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Fight Inflammation With Your Spice Rack!

Updated on July 26, 2011

If you have a condition caused by inflammation in your body, this is a must read!! Many conditions are caused by an overload of inflammation in the body – lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, colitis, dermatitis, hepatitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, nephritis, parkinson’s, ulcerative colitis, and many many more! Inflammation occurs when chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This happens naturally, but can also happen when it isn’t supposed to. Inflammation is heaviest with the disorders mentioned above, but almost everyone will have at least some level of inflammation in their body at some point of their lifetime. The inflammation process can stimulate nerves, and therefore cause pain and damage to the body’s tissues. Some of the symptoms associated with it are redness, joint pain or stiffness, swollen joints, fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite.

Medication can be prescribed to alleviate inflammation, but often times they come with harsh side effects. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are among the safest drugs to take, but often they don’t work well enough in severe situations. Typically corticosteroids such as Prednisone are prescribed for extreme inflammation, which can cause weight gain, change in mood, and damage to your bones. Other anti-inflammatory drugs include anti-malarial medications such as Plaquenill, or various cancer fighting drugs like Methotrexate, Leflunormide, and Sulfasalazine.

Sometimes it is necessary to take these medications for a short period of time, to alleviate a big problem. But often times, doctors can tell you to stay on the prescriptions for longer stints, to control a condition. While you should always consult your doctor regarding your health plan and alternative forms of treatments, there are anti-inflammatory agents in many of the natural foods and spices we eat! Sometimes a condition can be treated using just the spices on your spice rack. These well known spices pack a punch when it comes to health benefits and anti-inflammatory agents. Here are some inflammation fighters to try:


Black Pepper: Used on almost everything, black pepper can be eaten every day without even trying. Along with fighting inflammation, it aids in healthy digestion, and has impressive antioxidant and antibacterial levels. Ditch the salt, but use your table black pepper shaker on all of your meals!

Cinnamon: With its warm, sweet flavor, cinnamon is often a friend of dessert recipes and winter months. Its health benefits include battling inflammation, blood sugar control, anti-clotting prevention, and improved brain function. Sprinkle some cinnamon to your daily tea for a daily health benefit!

Rosemary: Rosemary is an herb used in many dishes. Pungent and pine-smelling, it pairs best with sauces, soups, lamb, pork and chicken dishes. Used to stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and improve digestion, it is also an anti-inflammatory helper, and has been known to reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Additionally, it has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, improving concentration. Sprinkle some on your chicken dish or add to soup for a warm, earthy taste.

Basil: Used in many dishes, basil is a favorite among spices. Great in Italian cooking, it serves many health benefits as well. Research has shown that it aids in DNA protection and has huge anti-bacterial properties. A huge inflammation fighter, it also improves cardiovascular health. Add fresh basil to your spaghetti sauce for a sweet and savory flavor.

Chives: Used as a garnish for many dishes, chives are known to fight inflammation, and aid in respiratory, digestion, and circulatory systems. Toss them on a baked potato or in a salad!

Cilantro: Used in almost anything, cilantro not only controls inflammation, but also blood sugar, cholesterol, and free-radical production too. Used in many marinades, salsas, and garnishes. You can top just about anything with cilantro!

Cloves: Known best for their warm, sweet taste to ginger bread and pumpkin pie, they can also be a great addition to soups, beans, and chili. Not only an anti-inflammatory fighter, but also highly anti-bacterial.

Garlic: Garlic has a long history of being extremely healthy for the body. Used in many dishes, including Asian, Mexican, Italian, and American foods, it can be eaten in recipes, or taken as a supplement. Letting your garlic sit after you crush or chop it has been shown to increase its health benefits due to a change in pH. It not only has inflammatory benefits, but cardiovascular, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits as well. It has been thought to aid in obesity and cancer prevention, as well as aid in blood pressure stability. Just about the only thing it doesn’t help with is bad breath!

Parsley: Found most often as a garnish to dishes, parsley is also a healthy additive to your food, and can aid in the bad breath garlic will give you. It is thought to neutralize carcinogens, inhibit tumor formation, and is rich in anti-oxidants. It also fights inflammation and aids in a healthy heart. Don’t just push it off to the side next time its paired with your main course – eat it as an after dinner treat – even if just to freshen your breath.

Turmeric: Turmeric is in curry and mustard, and has a distinct peppery flavor. It can be taken in tablets or capsules, or eaten in recipes. While used most for inflammation, it can also help with cystic fibrosis and aid in cancer prevention. It has also been used to improve liver function, protect the cardiovascular system, lower cholesterol, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Ginger: Can be taken in capsules, or eaten with food. Aromatic and spicy, ginger is great in Asian stir fries, as well as vegetable dishes. It can also help gastrointestinal problems, pregnancy nausea, and is thought to help aid in prevention of colorectal and ovarian cancer cells. Great as a salad dressing!


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