Inflammation is a natural process in which the body recruits cells of immune system, specifically white blood cells at the place of injury or infection to protect it from invading foreign pathogens like bacteria, fungus or virus. However, when the body defense system triggers the inflammatory pathways in the absence of foreign invasion it results in the damage of body own tissues with consequent development of many disorders in the longer term.
Further, the exaggerated inflammatory response is almost associated with all diseases including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart and brain disorders. Inflammatory conditions can be curbed through herbal interventions and here we summarize the multiple herbs with potent anti-inflammatory activity.
Turmeric is an inevitable part of Indian cuisine. However, this magical herb owes potent anti-inflammatory properties too. Curcumin, one of the active ingredients of turmeric is responsible for its anti-inflammatory activity and helps in significant reduction of inflammation. Half teaspoon of turmeric in warm milk still remains as an effective home remedy for common body pain caused due to inflammation.
Ginger, another wonderful spice of Indian super food has been a renowned anti-inflammatory agent since time immemorial. This anti-inflammatory property of ginger rhizome has been attributed to its active ingredient gingerols. Many studies reveal that ginger effectively reduces inflammatory responses by inhibiting the production of toxic free radicals and pro-inflammatory compounds1
3. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper contains a compound called Capsaicin which not only adds the spicy taste to pepper but is also effective in treating inflammation induced pain. Capsaicin is a major ingredient of pain relief ointments and creams as it disturbs the signaling pathway of pain-causing substances released from the brain.
Many studies prove that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties2.The active component of cinnamon- the cinnamaldehyde were reported to inhibit the NF-kappa B protein that is related to inflammation-induced damage. Further, cinnamon is also known to block some growth factors associated with cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
This super hot flavoring spice is power packed with anti-inflammatory properties. Clove contains an active compound, erugenol that works in part by blocking the COX-2 enzyme that causes inflammation. Clove also contains potent antioxidants like kaempferol and rhamnetin that scavenges free radicals.
The oil prepared by boiling garlic in mustard oil or sesame oil is the oldest remedy for pain and swelling. Rich in organo-sulfur compounds, this pungent smelling spice soothes the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis by suppressing formation of nitric oxide and prostaglandins which act as chemical messengers in inflammatory pathways3.
Saga contains anti-inflammatory agents like Carnosic acid and carnosol which is potent to prevent brain related inflammation in diseases like Alzheimer’s4.Both of these agents prevents superoxide which otherwise induces inflammation.
8. Black Pepper
Last but not the least; black pepper contains a substance called piperine which is highly effective in treating acute inflammation. Black pepper, the “king of spices” has found to be very effective in arthritic pain due to its potent anti-inflammatory activity5.