A healthy body is one in which the anti-inflammatory processes keep the inflammatory ones in check. In such a body, the immune system functions in optimal parameters and provides the necessary protection against a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. However, many things can disturb this balance and cause inflammation to take over. Common causes include chronic stress, sleep deprivation, dehydration and unhealthy diets.
The good news is that you can combat inflammation, using herbs that have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Study confirms the anti-inflammatory properties of herbal extracts
According to a study published in the Oct 2010 issue of Food Chemistry, inflammation is one of the contributing factors to chronic conditions, such as asthma, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, vitiligo, and hidradenitis suppurativa. The authors of the study draw attention to the anti-inflammatory properties of the following herbs: sage, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, bay and turmeric. These herbs are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, some of which have been shown to be even more power against inflammation than prescription corticosteroids and NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen.
What are the best herbs to consider?
Sage is one of the best herbs to consider, as it is rich in carnosic acid and carnosol, both of which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. It seems that sage can offer enhanced protection against neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease (this has been linked with chronic inflammation as well). It also happens to be a tasty herb that compliments fish dishes particularly well.
Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, which is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When consumed on a regular basis, rosemary can fight against the damage done by free radicals – this is especially true for the ones that can lead to chronic inflammation. It can be used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings, roast meats, and potatoes.
Thyme essential oil is often appreciated for its anti-inflammatory properties. Recently, it has been discovered that this essential oil targets inflammatory enzymes, in a similar manner with the antioxidants contained in red wine (resveratrol). Once the activity of these enzymes is blocked, the inflammation is reduced and the symptomatology experienced improves or disappears altogether. One of the studies confirming the beneficial effects of this herb, with regard to inflammation, was published in the Apr 2012 issue of Journal of Obesity.
Oregano is often added to a wide range of meals, as it has a unique flavor and it can enhance the taste of different foods. With regard to inflammation, it seems that oregano essential oil is more beneficial than you might think. Oregano oil is rich in anti-inflammatory substances, being able to reduce any existent inflammation and work wonders on allergy symptoms. According to an article published in Natural Health 365, oregano oil is quite recommended as a natural remedy for respiratory tract infections.
Basil, whether fresh or dried, is the kind of herb that makes each and every dish absolutely delicious to taste. According to recent studies, basil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, working particular wonders on the symptoms of arthritis. It works to bring down not only the inflammation but also the associated symptoms, such as pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion. The benefits of basil have been described in detail in a scientific article published in Medical News Today (Sept 2016).
When it comes to anti-inflammatory foods, turmeric takes the crown. Over the past 25 years, more than 3,000 publications have discussed turmeric’s potent anti-inflammatory effects and WHFoods has recently reported that with regards to potency, turmeric triumphs over NSAIDS (minus all of NSAIDS side-effects!).
Turmeric’s magic comes from components known as curcominoids, which block the body’s inflammatory mediators. This is achieved through suppressing of a factor known as protein-kappaB, which subsequently stops the enzymes that facilitate inflammatory pathways. Turmeric has also been found to help regulate blood glucose and blood pressure, improve the elasticity of the skin, and help prevent growth of cancer cells.
Turmeric can be used as a spice in meals or you can use a concentrated extract. However, if using an extract, make sure you buy a liposmalized form (highest bioavailability), ideally combined with fulvic acid which further improves turmeric’s absorption. The top rated liposomalized turmeric on the market is PuraTHRIVE Organic Turmeric Extract (with fulvic acid).
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