Healthy Life: Five Herbs for Inflammation

Healthy Life at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Katherine Hanlon

Five Herbs for Inflammation

by Valerie Lull

Inflammation is a necessary response when the body is injured or infected and it helps in the healing process. It is when there is a low level of inflammation that goes on all the time that there are problems. It can also be caused by chemical reactions in fat cells in overweight people.

In the last 20 years many researchers have concluded that inflammation is the root cause of most of our common chronic illnesses. The solution is to do things that will cool the fires of chronic inflammation and thereby prevent these diseases. Most doctors will prescribe NSAIDS or other drugs. However, there are many simple remedies that will do the same thing without the negative side effects. There are a number of herbs that are very good for fighting inflammation. I have chosen 5 that I will write about today.

BurdockBurdock is known as a blood purifier and is used for detoxification. This process helps relieve chronic inflammation. It is often paired with dandelion root. Burdock root has been documented to relieve diseases like boils, sores, psoriasis, acne and leprosy. It is thought to be helpful in diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.

Ginger – Ginger is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries for inflammation. In recent times many researchers have found scientific support for these beliefs. Ginger works by inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis thereby curbing inflammation. In a study done at the University of Miami, it was concluded that ginger extract could someday be a substitute for NSAIDS. The study showed that ginger works at the cellular level. Personally, I like a cup of ginger tea on cold fall and winter mornings. It warms me up and takes the edge off my arthritis.

Green Tea – Green tea contains flavonoids and polyphenols as well as antioxidants. All of these things help to fight inflammation. Green tea is thought to play a role in treating chronic diseases that are caused by inflammation. In a study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center it was concluded that green tea may help reduce inflammation connected with Crohn's disease. Green tea is readily available and easy to prepare. In most studies people drink about 3 cups a day.

Turmeric – Some scientists think that inflammation may be the root cause in Alzheimer's disease. In India the spice turmeric is widely used in cooking. Turmeric has a constituent called curcumin that is thought to be anti-inflammatory. Researchers think that this may be the reason that India has a very low rate of Alzheimer's disease. It is easy to incorporate turmeric in your cooking. You can also use curry powder which contains turmeric.

Garlic – Garlic has compounds that are thought to inhibit key enzymes that cause inflammation. Garlic may help to prevent asthma attacks and reduce the pain of arthritis. Some researchers think garlic may reduce joint swelling and inflammation. Garlic is useful for colds and flu. It fights the infection and that reduces the inflammation.

There are many more herbs, spices and foods that can be useful for inflammatory conditions. You may find Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory food pyramid useful.


About the Author

Valerie Lull at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion. She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon.

Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared. Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.

Read about tea, herbs, spices and nutrition on her blog. Visit her at her website and on Twitter. You can contact Valerie via email as well. Valerie’s new book, Glorious Garlic! is now on Amazon. Check it out.

You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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