As we’ve alluded to in previous blogs, inflammation in the body can lead to more serious illnesses. Inflammation is the body’s process of fighting against harm, whether infections, injuries, or toxins. When these damage our cells, our body releases chemicals that trigger a response from our immune system.
In this blog, we’ll discuss one mushroom and a few herbs that can help to fight inflammation so you can be proactive in preventing harm and operate at your peak potential.
Chaga mushrooms are known for their antioxidant properties, which help us fight free radical cells and inflammation. Research has only been done on human cells and mice, but preliminary results are promising for chaga in combatting oxidative stress, preventing or slowing cancer growth, and lowering unhealthy lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
If you don’t have access to the raw mushroom, you can use it in dried powder form and add it to your morning latte or smoothie.
We’re such fans of Chaga, we created Chaga Immunity to help boost the immune system.
You may be familiar with cooking with ginger, but people have used it for thousands of years in traditional medicine to heal conditions, including arthritis, colds, high blood pressure, migraines, and nausea.
Ginger contains more than 100 active compounds, which are likely responsible for its health effects; it inhibits chemicals that promote inflammation in the body. A review of 16 studies in over 1000 participants found that taking between 1000 to 3000 mg of ginger daily over four to 12 weeks reduced markers of inflammation, compared to a placebo.
Other research has looked at the effects of taking ginger daily on osteoarthritis, a condition that involves joint inflammation. The studies found ginger may reduce inflammatory markers, reduce joint pain, and increase joint mobility.
People may not like the peppery taste of this spice, but it comes in capsules, dried powder, extract, oil, and tea form, and is easy to incorporate into your meals.
Turmeric is another spice that has traditionally been used in food. Containing over 300 active compounds, turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and block inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
Studies have shown that curcumin can block NF-κB, a molecule that activates genes that promote inflammation. A review of 15 high quality studies followed over 1000 people who took curcumin daily for up to 36 weeks. For those who took curcumin, inflammatory markers were reduced compared with those who took a placebo.
Studies in people with osteoarthritis found that curcumin supplements provided pain relief similar to that of common anti-inflammatory drugs.
As the body doesn’t absorb turmeric well, take it with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine, which helps to increase curcumin absorption. You can find curcumin supplements that also contain black pepper extract or piperine.
Aside from these, you may be relieved to know that common items likely already in your pantry can fight inflammation: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, fish oil, and flax.
A few other herbs and fungi we’ve covered in past blogs are also anti-inflammatory: ginseng, green tea, rosemary, and reishi.HAVN Life believes in people and the potential for a world where everyone can operate at peak mental performance, free from the stresses and imbalances that hold us back—including inflammation.