Five Healing Plants for Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal response to heal and restore your health from the body’s response to infection and other ailments.  Herbs known as anti-inflammatories assist the inflammatory response and work with the body to help reduce pain and discomfort with many body systems.  Anti-inflammatory herbs can help the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skin, urinary, reproductive, musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

1) Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Also known as marigold, this yellow flower has anti-inflammatory properties to help heal the skin and the digestive system.   Applied externally as a lotion, poultice or compress, calendula can aid bruises, strains, ulcers, burns or wounds.  Studies have shown the flavonoids and triterpenes present in calendula petals exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.  When taken internally, calendula can help indigestion and help with the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. 

2) Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) 

This anti-inflammatory and venous tonic helps to reduce vein inflammation when used topically.  Many studies have shown that a group of molecules known as aescins that come from the seeds are beneficial to the circulatory system and protect the cells lining in veins helping to reduce the appearance of varicose veins. 

3) Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

This brightly orange coloured rhizome is widely known and has been used as a culinary spice for centuries.  Turmeric has many powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.   Considerable research shows the curcuminoid polyphenols and many other flavonoids and phytonutrients in turmeric help to reduce chronic inflammation in joints caused by arthritis, osteoarthritis and induce inflammation from exercise.  This herb is taken as a powder and often mixed with black pepper and coconut oil to enhance the effectiveness of the herb. Excellent in fermented form.

4) White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

This ancient herb is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.  It has been used to treat various forms of rheumatoid arthritis, fevers, body aches and pains. White willow contains salicylic acid which is beneficial for musculoskeletal inflammations.  Salicylic acid is what aspirin is made from! Studies show willow is as effective as aspirin for reducing pain in the body.

5) Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 

The sweet root is an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant and demulcent.  It can help reduce heartburn, abdominal swelling, ulcers and IBS.  Licorice contains bioactive compounds called glycyrrhizin (G), glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and Dipotassium glycyrrhizinate (DPG).   This study shows how it has helped to reduce oxidative oxidative stress and inflammation from intestinal disorders in the body.

**This list of common herbal supplements for inflammation is for informational purposes only. Talk to your Doctor, Naturopath or Health Care Provider to discuss specific medical conditions or symptoms or if you are taking prescriptions. People enjoy this through tea or a more concentrated form in a tincture.

Photo credits: Brooke Lundmark

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