incorporating such anti inflammatory foods in your diet.
Alternatively, you can take an anti inflammatory dietary supplement like Living Well Nutraceuticals’ Heal-n-Soothe. Its proteolytic enzyme formulation helps you fight inflammation and reduce pain while other ingredients strengthen the immune system and boost your overall health.