Anti-inflammatory botanical/spice research
If you were to close your eyes and be served an Italian, Greek, Indian, Hispanic, or Asian meal, you would likely know immediately that it was not an American dish. You would probably come close to guessing the appropriate ethnicity of the meal because each food has a unique flavor. The use of different spices give ethnic foods their unique flavor, and it turns out that scientists have discovered that most of the spices offer significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
For example, ginger, which is used in many cultures, offers profound anti-inflammatory activity. Some individuals taking supplemental ginger have been able to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, as their muscular pain and osteoarthritis were significantly relieved (1).
In one study, patients with brain cancer were given boswellia, and while the cancer remained, the swelling around the tumor was significantly reduced. As a consequence, the patients were provided with noticeable symptomatic relief (2).
In another study, researchers from UCLA examined curcumin (from turmeric, the main herb in curry) in experimental models of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin was found to prevent the inflammatory drive to Alzheimer’s expression (3). Curcumin is also known to help prevent cancer expression (4).
Recent research into the molecular biology of inflammation revealed that ginger, turmeric, rosemary, garlic, red chilli, fennel, anise, coriander, cloves, pomegranate, and basil can help to reduce a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which is known to promote the expression of inflammation and most chronic diseases, such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, allergy, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and multiple sclerosis (4). The regular intake of such botanicals may offer significant health protection.
Readers should be aware that not every disease has been studied in the context of the NF-kB; however, when such research is performed the typical outcome is that NF-kB is involved. Additionally, not all spices and anti-inflammatory fatty acids have been studied for their NF-kB inhibiting potential; however, when most spices and flavonoids from fruits and vegetables are tested, most do seem to have an NF-kB inhibiting effect.
Another way to increase anti-inflammatory spice/botanical intake is to make your own ginger-green tea.
- Boil water (see step 9 for amount of water. It will vary depending on how much tea is made). I have found it best to use a 2-3 gallon stainless steel pot.
- Peel the skin off of fresh ginger root or wash very well.
- Slice the ginger into pieces about the thickness of a quarter. Running it through a food processor also works, but slicing is preferred. While you are prepping the ginger, your water should be heating up.
- Place the sliced ginger into the pot of boiling water. Let the ginger lightly boil for about 5-10 minutes.
- TURN OFF the heat. I use a pot with a glass top so I can watch the action in the pot. Always keep the pot top on during the heating, boiling, and steeping process.
- About 30 minutes after the heat is turned off, add 6-12 organic green tea bags. Let them sit in the pot for several minutes (no specific time).
- After several minutes, take out the green tea bags. Let tea steep for 6-12 hours.
- Pour the tea through a strainer into large glass containers and place in the fridge.
- You can discard the ginger or use it for cooking. I typically use between 1/2 to 1 pound of ginger root per gallon of water. I drink the tea cold, but others like to warm it up. Either way is fine.
If you are not a big spice eater and do not want to make ginger tea, then taking a supplement like Pro-Enz with multiple anti-inflammatory herbs is a wise choice.