There are several herbs with anti-inflammatory properties, some of which have been shown to be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and basil is one of these. Use a hot Basil Compress on affected areas.
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
4-5 fresh basil leaves
Pour the boiling water over the leaves. Let it steep for 4-5 minutes. Strain and drink.
Basil Hot Compress
Make double strength basil tea. While it is hot, dip in a clean cotton cloth and apply it as warm as you can bear to the affected part. When it cools, dip it in the infusion again and reapply. You can do this several times.
Black pepper is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent; piperine, one of the active compounds of black pepper, reduces the inflammatory compounds that make inflammatory pain worse, so try adding a little black pepper to your food, or use a Black Pepper Compress on affected parts.
Black Pepper Tea
250 ml (1 cup) water
½ tsp freshly milled black pepper.
Put the water and pepper in a ban and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Drink as required with a little honey, if liked. To improve the flavour, you can add a black teabag as you remove the pan from the heat, but don’t forget to remove it when the desired strength is reached. For colds etc. you can add some fresh or powdered ginger to the pan as you simmer the pepper.
Black Pepper Compress
Prepare a double strength black pepper tea as above. While it is hot, dip in a clean cotton cloth and apply it as warm as you can bear to the affected part. When it cools, dip it in the infusion again and reapply. You can do this several times.
The hot and spicy taste of chilli is due to a compound called capsaicin, which is a natural pain killer. Capsaicin depletes a neurotransmitter called substance P, which is responsible for sending pain signals to our brain. When applied topically to affected areas, this is very helpful in relieving pain in cases of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia as well as shingles, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, bursitis, muscle and back pain.
4 fresh chillies chopped
200 ml vegetable oil
1 tbsp. beeswax
Put the chillies and oil in a double boiler and simmer for 40 – 50 minutes. Strain out the chillies and return the oil to the pan. Add the beeswax and stir until it has melted. Pour into warmed, sterilised glass jars. Apply directly to your painful joints. Do not use on broken skin. Wash your hands afterwards and avoid touching the eye area.
Applied to the skin, the volatile oils in clove function as a rubefacient, meaning that it slightly irritates the skin and expands the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to the surface. This is helpful for arthritis and sore muscles, used either as a Clove Compress or Clove Tea in a hot bath or applying Clove Balm to the affected area. Clove is also a topical anaesthetic, dulling pain, while the eugenol it contains is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Clove Infused Oil
50g freshly ground cloves
300 ml vegetable oil (such as olive)
Put the cloves and oil in a double boiler and simmer very gently for 2 hours. Strain into a clean bottle, label, and store in a cool, dark place.
250 ml (1 cup) water.
Put in a pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for another 10 minutes. Strain and drink with a little honey, if desired.
Clove and Coconut Balm
200 gm solid coconut oil
30 gm cloves, freshly ground
In a double boiler, simmer together for 2 hours. Strain through muslin into a shallow jar.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, so is very useful in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, where inflammation leads to pain. Applied externally, in the form of a compress, salve or oil, it stimulates peripheral circulation, helping toxins to be removed from painful joints. Furthermore, the topical application of fresh ginger actually has pain-killing properties with the compound gingerol acting on the receptors located on sensory nerve endings. Applying a Ginger Compress to an affected joint will cause a momentary slight ‘burn’, followed by pain relief. If you are having a flare up, take a cup of Ginger Tea three times a day or use a Ginger Compress on affected parts.
Fresh Ginger Tea
2 cm fresh ginger
500 ml (2 cups) water
Peel the ginger and slice thinly. Boil the ginger in water for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, add honey and lemon if desired.
Grate 150 grams of fresh ginger and add to a pan of 2 litres water and simmer gently without boiling for 20 minutes. Strain the ginger water into a heatproof bowl (discard the ginger). Soak a clean cloth in the hot ginger liquid. Wring it out and apply to the affected area. This should be done as hot as is comfortable. When it cools, dip again in the liquid, wring it out and reapply. You can do this several times. The skin may redden. If you experience itching or discomfort, discontinue use.
Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic actions and contains the two powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds called carnosol and carnosic acid which have been shown to reduce the levels of nitric acid in the body that can be a trigger for inflammation. The pain-relieving qualities of rosemary are largely the result of salicylate, a compound similar to aspirin. Apply Rosemary Salve to the affected parts or put some freshly cut rosemary sprigs (along with marjoram and lavender if you like) into a cloth bag and add this to your bath water to soothe aches. You can also use a hot compress soaked in Rosemary Tea applied to the painful area.
1 tsp. of rosemary
250 ml (1 cup) of water
Bring the water to a boil Add the rosemary herb to the water, remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain the mixture into a teacup. Sweeten with honey, if desired.
Rosemary & Coconut Balm
Fresh rosemary leaves
Simmer together in a double boiler for two hours. Strain into a clean jar. This can be massaged into arthritic joints. It will keep for up to two years in a cool, dark place.
There have been many studies conducted over the last fifty years on the efficacy and safety of turmeric, and especially on curcumin, thought to be its most medicinally active compound. Pharmaceutical companies have introduced a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors, which deliver the benefits of NSAIDs but with fewer side effects – curcumin is a natural COX-2 inhibitor. Promising effects have been observed in patients with various inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, tropical pancreatitis, vitiligo, psoriasis, atherosclerosis and diabetes. Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories, some studies showing it to be as effective as ibuprofen or cortisone in helping ease the stiffness and pain of arthritic joints or bursitis for which it can be externally applied as a Turmeric Paste, Turmeric and Coconut Balm, or taken internally as a Turmeric Tea and Golden Milk.
Turmeric and Coconut Balm
2 tbsp. turmeric powder
250 ml (1 cup) solid coconut oil
Put the oil in a double boiler and add the turmeric powder. Simmer gently 30 minutes and pour into a sterilised shallow jar. Both coconut and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties. Massage into the affected area and cover with a warm towel. Leave 30 minutes and rinse. If you wish, you can add 1 tbsp. of ground ginger when making the balm, which is another anti-inflammatory agent.
250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch ginger powder
Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
1 tsp honey
Heat milk and spices in pan, simmering but not boiling. Remove from the heat. Leave to steep 5-10 minutes. Strain into a mug and stir in the honey.
2 tsp. turmeric powder
250 ml (1 cup) water
Bring the water to the boil in a pan, add the turmeric and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Drink within 4 hours.
Turmeric and Ginger Tea
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
250 ml (1 cup) water
Bring the water to the boil in a pan. Add the turmeric and ginger and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain and rink sweetened with a little honey, if liked. Like turmeric, ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties.