An important thing that I learned early on my work as an alternative therapist, is that using one herb, one mineral, one vitamin or one food to boost the immune system for a long period of time, will often have the opposite results that we are looking for.
So keep “variety is the spice of life” in mind, as you are looking at anti-inflammatory foods, herbs and spices.
My suggestion is that you Google each herb and spice with the word “recipe” and find some new favorites of your own – keeping in mind that generally speaking, the less it’s processed, the better it is for you because you’ll be getting all those digestive enzymes at the same time. 🙂
… Variety very much IS the spice of life! …
Turmeric is a yellow spice common in Indian cooking that has also been used as a medicine for centuries to treat wounds, infections, colds, liver disease and for all inflammatory disorders including arthritis and auto immune conditions.
Turmeric’s ability to reduce inflammation has also been confirmed by more modern studies.
It is also good to note that the active ingredient of curcumin may be higher in some sources of turmeric than others.
There’s a Facebook page where you can check out sources of Turmeric, quantities, methods of getting enough into your body if you don’t eat Indian food every day (which includes making capsules of it yourself with a simple little machine very inexpensively) the beneficial interactions of using tumeric with black pepper and an oil and any questions that you may have about it.
Put Turmeric Users Group in your Facebook search box. It’s a closed group that you have to join. Just a note that over Christmas they are having time off and won’t be adding any new members to the group.
There is a simple version of a capsule machine is available on E-bay for under $30 dollars Australian and you can also find on E-bay, the gelatine or vegan capsules that you can fill with turmeric and anything else that you want higher quantities of and don’t want to cook with every day.
NOTE: Don’t use turmeric if you have gallstones or bile duct dysfunction. Pregnant women shouldn’t use it without their doctors’ approval – pregnant women shouldn’t use ANYTHING without their doctor’s approval!) . In very rare cases, extended use can cause heartburn or stomach upset. If in doubt, check with your medical practitioner.
Dr Andrew Weil says that the full benefit takes two months to develop.
And here’s a link to Lyfe Botanicals who make concentrated curcumin (one of the goodies in tumeric) – there’s lots of articles on this website about the benefits of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil combination
The combination of turmeric, freshly ground black pepper and an oil (remembering that coconut oil is actually good for you) has been reported as increasing the effectiveness of the turmeric. It makes sense really, as both pepper and coconut oil are anti-inflammatories too.
I have made capsules with freshly ground black pepper and turmeric and then eaten a piece of my coconut oil chocolate to get the coconut oil for the mixture. I tried putting all three things into a capsule and made the most extraordinary mess!
Fresh ginger root is available in most supermarkets these days and used a lot in Asian cooking – delicious as well as anti-inflammatory. Ginger has been used as a traditional medicine to treat stomach upset, headaches, and infections.
Scientific studies have confirmed ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties that herbalists have known of for over a thousand years. Wry smile here!
Again, scientific studies have proven what herbalists have known for centuries – that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties.
The powdered cinnamon that you buy in shops may only contain a fraction of the spice. So when using it as an anti-inflammatory, you are better off to buy the cinnamon quills (they look like hollow brown sticks) and grate them or grind them in a mortar and pestle.
You can sprinkle it in your coffee or tea and on top of your breakfast cereal.
The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic have been proven to reduce arthritis symptoms.
Use FRESH garlic in almost any savory dish for some health benefits. The greatest benefit of garlic though, is when it’s both fresh and raw, when it contains the active enzymes that are the foundation of garlic’s health benefits.
In horses, dried garlic has been proved to cause some issues with calcium uptake, so for our purposes, I would stay right away from anything other than fresh garlic.
If you were drawn to use quantities of fresh garlic to combat inflammation, but don’t want to eat it or juice it, you could put it into capsules as I talked about under the Turmeric heading. Make sure you feed it to your partner too though! 🙂
Cayenne and other hot chili peppers have been praised for their health benefits since ancient times. All chili peppers contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids. This is what gives them their anti-inflammatory properties. It has long been used as a digestive aid. However, cayenne has more recently been shown to ease pain associated with arthritis and headaches.
Some people will have an allergy to the nightshade group of vegetables, so if you don’t like them, don’t push it!
If cayenne is just too hot for you, you’ll be happy to know that the milder black pepper has been identified for its anti-inflammatory properties as well. Known as the “King of Spices,” black pepper has been valued for its flavor and anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Studies have shown that the chemical compounds of black pepper, particularly piperine, may be effective in the early acute inflammatory process.
Other herbs and spices that have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties:
Cloves, Cardamon, Basil, Chamomile, celery seed, cilantro, fennel seeds, parsley, nutmeg, rosemary – all have anti-inflammatory properties. Keep in mind that you will get more digestive enzymes and thus more benefit, if you use fresh herbs.