5 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs You Need To Try
What is inflammation?
Digestive issues and conditions that affect mobility are what we primarily think of when we think of inflammatory conditions. However, inflammation is present in any ill health, and it can take a while to work out how to support your body’s ability to recover from chronic inflammation.
Turmeric is one of the most commonly known anti-inflammatory herbs. Its main therapeutic actions come from volatile oils known as curcuminoids i.e. curcumin.
Curcumin, however, is notoriously difficult to absorb and utilise. You would need to eat a lot of turmeric to get a therapeutic dose. This is why people look to extracts and supplements as the more efficient way to take curcumin. Studies have shown that pairing turmeric with black pepper increases absorption. Black pepper has an active ingredient called piperine that works as a ‘bio enhancer - so when taken with turmeric the piperine increases the curcumin’s bioavailability.
We use turmeric in our Anti-Flam Tonic, which has three different forms of turmeric (tincture, fresh and dried) as well as black pepper for absorption.
Curcumioids are strong antioxidants that help the body recover from oxidative stress caused by diet, lifestyle or illness. The strong antioxidant action can also help reduce inflammation - as it can help neutralise inflammatory agents caused by free radical damage that can cause inflammation and tissue damage.
This 2014 study compared the safety and efficacy of turmeric and ibuprofen and found that turmeric was as effective as ibuprofen but with fewer side effects.
If you've cooked with cayenne pepper, you know how hot this plant is. This heat can help sluggish circulation and digestion and 'warm' the body. It's also an anti-inflammatory herb that can be used internally (in SMALL doses) and topically. Capsaicin, the active compound in chilli peppers, is found in prescription creams for pain and pain relief.
Topical cayenne works as a counter-irritant and helps to increase the blood flow to the affected area. It can be irritating, but the heat of cayenne works by distracting the nerve receptors from sending pain signals. Instead, the body sends signals that say the area is really hot and this provides short-term pain relief. We use cayenne in our Fire Cider as well as turmeric, ginger and horopito.