When you injure yourself, like pulling a muscle or giving your knee a bang, inflammation is the natural response of the body to protect the injured part. But, it’s painful! Anti inflammatory home remedies can be as effective as over the counter, chemical laden medication.
(As always. consult your health physician before taking any herbal supplements).
Anti-inflammatories help to reduce swelling and give pain relief and there are many herbs and spices that can help with this 3.
Ingredients you would normally keep in your kitchen cupboard, such as
- Epsom Salts
- Olive Oil
- Blackstrap Molasses
There are other herbs and oils that can help – ones that aren’t used as everyday ingredients but, are easy to source.
- Dandelion leaves
- White Willow
- Juniper Berry (not to be taken when pregnant)
- Frankincense (Boswellia)
These 2 lists aren’t exhaustive, but probably the easiest to source and make into an effective home remedy for inflammation.
Anti Inflammatory Home Remedies
Here are just a few home remedies for inflammation you can make at home.
Turmeric & Ginger Tea
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 2 cups of spring water
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- honey to taste
- Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil
- Add the Turmeric and Ginger
- Reduce to a simmer and leave for 10/15mns.
- Add honey to taste
Epsom Salt Soak
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral which studies have shown has anti inflammatory properties and is useful for pain relief 1.
- A 1/2 cup of Epsom salts
- Large bowl
- Warm water
- Fill a large bowl with warm water
- Add the ½ cup of Epsom salts.
- Give it a good mix
- Immerse your sore joints in the liquid for at least 15mns.
For larger areas, you can take a bath with Epsom salts. Add 2 cups of the salts to your bath and soak for at least 15mns.
Moisturize with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The main compound in extra virgin olive all is Oleocanthal, which studies have shown to have anti-inflammatory characteristics. 2 .
Using heat destroys oleocanthal so it’s important to use cold pressed good quality oil. Not all oils are created equal!
How ripe the olives are when cold pressed dictates the level of Oleocanthal. A rule of thumb is, the stronger tasting the oil, the higher lever of Oleocanthal is present.
You can use the oil in 2 ways.
- Externally by massaging into the affected area twice daily
- Internally by taking 2/3 tablespoons a day. Just be aware, olive oil is high in calories (good calories) so you might want to reduce your intake of other fats in your diet such as butter.
Blackstrap molasses has been used for many years as a home remedy for arthritis. Molasses is what is left after sugar has had it’s 3rd boiling and is nutrient dense (unlike the refined sugars generally used).
Because of the minerals present (calcium, potassium, and magnesium amongst others 4), it can make a very effective anti inflammatory. (It’s also useful for treating anaemia because of the high iron levels present 5).
Mix together 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and a cup of warm water and drink one cup a day.
Note – Sometimes molasses can have a laxative effect
Peppermint and Eucalyptus Oil
Used together, peppermint and eucalyptus oil can help relieve joint pain due to the cooling effect when used together.
- 5-10 drops of Peppermint oil
- 5-10 drops of Eucalyptus oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of carrier oil (the extra virgin olive oil works well)
- Mix the eucalyptus and peppermint oil together
- Mix in the carrier oil. (needed so the pure essential oil doesn’t irritate the skin)
- Store in a dark glass bottle away from direct sunlight
- Massage into affected area
Anti inflammatory Foods
There are also many types of food that can help with joint and skeletal problems.
It’s important to include them in your diet, especially if you have recurring problems.
- Tomatoes – local organic where possible
- Olive oil – Good quality extra virgin olive oil, for the reason mentioned above
- Leafy green vegetables – spinach, kale, collards etc, again, local organic is best
- Nuts – almonds, walnuts etc
- Fruits – strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges
Dr. Frank Hu, (professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health) has this to say
Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects 6
In other words, the best way to combat inflammation is not over the counter, but with a healthy diet full of enriched foods.
The components of all these foods are outwith the scope of this article, but if you want to find out more there have been studies to support the information 7