Herbs for Inflammation

Herbs for Inflammation

If you are looking for a natural solution inflammation, you probably have these 2 problems: First, you don’t want to take, or keep taking, prescription drugs and pain killers anymore. Maybe you can’t bear the side effects; maybe you want to treat your body right with a natural treatment. Second problem – you don’t know WHICH herbs are anti-inflammatory. This guide will help you choose the right one for you.

Using herbs to fight inflammation is one of the oldest uses of plants. Unlike prescription drugs, herbs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness. With that caveat, here are the herbs used to fight inflammation:

  • Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) Angelica appears to be beneficial for those with arthritis, joint pain, and rheumatism.
  • Bay Leaf (Laurus Nobilis) Bay leaf oil is massaged into the skin to reduce inflammation and pain resulting from arthritis, sprains, strains, and general pains and aches.
  • Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) Buckthorn tea, seed and oil is used internally for relief from arthritis.
  • Calendula (Calendula arvensis) flowers have been used for centuries to relieve several conditions caused by inflammation.
  • Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum) increases circulation and is reported to relieve several conditions caused by inflammation.
  • Castor Oil (Ricinus communis) Castor oil is used topically as an anti-inflammatory for relief of arthritis.
  • Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) – Limited studies indicate modest benefits for easing rheumatoid arthritis joint pain and osteoarthritis knee pain during activity, but more studies are needed before its use can be recommended.
  • Chaparral (Larrea tridentata) Antidotal reports suggest chaparral may provide some relief from arthritis pain.
  • Chondroitin is used mainly combined with glucosamine for osteoarthritis, especially hip and knee OA. It reduces joint swelling and stiffness.
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum aromaticum) In a study conducted at Copenhagen University on arthritis pain, patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning. After one week they had significant pain relief and could walk without pain within a month.
  • Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) Cucumber juice helps eliminate uric acid, which reduces inflammation caused by problems like rheumatism and arthritis.
  • Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – Studies suggest devil’s claw is effective in the short-term treatment of osteoarthritic, arthritis and low back pain. It’s used extensively in Europe as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Eucalyptus (gum tree) Diluted eucalyptus oil is used internally as an anti-inflammatory to relieve arthritis pain.
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Although evening primrose oil is used for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis there is not enough evidence to support its effectiveness.
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Fenugreek is used internally to relieve the symptoms and discomfort of arthritis.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Ginger is used internally as an anti-inflammatory for relief of arthritis pain.
  • Grape Seed (Vitis vinifera) Used as a natural health remedy grape seed extract may be effective in relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Juniper (Juniperus communis) Used internally for relief of arthritis.
  • Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria digitata) Used to alleviate arthritis pain.
  • Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) – Milk thistle appears to protect the liver and block or remove harmful substances from that organ. Although more study is needed, it appears to improve organ function in people with cirrhosis (chronic liver disease). It may also be helpful in treating chronic hepatitis. More research is needed before any specific recommendations can be made for its use.
  • Nettle (Urtica dioica) Nettle is used for the relief of arthritis, joint pain, muscle pain, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis.
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is used for protection against rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Poplar tea is used as an anti-inflammatory for the relief of pain from arthritis and other joint and muscle pain.
  • Quinine Quinine is the main ingredient in Tonic water. It is used internally for its anti-inflammatory properties for relief from arthritis, lower back pain, and nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Relieve muscle pain and arthritis.
  • Sam-e
  • Turmeric (Curuma longa, Curcumin, also tumeric) The major component of turmeric is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties.
  • Wintergreen Oil (Gaultheria) is used topically (diluted) for arthritis inflammation.

Please read the herbal warnings.

If you suffer from arthritis, chronic pain and inflammation you may be sensitive to plants of the nightshade group. Consuming foods of this plant group may be contributing to your pain and inflammation. Here is a list of some of the most popular nightshade vegetables consumed today:

  • Ashwagandha
  • Bell peppers (a.k.a. sweet peppers)
  • Bush tomato
  • Cape gooseberry (also known as ground cherries-not to be confused with regular cherries)
  • Cocona
  • Eggplant
  • Garden huckleberry (not to be confused with regular huckleberries)
  • Goji berries (a.k.a. wolfberry)
  • Hot peppers (such as chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, chili-based spices, red pepper, cayenne)
  • Kutjera
  • Naranjillas
  • Paprika
  • Pepinos
  • Pimentos
  • Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes)
  • Tamarillos
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes

Although not truly nightshades, blueberries, huckleberries, goji berries and ashwaganda all share the same inflammation-inducing alkaloids. A simple test for sensitivity is to eliminate the above vegetables for one week. Then add them back to your meals and pay attention to how you feel the next day. Your level of pain will make it obvious whether or not you are sensitive to nightshades.

For a list of other herbs with safety data, click here.

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For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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