Inflammation is an underlying factor in many diseases. Thankfully, there are several natural remedies for inflammation, and more are being discovered every day.
In addition to chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation may also play a key role in cardiovascular disease, cancer, autism, depression, and dementia. Studies have shown that inflammation may even affect common ailments such as headaches, gastrointestinal distress, joint pain, and skin conditions like acne.
At the same time, a lot of the basic questions regarding the underlying mechanisms of inflammation remain unanswered. The bright side, however, is that treatments like CBD and omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory properties with very few side effects.
Although it’s far from complete, here’s a list of the top seven natural remedies for inflammation.
But before we dive deep into these powerful anti-inflammatory agents, it’s important to understand the difference between helpful inflammation and hurtful inflammation:
As problematic as inflammation can be, it isn’t always a bad thing. For example, acute inflammation is part of a healthy response to injury and infection. When you break an ankle or catch a virus, inflammation is there to save the day. Right on queue, it floods the body with inflammatory cytokines, plasma, and beneficial blood cells.
During an infection, you may feel feverish or fatigued, and following physical trauma you may have swelling, redness, or pain. However, these responses are all part of a healthy immune system and are nothing to worry about.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can trigger hormonal imbalances and promote life-threatening disease. At the very least, your quality of life can suffer from symptoms like joint pain, upset stomach, and poor mental health.
The best way to reduce inflammation is to support the microbiome with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. The microbiome is the bacteria and fungi that live in the colon, and it’s essential to overall health.
Much of the time, chronic inflammation starts when inflammatory agents enter the bloodstream through a compromised gut lining, which is only a single cell thick. The body relies heavily on a well-balanced microbiome to reinforce this fragile gut lining.
However, poor diet and stress can disturb the microbiome and weaken the gut lining. The top natural remedies for inflammation support overall health by reducing chronic inflammation and repairing the gut lining.
Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil combat free radicals and reduce markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP). (1)
In fact, omega-3 supplementation may even reduce inflammation in patients with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. (2)
At the same time, The International Journal of Molecular Science explains:
“Human and animal studies have highlighted the ability of omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] to influence the gut–brain axis, acting through gut microbiota composition.” (3)
In other words, fish oil can influence mental health by altering the gut bacteria, thereby enhancing cognitive performance and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Make sure to buy high-quality fish oil because cheaper supplements tend to go rancid in the manufacturing process. On a similar note, farmed fish is linked to higher rates of prostate cancer, so stick with products made from wild-caught fish.
Salmon and sardines are fantastic whole-food sources of omega-3s and are part of a well-balanced anti-inflammatory diet.
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of 100 phytocannabinoids that have been identified in hemp and cannabis plants, both of which belong to the Cannabis sativa plant species. It has an array of potential health benefits from anxiety reduction to seizure prevention, but researchers are most intrigued by its anti-inflammatory properties.
Unlike THC (the component of cannabis that makes you high) CBD produces no psychoactive effects. In other words, you can take CBD without getting stoned and still pass drug tests.
Generally speaking, CBD simultaneously modulates pain and strengthens immunity via the endocannabinoid system. Discovered only a few decades ago, researchers believe that this system helps regulate all other body systems, which explains why CBD has such broad health benefits.
Most of the studies on CBD and inflammation involve animal trials, but the results are still promising:
CBD oil is the most effective way to accurately dose yourself because each dropper contains a precise quantity. This makes tracking the effects and titrating future doses a breeze.
Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric. Commonly used as a cooking spice, turmeric is what gives many Indian dishes their characteristic yellowish-orange color.
A study published in the medical journal Oncogene found that curcumin was significantly more effective at reducing inflammation than both ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin (Bayer). (7)
Curucumin appears to be especially effective at reducing inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to a 2014 Japanese study, it significantly reduced the presence of interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine most closely linked to RA. (8)
Make sure to take curcumin extract with black pepper and/or fenugreek seed to help with absorption.
Ginger is another spice in the same family as turmeric. Not only do they look similar, but they also share many of the same anti-inflammatory properties. Although ginger does not contain curcumin, studies confirm that it can effectively reduce inflammation.
Ginger may even treat chronic inflammation from autoimmune disorders and support the lymphatic system: the body’s network for waste removal.
In modern medicine, ginger extract is most commonly used to treat airway inflammation from allergic asthma. For example, in one 2015 study, ginger reduced allergic airway inflammation in rodents after just one week of treatment. (9)
Prebiotic foods are at the core of any anti-inflammatory diet, primarily because they reinforce that gut lining by feeding healthy gut bacteria. The problem with most fruits and vegetables is that they get broken down too fast. On the other hand, prebiotic, high-fiber vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, raw garlic, and dandelion greens stay intact long enough to fuel the microbiome.
Research shows that eating prebiotic foods promotes healthy bacteria like L. reuteri, bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. casei, and L. acidophilus. (10)
At the same time, a healthy microbiome can reduce chronic intestinal inflammation when paired with prebiotics. (11)
Green tea comes from the unfermented leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and it’s rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols, and catechins. Together, these nutrients can reduce the risk of heart disease, protect against cognitive decline, and reduce inflammation. (12)
A 2016 study found that green tea was an effective intervention in elderly patients, especially when combined with exercise. (13)
Also due to its anti-inflammatory properties, green tea may normalize blood sugar levels in prediabetic individuals. The catechins is green tea, specifically EGCG, appear to be responsible for its anti-diabetic effects. (14)
Bone broth contains nutrients that repair gut lining and protect the bloodstream from inflammation.
For example, glucosamine and chondroitin are expensive as supplements but are present in large quantities in bone broth. Similarly, bone broth contains amino acids and collagen to repair cell walls. (15)
You’ll also find bioavailable forms of electrolytes like magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and silicon, all of which are essential to cellular energy production and waste removal.
By filling up on foods like bone broth and taking supplements like CBD drops, you can treat a variety of inflammatory conditions. Always consult a doctor before adding any of these natural remedies to your treatment program. Of course, the safest route is to live a balanced lifestyle with plenty of sleep, exercise, and an anti-inflammatory diet.