• Dr. Daniel Falor

Best Herbs for Reducing Inflammation and Pain

Turmeric/Curcumin

Turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs. It is a staple in Indian cuisine and is the main spice used in popular curry dishes. It’s known for its unique, warm, and somewhat bitter taste. Turmeric is used to flavor and color various foods and condiments, including curry powder, mustard, butter, and even cheese.


Turmeric is not only an important part of the Indian diet, but it has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years for its health benefits. One of the earliest documented uses of turmeric dates back to 250 bc when Susruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium recommended turmeric to relieve the effects of poisoned foods


Turmeric finally began to gain popularity as a delicious spice and a powerful supplement in the United States and other Western countries over the past 30 years. Turmeric is actually one of the most researched spices. The US National Center for Biotechnology alone has over 6,000 studies available on turmeric and curcumin.


The secret of this anti-inflammatory herb lies in its active compound, a powerful antioxidant, called curcumin. Curcumin is known for its abundant medicinal properties. One of its top benefits is its ability to lower inflammation. Studies show that turmeric is able to reduce pain and inflammation just as well as ibuprofen without harmful side-effects. Other studies have shown that turmeric can improve inflammation in those with ulcerative colitis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and lupus.¹̛ ²̛

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Ginger

Ginger is similar to another anti-inflammatory herb, turmeric. They both belong to the rhizome family, which means that they have an underground stem that grows horizontally forming roots downwards while growing sprouting stems and leaves above ground.


Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that has been used in China and India as a natural remedy for 5,000 years. Thanks to the Roman Empire trade, ginger became popular in Europe as well. It is commonly used for dishes, teas, and juices, as well as a supplement.


While ginger has over a hundred different chemical components, gingerol is its most important active compound providing its powerful health benefits. One of the most most important qualities of this anti-inflammatory herb is its ability to reduce inflammation.


A 28-day study, for example, has found that patients who were given two grams of ginger experienced a significant reduction in colon inflammation markers compared to the placebo group. This suggests that ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that can play an important role in colon cancer prevention. Other studies showed that the anti-inflammatory herb can lower inflammation in osteoarthritis, exercise-induced muscle pain and inflammation related to obesity and metabolic syndrome. ⁶̛ ⁷̛ ⁸̛ ⁹̛ ¹⁰


Boswellia (Frankincense)

Boswellia, or otherwise known as Indian Frankincense, is a potent herbal extract that comes from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has been a popular anti-inflammatory herb used by Asian and African cultures for its medicinal properties to treat a number of health conditions, including. chronic inflammatory illness.


You can take advantage of this anti-inflammatory herb in various ways. Boswellia is commonly used as a pill, resin, or cream.


Research has found that boswellia can reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It may be beneficial in lowering inflammation and inhibiting cancer growth in cancer patients.


Boswellia is particularly beneficial when used in combination with another anti-inflammatory herb, curcumin. According to a comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on osteoarthritis patients, boswellia and curcumin can be used together safely and effectively. They synergize together to reduce inflammation. ¹¹̛ ¹²̛ ¹³̛ ¹⁴


Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant, delicious, anti-inflammatory herb native to the Mediterranean and popular all over the world. It belongs to the same herb-family as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender, and is often used alongside them in a variety of dishes.


Rosemary is not only a delicious herb commonly used in the kitchen, but it is also incredibly powerful. Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. It has been celebrated as a beneficial anti-inflammatory herb for its medicinal properties for centuries.


Research has found rosemary to be a potent anti-inflammatory herb that may reduce inflammation in various conditions. One study has found that rheumatoid arthritis patients who were given a 15-minute massage with rosemary oil for three weeks experienced a 50 percent reduction in pain and inflammation compared to the control group, which experienced only a 12 percent reduction, and which was only given a massage without the rosemary oil. ¹⁵̛ ¹⁶


And there you have it. You see, inflammation is an important physiological process that helps our body recover from injuries, infections, and other pathogens.


