4 Anti-Inflammatory Plants to Grow and Eat

Turn to anti-inflammatory plants to fight ailments such as allergies, arthritis, headaches, back pain, hives, sciatica & more.


| July/August 2016



basil

Delicious basil can also be useful for treating digestive issues.

Photo by iStock

Inflammation kickstarts the processes by which our bodies heal themselves. With small wounds, the inflammatory response sends extra blood and helpful agents such as white blood cells to the abrasion site to start the healing process. In a more serious example, if we twist an ankle or break a leg, it quickly becomes swollen and painful. This inflammatory response keeps us from further damaging injured parts of our bodies. Inflammation is an essential component of the body’s ability to stay healthy. The problem is that our bodies can sometimes get stuck in an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation wreaks havoc on individual cells, and can cause serious problems down the line—among them, cancer, dental problems, diabetes, migraines, gastrointestinal illnesses and heart disease.

Many foods have an anti-inflammatory effect—principally vegetables, fruit and fish. Exercise can also help keep inflammation in check. But even those of us who consistently enjoy a nutritious diet and regular exercise may still turn to painkillers and other over-the-counter treatments for painful inflammatory conditions such as allergies, arthritis, back pain, headaches and migraines, heartburn, hives, sciatica, tendinitis and more. Modern medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can be effective at treating the pain that often accompanies these kinds of inflammation. Prolonged use of anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, however, can cause serious and life-threatening side effects that range from ulcers and high blood pressure to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. If you find yourself dealing with chronic conditions that require regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs, check out the following four safe and effective plant-based alternatives. The information about these herbs is excerpted from Natural Remedies for Inflammation by Christopher Vasey, N.D. It’s available for purchase on page 88.

Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) grows in clumps of stems that range from eight to 20 inches tall. The leaves are green and the flowers small and white. This plant gives off a delicious, potent odor. While native to the tropics, it now grows throughout the world.

History: The word basil comes from the Greek basilikon, meaning “royal.” The plant is regarded as a royal remedy. It relieves tension and offers assistance in all disorders affecting the digestive tract. Basil is a popular culinary herb used in everything from salads and soups to meat dishes and pastas (and especially the famous Italian sauce pesto).

Parts Used: Flowering tops, leaves

Active Principle: Chavicol





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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