Inflammation is the body’s primary defense mechanism against infections, wounds, and pathogens. However, uncontrolled inflammatory response caused by a sub-optimal immune system can lead to many problems. For example, in the case of COVID-19, for people with dysfunctional immune systems, we see the virus causing an uncontrolled immune response, triggering an overproduction of immune cells and their signaling molecules and leading to a cytokine storm. That’s when the patient ends up with severe inflammatory disease conditions like pneumonia, shortness of breath, and inflammation of the airway.
As we age, low-grade systemic inflammation becomes more prevalent, causing our immune system to misbehave, which leads to cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, metabolic syndromes, neurological disorders, and aging. Reducing inflammation is essential for a healthy immune system.
Folk medicines all over the world have been using medicinal herbs to reduce inflammation and optimize the immune system for centuries. Here are some top anti-inflammatory herbs tested and used for thousands of years and confirmed with modern pharmacological research.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an Indian indigenous plant. Turmeric has been used for centuries in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine as an anti-inflammatory to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.
Curcumin, the bright yellow active component, in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, which is responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect of this plant. Extensive research shows that curcumin reduces inflammation by lowering levels of two inflammatory enzymes (COX-2 and LOX) in the body and stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots. Many clinical trials have confirmed curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effect. For example, the results from clinical trials testing curcumin’s effect on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suggested that curcumin can be effective in reducing inflammation and decreasing clinical manifestation of RA, such as joint swelling and morning stiffness.
In addition, turmeric is used to treat bronchial asthma in folk medicine. Research shows that turmeric with its antiseptic properties is a useful remedy for chronic cough and throat irritations.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a native plant from south-east Asia. Indian and Chinese medicine have used ginger as a tonic root for over 5000 years to treat many ailments from colds to cancer. One of the many health claims attributed to ginger is its ability to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain. Numerous studies have shown, -gingerol, a main active compound in ginger exhibits analgesic and potent anti-inflammatory effects. Further research suggested that ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by reducing proinflammatory cytokines in the body, meaning that ginger has the ability to calm systemic inflammation. Similar to turmeric, Ginger also contains a very high level (3.85 mmol/100 g) of total antioxidants,
From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and serve as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dandelion is used to clear inflammation and calm the immune system. Modern pharmacological studies showed that dandelion Inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines through influencing inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, COX-2, IL-1, iNOS) in leukocytes, astrocytes, and macrophages.
Similar to other anti-inflammatory herbs, Dandelions are full of potent antioxidants such as polyphenols, which may explain why this plant has such broad applications for health.
All these anti-inflammatory herbs are readily available in your local grocery stores. You may even find them in your gardens! Turmeric and ginger can be easily incorporated into your daily cooking. Dandelion is extremely versatile – dandelion green can be used in salad, stir-fried dishes, or garnish while dandelion root can be used as a tea.
For an easy, convenient and delicious way to add these immune-boosting herbs to your diet, SGC offers Golden Glow gummies with turmeric-infused with ginger. Each pack of gummies contains the amount of curcumin equivalent of 9g of pure turmeric powder.
Thanks for reading. Be well.