However, when inflammation becomes chronic as a result of an inflammatory diet, blood sugar imbalances, leaky gut syndrome, chronic stress, or lack of sleep, it can lead to pain and disease.


Taking NSAIDs (ibuprophen) is usually recommended by your medical doctor, and is regularly used by people who suffer from chronic inflammation and pain. The problem is that the long-term use of NSAID’s can result in stomach ulcers, kidney and liver toxicity, and leaky gut syndrome. Which further exacerbates the underlying inflammation.


And around and around.


But, by using natural, anti-inflammatory herbs such as Turmeric, Boswellia, Ginger, and Rosemary, you’ll be winning the battle against inflammation throughout your body and consequently, improving your health.



References:


1. Kuptniratsaikul, V, Thanakhumtorn, S, Chinswangwatanakul, P, Wattanamongkonsil, L, Thamlikitkul, V. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med. PMID: 19678780

2. Hanai, H, Iida, T, Takeuchi, K, Watanabe, F, Maruyama, Y, Andoh, A, Tsujikawa, T, Fujiyama, Y, Mitsuyama, K, Sata, M, Yamada, M, Iwaoka, Y, Kanke, K, Hiraishi, H, Hirayama, K, Arai, H, Yoshii, S, Uchijima, M, Nagata, T, Koide, Y. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. PMID: 17101300

3. Khajehdehi, P, Pakfetrat, M, Javidnia, K, Azad, F, Malekmakan, L, Nasab, MH, Dehghanzadeh, G. Oral supplementation of turmeric attenuates proteinuria, transforming growth factor-β and interleukin-8 levels in patients with overt type 2 diabetic nephropathy: a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study. Scand J Urol Nephrol. PMID: 21627399

4. Belcaro, G, Cesarone, MR, Dugall, M, Pellegrini, L, Ledda, A, Grossi, MG, Togni, S, Appendino, G.Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev. PMID: 21194249

5. Khajehdehi, P, Zanjaninejad, B, Aflaki, E, Nazarinia, M, Azad, F, Malekmakan, L, Dehghanzadeh, GR. Oral supplementation of turmeric decreases proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory lupus nephritis: a randomized and placebo-controlled study. J Ren Nutr. PMID: 21742514

6. Grzanna, R, Lindmark, L, Frondoza, CG. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. PMID: 16117603

7. Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers. American Association for Cancer Research

8. Zahmatkash, M, Vafaeenasab, MR. Comparing analgesic effects of a topical herbal mixed medicine with salicylate in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Pak J Biol Sci. PMID: 22308653

9. Black, CD, Herring, MP, Hurley, DJ, O’Connor, PJ. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J. Pain. PMID:20418184

10. Mansour, MS, Ni, YM, Roberts, AL, Kelleman, M, Roychoudhury A, St-Onge, MP. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study. Metabolism. PMID:22538118

11. Kimmatkar, N, Thawani, W, Hingorani, L, Khiyani, R. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee – A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine

12. Chopra, A, Lavin, Patwardhan, B, Chitre, D. Randomized double -blind trial of an Ayurvedic plant derived formulation for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology

13. Suhail, MM, Wu, W, Cao, A, Mondalek, FG, Fung, KM, Shih, PT, Fang, YT, Woolley, C, Young, G, Lin, HK. Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

14. Haroyan, A, Mukuchyan, V, Mkrtchyan, N, Minasyan, N, Gasparyan, S, Sargsyan, A, Narimanyan, M, Hovhannisvan, A. Efficacy and safety of curcumin and its combination with boswellic acid in osteoarthritis: a comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. BMC Complement Altern Med. PMID: 29316908

15. Ghasemian, M, Owlia, S, Owlia, MB. Review of anti-inflammatory herbal medicines. Adv Pharmacol Sci. PMID:27247570

16. Gok, MZ, Ozdemir, L. The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage and Reflexology on Pain and Fatigue in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Manag Nurs. PMID:27091583

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