Natural Relief for Inflammation
Inflammation – it’s a killer, literally.
There is mounting evidence that chronic inflammation is the underlying cause of many (if not all) of our most prevalent degenerative diseases, including Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation is also the cause of much discomfort and pain, from Arthritis & Rheumatism, Asthma, IBS, Crohn’s disease, menstrual cramps…the list goes on. New studies are now even linking inflammation and depression!
Inflammation is not always a bad thing; it is part of our natural (and healthy) immune response to infection and injury. Basically there are 2 main types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is characterised by pain, heat, swelling and redness.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can be much harder to detect and can often go unnoticed for years. This is the type of inflammation to avoid, as it can lead to serious health issues down the track.
Luckily there are scientifically proven ways to reduce chronic inflammation in the body, including reducing stress and getting regular exercise. Even yoga and breathing exercises have been found beneficial. But, one of the main ways to combat inflammation is through diet.
Reducing inflammatory foods in the diet is crucial to controlling chronic inflammation. These include conventional red meat, fried foods & rancid oils, sugars, pasteurized dairy, trans fats, refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, and other processed foods.
Increasing anti-inflammatory foods in your diet is also key. These include fibre-rich foods, plenty of fruits and veggies, healthy fats & antioxidants.
TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Omega-3 rich foods such as hemp, fish and spirulina are excellent to include daily.
Dark Leafy Greens & Spirulina are powerful alkalinising foods.
Berries and other antioxidant rich foods are excellent as they reduce the negative effects caused by inflammation.
Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme which reduces inflammation.
Papaya also contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme, called Papain (read more below).
Coconut (oil or nut) contains medium chain triglycerides, which are powerful anti-inflammatories.
Mushrooms, especially Asian Mushrooms such as Shiitake, Oyster, Maitake and Reishi are powerful immune system booster and antioxidants.
Fermented Foods & Probiotics such as sauerkraut, contain beneficial bacteria that help boost immunity, detoxify the body and reduce inflammation. It is now believed that many inflammatory diseases start in the gut, and balancing you microbiome is the key to ultimate health.
Green Tea (and Matcha), is high in powerful antioxidants that reduce the negative effects of inflammation.
TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SPICES
There are so many anti-inflammatory spices which can be added to everyday cooking! Some of the top ones include garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cayenne, rosemary, oregano. Basically anything warming & spicy!
Check out this healing Rendang Beef Instant Pot recipe from One Pot Dish.
There are many herbs that can also help reduce inflammation in the body. Here’s a sneak peak of some of our favourites:
CBD (Cannabis) Oil (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/medical-cannabis-benefits-cbd-oil)
CBD is one of the main cannabinoids in Hemp and Medical Cannabis. It has been found to be very effective both internally and externally for inflammation and the resulting pain. It has been found extremely effective for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. CBD also reduces the pro-inflammatory cytokine response which in turn has been found to reduce diabetes as well as depression!
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is an antioxidant & powerful anti-inflammatory. It has been found effective in relieving the painful inflammation in arthritis & rheumatism, inflammatory bowel disease, and shows promise in preventing Alzheimer’s, heart disease and fighting cancer. Add it to your morning juice, curry, golden milk or herbal tea.
Ginger (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/ginger)
Ginger is a well known anti-inflammatory spice, nausea reliever, digestive aid & circulatory stimulant. It is very effective for the pain & inflammation of menstrual cramps, arthritis and more. Ginger is also a powerful anti-viral. It is an excellent addition to teas, stir fry, vegetable juices, sauces and smoothies.
Licorice (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/licorice-root)
Licorice Root is a sweet & soothing demulcent herb which is also anti-inflammatory. It is used to soothe sore throats, coughs, gastrointestinal issues and menstrual discomfort. Considered an adaptogen, licorice helps the body adapt to stress. Licorice is contraindicated if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Cat’s Claw (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/cats-claw)
Another immune boosting, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb, Cat’s Claw has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years. It is beneficial for immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, neuralgia, chronic inflammation of all kinds and viral infections. It is useful for cleansing the intestines, and treating stomach and bowel disorders.
Devil’s Claw (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/devils-claw)
This spiky fruit from South Africa is used to fight inflammation and relieve pain in arthritis, headache and low back pain. It is also a bitter tonic for digestive issues, benefits the liver and gallbladder and cleanses the blood.
White Willow Bark (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/white-willow)
Justly famous as the original source of salicylic acid (the precursor of aspirin), white willow and several closely related species have been used for thousands of years to relieve joint pain and manage fevers. White willow is the original Aspirin, and has the same indications as its synthetic counterpart. Where these two compounds differ though, is that white willow is milder on the stomach lining than is Aspirin and has a reduced anticoagulant action. It has a very bitter and astringent flavour, especially when fresh.
