Common Spices and Herbs That Ease Inflammation

Currently, there are many supplements and spices on the market that claim they can reduce inflammation and its associated pain in a natural manner, without side effects. Unfortunately, clinical research that supports these claims is very sparse and most claims are solely anecdotal. A few that have withstood the test of time are as follows:

  • Garlic is no longer considered just a vampire repellant. It is now touted as a potent anti-inflammatory power food. Garlic contains chemicals that crush the inflammation-promoting substances in the body. As a result, regular garlic consumption can help minimize the side effects of asthma, and reduce the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    Garlic can even reduce the production of cancer-causing chemicals that can result when protein-containing foods are subject to high temperatures through various cooking methods such as grilling. So flavor your foods with garlic to add a layer of protection with a little anti-inflammation mixed in.

  • Curcumin is a substance found in the yellow curry spice, turmeric. Curcumin is touted as having antioxidant powers, anti-inflammatory qualities, and possibly even anticancer effects. This spice is popular in India, and some researchers believe there is a link between higher curcumin intake and a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

    Preliminary findings from animal studies suggest that curcumin may actually possess anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but currently very little research exists that evaluates the actual effects of curcumin supplementation on disease risk in humans.

  • Ginger is a tropical plant and a relative of turmeric. Certain constituents of ginger, referred to as gingerols, are touted to inhibit numerous biochemicals that promote inflammation, especially in cases of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Again, these claims are unsubstantiated, but one thing that ginger has been found to help with is pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Fresh ginger adds a light spiciness and mellow sweetness to dishes and is a wonderful spice to incorporate into stir-fries and dipping sauces.

  • Cat's claw comes from a woody vine that grows in many countries of Central and South America. Small studies in humans have shown a possible benefit of cat's claw in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but no large trials have been completed. In laboratory studies, cat's claw has been found to stimulate part of the immune system, but its effect on inflammation is still uncertain.

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