Inflammation is a response of the body’s immune system in an attempt to fight off a possible infection on its own. This natural response of the body need not necessarily be due to an infection, but its natural reserves trying to work against a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that is trying to set in.
While an acute inflammations that set in due to a sudden injury or infection can sometimes heal on its own without causing an infection, chronic inflammations can be damaging to the body and require to be controlled. Certain herbs found in the bosom of Mother Nature are extremely beneficial in controlling and healing all kinds of inflammations.
Herbs For Inflammation
An ancient Ayurvedic herb par excellence, holy basil has anti inflammatory, blood thinning and anti microbial properties among other healing benefits. The active ingredient that is found in holy basil is eugenol, which is also an analgesic and antiseptic agent. Known as the queen of all herbs, holy basil is rich in antioxidants that protects the body from infections and oxidative damage, thereby preventing inflammation.
Triterpenoic and ursolic acids present in holy basil is also a known stress buster that helps in improving the response of the body towards stressful situations. Taking 2-3 leaves of holy basil every day can help in reducing instances of respiratory illnesses, skin inflammations, cortisol levels and blood sugar.
With an ancient history and a scientific backup, the role of neem leaves in treating inflammatory conditions is strongly established. Neem contains polysaccharides that help in reducing the distress caused by inflammatory conditions associated with arthritis, skin problems etc. Neem is also an excellent remedy for treating fungus and bacterial infections and clearing away rashes and skin eruptions. The oil can be applied externally for massaging on the affected area. Neem paste or neem leaves boiled in water is also a good way to control the inflammation and infection in the body.
The gel obtained from the aloe plant is known as a miracle cure for treating a wide range of inflammatory conditions of the body. Known for its antioxidant, anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory reactions on the body, aloe is also a wonderful cooling agent that also acts as a barrier against bacterial action on open wounds. Aloe juice is consumed internally for relief from stomach inflammations and other internal conditions such as thrush, ulcers, arthritis.
According to Ayurveda, aloe removes pitta dosha, which is a known trigger factor that leads to several inflammations. Drinking aloe juice on a daily basis has been proved to reduce chronic inflammatory conditions that lead to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s etc.
A European folk remedy that has been in practice in Europe since ages for the treatment of arthritis, fever, headache etc., the anti-inflammatory action of feverfew is caused by the active ingredient parthenolide, which slows the action of compounds in the body that causes inflammation. Parthenolides are also known to destroy cancer cells and reduce the pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Chemicals such as flavonoids that are present in feverfew also add to its anti-inflammatory effect. Recommended dosage is 60-120 ml twice daily. However, dosages have to be adjusted according to a person’s weight and condition that he/she is suffering from.
The small perennial herb with extensively branching roots is known to have immense medicinal properties used for treating infections and other inflammatory responses of the body. The flavonoids and polyphenols in licorice is what makes it a wonderful anti-inflammatory and healing agent.
The leaf of the plant is rich in ethyl acetate extracts, which is what strengthens its anti-inflammatory action. Licorice root extracts are also known to inhibit interleukins and nitric oxide, which are pro inflammatory mediator chemicals that lead to inflammation.
The brown and fleshy rhizome with its pungent odour may not be the most sought after herb due to its unique taste. However, ginger is certainly valued and praised for its healing and medicinal properties, the most important being its analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions on the body. Whether it is for easing stomach ailments or for reducing arthritis condition, or respiratory illnesses, ginger is an herb that comes in quite handy as it is a constant fixture in every kitchen cupboard.
Ginger increases blood circulation in the body and reduces inflammation by acting on the body in more ways than one. One inch stalk of ginger can be crushed and a tea prepared by adding a cup of water and boiling for about 10 minutes. Ginger oil can be applied on the inflamed area for relief from swelling and pain.
An herb that is considered as unavoidable in the Indian cuisine, the power of turmeric in treating a number of diseased conditions of the body is well known and established by Ayurvedic physicians. Known to suppress inflammation, especially related to skin and respiratory organs, turmeric is also being tested as a possible natural cure for cancer and related diseases. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric helps in treating arthritis, uveitis, colitis and many generalized inflammatory conditions of the body.
Curcumin works on the body by inhibiting the action of leukotriens that cause inflammation. Added advantages of turmeric are its immune boosting properties due to its antioxidant content. The herb is generally regarded safe, though it may be contra indicated in people with gallstones and obstructed bile duct.
Green tea, derived from camellia sinesis, has active antioxidants that act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can curtail and treat a number of conditions of the body, chronic as well as acute. The polyphenols that are present in green tea are anti carcinogenic and anti inflammatory in nature. Found to be beneficial for suppressing almost all types of cancers, green tea is also great for treating respiratory, stomach and skin inflammations of all types. The polyphenols in green tea have been found to be helpful in treating viral hepatitis, an inflammatory condition of the liver. 3-4 cups of green tea every day can help you remain free of all inflammations and also protect your body against stress, cholesterol, obesity, cancer and heart problems.