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Herbs & Spices

Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices

HERBS

Basil
Eugenol, a phytochemical found in the oils within basil, is the main anti-inflammatory ingredient in this versatile herb. Eugenol works in combination similarly to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibruprofen, which inhibit the activity of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which cause inflammatory responses in the body. Basil, like many of the herbs and spices listed here is a versatile cooking ingredient and easy to add into your anti-inflammatory diet.

Bay leaves
Like basil, bay leaves contain eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also contain the analgesic, myrcene, which provides an anti-inflammatory by blocking T-cell responses.

Thyme
Thyme
reduces inflammation similarly to NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) by suppressing the COX-2 enzyme in our bodies but without any side effects. Basil The main anti-inflammatory in basil is eugenol, which interrupts the inflammatory pathways.

Oregano
The anti-inflammatory properties of oregano result from the compound beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), which is found in the plant’s essential oils.

SPICES

Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin, which is the compound that heats up our tastes buds and irritates the skin and eyes. However it is also the key to cayenne pepper’s anti-inflammatory properties and is an active ingredient in sprays and patches used for pain relief in muscles and joints. It works by inhibiting the activities of free radicals, which left to their own devices, trigger an inflammatory response in the body’s cells.

Chilli Powder
Chilli powder, which is the dried and milled form of fresh chillies, contains capsaicin, the compound that provides this spice with flavour and heat. Most of the capsaicin is found in the seeds and ribs of the flesh. It works by inhibiting Substance P, a neurostransmitter that sends pain signals to the brain.

Cloves
Cloves contain an anti-inflammatory substance called eugenol, which works in a similar way to none steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), effective for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Placing a pressed clove in the mouth next to the site of pain has long been used as a traditional remedy for toothache.

Black Cumin
Black cumin seeds have been used for centuries as a cooking ingredient, and as a painkiller and cure for many ailments such as indigestion and diarrhoea. The main anti-inflammatory ingredient of cumin is thymoquinone. It works by inhibiting the release of inflammatory response agents such as pro-inflmmatory cytokines and is effective in reducing inflammation in the airways and lungs and in the joints and cartilage.

Fennel seeds
Anethole is the key anti-inflammatory compound found in fennel seeds. It works by blocking the body’s cells inflammatory response pathways in auto-immune diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis and in the body’s histamine responses to allergies such as hay fever.

Ginger
Ginger is one of the most effective spices in reducing inflammation. The key ingredients are gingerols, which have been shown to produce anti-inflammatory benefits for arthritis patients and those with inflammation of the digestive system who have failed to response to pharmaceuticals.

Mustard seeds
The essential minerals selenium and magnesium working in combination are thought to be the key to the mustards seed’s anti-inflammatory properties. It can provide relief for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and chest conditions including asthma.

Turmeric
Turmeric is an ingredient used in almost every curry dish. Curcumin, which gives turmeric its vibrant orange/yellow colour is the main anti-inflammatory ingredient. Eaten regularly it works similarly to pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories by inhibiting a variety of bodily enzymes including COX-1 and COX-2 that are involved in producing inflammatory responses.

Vanilla
Vanilla contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds including vanillin, eugenol and caprioc acid.  Vanillin also works to some extent as an anti-oxidant, providing protection against freed radical damage.

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