We’ve talked about inflammation and we’ve talked about anti-inflammatory food so now it’s time to talk about anti-inflammatory herbs.
There is a theory in Herbalism, like affects like. What this means is that we treat something like inflammation with a heat causing (inflamed) herb. For instance, in muscle pain with unbroken skin a treatment containing cayenne pepper is quite useful.
My focus in this blog is to try and concentrate on easily available herbs. Many of these are culinary and will be featured in my upcoming book (name to be determined). The most easily available anti-inflammatory herbs are:
This is a partial list from Studio Botanica
Repeated confirmation that ginger inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis puts it in the same league as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is thought that ginger may even have better results with fewer side effects than anti-inflammatory drugs. For more information on this study, go to the NIH website.
Ginger is one of the culinary herbs that assist with preventing inflammation. It can be used in cooking and is delicious when made into a tea. For a truly anti-inflammatory drink use a combination of ginger and honey.
Garlic is the superstar of the herbal world. It is useful for almost everything from lowering blood pressure to healing earache.
The action of garlic in inhibiting Nitric Oxide production makes it a valuable anti-inflammatory. It is useful for arthritis, pulmonary infection and digestive complaints.
Raw organic garlic is the best. The allicin, which is the active ingredient in garlic, is released when the cells are crushed. You can make garlic tea, mix it with honey or eat a clove on its own.
There are many unscented garlic supplements but they have lost a lot of their effectiveness. If you absolutely have to go this way I recommend finding a good quality Naturopathic supplement.
Cinnamon inhibits nitric oxide production making it a good choice for reducing inflammation. Many people are aware of culinary uses for cinnamon. The simplest culinary use is mixed with sugar on toast; however, the sugar will neutralize the health benefits of cinnamon. Try mixing it with honey instead for an anti-inflammatory boost.
Cinnamon can be added to coffee grounds when brewing, added to curries and even made into tea. A note: Cinnamon is mucilaginous which means when you are making it into tea it will change consistency and become thick. Cinnamon lemon and homey tea will pack a punch against inflammation but you will want to put the cinnamon in a filter.
A large number of people in my generation remember clove oil. It was that strong tasting red drop that was used for toothache. Even today if you have tooth pain and can’t get to a dentist right away try clove oil or even just mashing a clove with some water and applying to the tooth. Clove is especially effective for mouth and throat inflammation.
Cloves are also useful as a digestive aid. You can infuse honey with cloves or make a delicious tea that will relieve oral inflammation and take care of gas and bloating as well.
Inflammation is at the root cause of many diseases. Nature has provided us a large number of useful plants to prevent inflammation. Many are extremely effective with few to no side effects. It is time to tap into nature’s pharmacy.