Remember that bad boy you had a crush on in high school? The one with the leather jacket and tattoos? Yeah, him. He had a bad rep, but deep down, you knew he had a good heart. Inflammation is the same. When inflammation is good, it helps fight foreign invaders, cleans debris and heals injuries. When it’s bad, inflammation can ignite a flurry of disorders ranging from asthma to cancer. Maybe you couldn’t fix the boy, but there are a variety of natural remedies to help reduce bad inflammation — many of which can be found in your kitchen cupboard.
Herbs and spices to reduce inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to autoimmune, metabolic, microbial and physical assaults. When white blood cells respond to infection and injury, they can misfire and wreck havoc. Inflammation often results in pain, redness, swelling and surface heat. Reduce inflammation with these natural remedies.
Sweet and fragrant, cinnamon is easy to incorporate into your diet. Studies have shown that cinnamon helps reduce inflammation, as well as keeps blood sugar stable, lowers cholesterol and is both antifungal and antibacterial.1 Sprinkle it on your morning toast or mix it into your daily oatmeal.
In addition to being delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet, garlic helps reduce inflammation. Garlic contains sulfur compounds called allicins, which help shut down the pathways that lead to inflammation, similar to pain medications like Ibuprofen. Allicins break down to produce free radical fighting sulfenic acid.
Ginger has proven to be one of the best natural remedies for helping reduce inflammation. The inflammation that causes chronic pain responds well to ginger, and according to a 2005 study, ginger can work as effectively as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.2 The gingerols compound in ginger features anti-inflammatory properties. For reducing inflammation, the powdered form of ginger works more effectively than fresh ginger.
Similar to ginger, turmeric is another potent anti-inflammatory spice. It contains curcumin, a powerful compound known for reducing inflammation and decreasing pain and stiffness. Turmeric makes a great daily supplement for inflammation disorders like arthritis, as it is also powerful for preventing inflammation.
By adding rosemary to vegetable-based dishes, you can benefit from its inflammation reducing benefits. Rosemary works by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory response in the body. By adding more rosemary to your diet, you can reduce pain, reduce cortisol levels (which are raised by stress), and even stimulate hair growth.
Check your cupboards for these additional anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
There are many other herbs and spices likely already sitting in your kitchen cupboard that have anti-inflammatory benefits. From cayenne pepper, which is good for upset stomachs, to cloves, which are used to sooth pain and prevent infection, you can help reduce your daily inflammation simply by ingesting these common household herbs and spices.
- Mashhadi, N. S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Feizi, A., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L., Hajishafiee, M. (2013). Influence of Ginger and Cinnamon Intake on Inflammation and Muscle Soreness Induced by Exercise in Iranian Female Athletes. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665015/
- Phan, P. V., Sohrabi, A., Polotsky, A., Hungerford, D. S., Lindmark, L., & Frondoza, C. G. (2005). Ginger Extract Components Suppress Induction of Chemokine Expression in Human Synoviocytes. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 149-154. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.149