Paw Paw (Papaya) Leaf (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/paw-paw-leaf)
Contains papain, an enzyme that helps break down tough proteins into amino acids, and has also demonstrated anti-cancer effects. Papaya has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. The leaves were eaten and used as a heart tonic and to reduce inflammation and pain due to their analgesic properties. The seeds can be eaten to expel parasites. Paw Paw leaf is also an antiviral used for dengue fever and malaria. It stimulates the bowels in times of constipation and is also useful in treating inflammatory bowel disorders.
Pau D’arco (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/pau-darco)
A powerful antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. Pau D’arco is used to fight candida, herpes and even show promise as an anti-cancer herb! It has been found to reduce pain & chronic inflammation particularly in the intestines. It also helps cleanse the digestive system & detoxify the body.
Slippery Elm (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/slippery-elm)
Slippery Elm is a soothing demulcent that coats the throat and digestive tract with a protective coating. It is beneficial for sore throats, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, IBS and other inflammatory bowel disorders. Check out our recipe for slippery elm tea!
Ashwagandha (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/ashwagandha)
Best known as an adaptogen, immune stimulant and revitalising herb, Ashwagandha has also been found to lower cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol stimulates the Cox-2 enzyme which causes inflammation; therefore by reducing cortisol, Ashwagandha reduces inflammation. It also has anti-depressant and hormone balancing effects.
Chamomile (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/chamomile)
Well known as a gentle relaxing tea, Chamomile is also an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Once known as ‘herbal aspirin,’ it has been a home remedy for pain reduction for centuries. Used internally (as tea) or externally (as a wash, oil or salve), it can be helpful in pain relief from back pain, arthritis, injuries, childbirth, as well as skin irritations and swelling.
Calendula (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/calendula)
This is one of our favourite topical herbs for healing the skin, minor wounds and injuries, but is also an effective anti-inflammatory when taken internally. Its anti-inflammatory effects benefit everything from diaper rash, sore throats, ulcers, gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps & muscle spasms.
Arnica (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/arnica)
Another excellent topical herb for pain and inflammation from bruises, sprains, strains, swelling and even arthritis. It should not be used internally except as a homeopathic remedy.
Like Arnica, Comfrey is used primarily as a topical treatment for muscle & joint inflammation as well the healing broken bones & wounds. It helps with muscle & joint pain, arthritis, lower back pain and fibromyalgia.
Meadowsweet (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/meadowsweet)
A natural source of salicylic acid, a well known pain-reliever. Meadowsweet is used for headaches, rheumatism, stomach aches and acid reflux.
Feverfew (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/feverfew)
A popular migraine remedy, feverfew is also beneficial for the pain for rheumatoid arthritis. It is thought to inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which cause pain and inflammation.
Reishi (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/reishi)
Reishi is a well-known medicinal mushroom for longevity, immunity, and mental calmness and clarity. It is considered an adaptogen – helping the body deal with stress, increase stamina, and bring balance. Studies have also found Reishi to reduce inflammation and protect the blood from oxidative damage. It is particularly useful for the inflammation of rheumatism, asthma, allergies and cancer.
Gotu Kola (Link: http://happyherbcompany.com/gotu-kola)
Mostly known as a brain tonic and rejuvenating herb, Gotu Kola has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance memory, improve circulation, repair the skin, and prevent gastric ulcers. It is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and many people find it reduces the pain of arthritis and chronic joint & muscle pain.
Brahmi (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/brahmi)
Brahmi is renowned as a brain tonic that benefits circulation & reduces stress. It is also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and is beneficial for conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
Matcha (link: http://happyherbcompany.com/matcha)
This antioxidant rich green tea powder protects from oxidative damage caused by inflammation. Plus, it boosts energy and mental clarity.
Need some inspiration on how to apply all this information? Look no further…
Reishi Hemp Milkshake
With anti-inflammatory Reishi, Cinnamon, Coconut Oil & Hemp…you can’t go past this delicious & healthy ‘milkshake’!
Watch the Video:
Green Gold Super Juice
This juice is packed with anti-inflammatory super greens and hemp oil!
Hemp Oil Vinaigrette
You can always bump this up with some extra garlic and ginger to add to the effects!
Well, that’s quite a list of herbs, foods, spices and recipes to get you started on the right path to decrease inflammation and prevent a host of health issues! Good luck & good health to you.