Spices and herbs for inflammation. This includes anti-inflammatory foods

spices and herbs for inflammation

In this article, we shall be looking at inflammation, spices, and herbs for inflammation, and other foods and remedies to reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is simply a defensive way of how our bodies react or respond to injury, damage, toxins, or infection. It incorporates the body’s natural healing and repair processes. This may include the release of antibodiesOpens in a new tab., proteins, and increased blood flow to the damaged area.

There are two types of inflammation namely;

Acute inflammation

This is a protective response to infection or injury designed to heal our bodies and restore normal tissue function. It normally occurs in a particular area or part of our bodies and lasts for a few days. Key signs include; pain, redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function.

Chronic inflammation

This occurs when the response lingers or persists for a prolonged period. This leads to the damage of body tissues and organs, culminating in chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s diseaseOpens in a new tab., heart disease, and attention deficit disorder (ADD).Opens in a new tab.

So, is inflammation good for our bodies?

Acute inflammation for example is how your bodies fight off cell damage, injury, and infections due to viruses, fungi, and bacteria, as well as being a part of the healing process. In this way, inflammation is good because it protects the body.

What herbs and spices help to reduce inflammation?

With chronic inflammation, diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and more can come up. The good thing is that; there are many spices and herbs for inflammation, which include;

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice commonly used in Asian cuisines, in curries and sauces. For many years, turmeric has been used to treat wounds, infections, colds, and liver disease. According to research, curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may reduce inflammation in the body.

Turmeric has several benefits which you can learn from our article ” 9 interesting health benefits of turmericOpens in a new tab.

2. Ginger

Ginger is a flowering plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. Its root (rhizome) is the part commonly used as a spice. One of the health benefits of gingerOpens in a new tab. is to inhibit the activation of genes involved in an inflammatory response.

Research shows that ginger has a better therapeutic effect than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat pain and inflammation.

One way you can use ginger is to slice it finely into pieces that can be used for stir-fries and in tea.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. It has so many health benefitsOpens in a new tab. including blood sugar regulation and lowering risk factors for heart disease.

The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon help to treat headaches and pain, repair tissue damage, and fight infections. Research shows that cinnamon can reduce systemic inflammation and lower your risk of disease.

You may also be interested in the cinnamon and honey comboOpens in a new tab..

4. Garlic

Garlic belongs to the Allium (onion) family. It is related to onions, shallots, and leeks. Garlic is said to lower the levels of homocysteine in the body, a protein by-product that is responsible for inflammation. Garlic also soothes swollen joints or sore muscles.

5. Cayenne

For many years, cayenne peppers have been used medicinally because of their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Cayenne peppers contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

All you need is to add small amounts to curries, stews, chili, and Mexican food. Or add capsaicin as a supplement in your diet.

6. Black pepper

Black pepper has a chemical compound, Piperine which is responsible for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Black pepper oil can be made out of black pepper or ground into a powder that is sprinkled on vegetables or salads.

7. Cloves

These, native to Maluku islands in Indonesia, are the aromatic flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree a member of the Myrtaceae family. Cloves can treat upset stomach, nausea, and inflammation of the mouth and throat.

They contain eugenol a compound that protects against the inflammation that is responsible for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Eugenol works by blocking the COX-2 enzyme that causes inflammation

8. White willow bark

This has been used in the treatment of pain and inflammation in the Egyptian and Roman medicines for many years. Studies show that salicin, a compound in white willow bark can be as effective as aspirin in reducing inflammation.

9. Cat’s claw

The name cat’s claw is derived from its hooked thorns resembling the claws of a cat. Cat’s claw is common to the Amazon rainforest and tropical areas of South and Central America.

According to research, the cat’s claw has anti-inflammatory properties. It has a protective effect against gastrointestinal inflammation, arthritis, and bursitis.

10. Rosemary

Rosemary comes from the same family as mint. It is a fragrant green herb that comes from the Mediterranean regions. Apart from culinary uses, rosemary has a number of health benefitsOpens in a new tab..

In one studyOpens in a new tab. where participants were treated to small doses of different herbs and spices, it was established that for a period of 7 days, rosemary showed strong protective effects against inflammation and oxidation.

11. Sage

The compounds carnosic acid and carnosol present in sage have anti-inflammatory properties and these are responsible for the many health benefits. Studies show that sage can protect against inflammation-based neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Sage also contains a chemical compound called camphor that kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Learn other health benefits of sageOpens in a new tab. from our article hereOpens in a new tab..

You can buy some of the above products from our selection below.

Other anti-inflammatory foods and remedies

Apart from herbs and spices, there is a variety of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These are usually high in antioxidants and polyphenols. Some of the anti-inflammatory foods include;

  • Olive oil
  • Leafy greens: kale and spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Fatty fish: salmon, sardines, and mackerel
  • Nuts
  • Fruits: cherries, blueberries, and oranges

Also, one of the common anti-inflammatory diets is the Mediterranean dietOpens in a new tab.. According to a studyOpens in a new tab. carried out in 2018, it was established that participants that followed the Mediterranean diet had lower markers of inflammation.

There are also foods that can increase inflammation in some people.

This means that overeating such foods increases the chances of being inflamed. You may not totally eliminate these foods from your diet but controlled intake is necessary. Such foods include;

  • Refined carbohydrates: white bread and pastries
  • Fried foods: French fries and potato chips
  • Red meat
  • Processed meat: hot dogs and sausage

What are the dangers of inflammation?

Like we discussed above, when inflammation persists and stays for a long time, it turns into a chronic state of inflammation. This leads to a number of health problems including;

  •  Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
Bottom line

There is some evidence that various herbs and spices contain chemical compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, consuming these herbs can help chronic inflammation.

However, herbs and spices have side effects as well as interactions with various medications. It is important to talk to your health provider first before you use any of these herbs, more so if you are on medication of any sort.


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