in The ANRF Chronicle
Certain plants are rich in compounds called phytochemicals, which can aid in preventing oxidative damage to cells and help to reduce excess inflammation. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, certain plants may help relieve pain and stiffness caused by inflammation. Drinking tea made from these plants is an easy and tasty way to harness these anti-inflammatory properties. One cup of tea is a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet as it will contribute to compounds taken in during meals, assisting them to be more effective at reducing inflammation.
- Green tea (Camellia sinensis L.)
Green tea is high in polyphenols, the most potent of which is EGCG. The properties of EGCG have been found to relieve flareups associated with inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis, as well as reducing symptoms due to other inflammatory conditions. This tea contains caffeine and can interact with certain medications so it’s important to be sure there are not any interactions with other prescribed or over-the-counter medications.
- Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Holy basil (also known as Tulsi) is thought to help counter emotional, environmental and metabolic stress, which are often identified as contributing factors in inflammation that can lead to chronic disease. This tea is a good choice for those suffering from gout or RA as it assists in reducing uric acid levels. Some of Holy basil’s compounds fight inflammation by inhibiting the cox-1 and cox-2 enzymes, which produce inflammatory compounds and trigger pain, swelling and inflammation. Rose hip tea is a good alternative if Holy basil isn’t available as it works in the same manner.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Much like using turmeric as a spice in many recipes to help decrease inflammation, sipping turmeric tea has this and other health benefits. With Curcumi as the bioactive compound, turmeric reduces pain and inflammation by disrupting some of the pathways that lead to these conditions. Studies show it reduces pain and improves physical function for those with osteoarthritis. Research also indicates it may help prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer, and boosts the immune system.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger impressively contains more than 50 different antioxidant compounds. These compounds not only limit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines but also benefits blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Studies using high doses of ginger found it lowers inflammatory blood markers such as C-reactive protein, a common marker used to assess disease state.