Inflammation: it’s on everyone’s lips these days — and for good reason. But we’re not talking about acute inflammation, necessary for healing your wounds. We’re talking about a more sinister kind, called chronic inflammation. It plays a key role in many chronic diseases, contributing to heart disease, arthritis, cancer and more. Luckily, there is a way to reduce chronic inflammation and help promote overall wellness. Just sit back, put your feet up and have a cup of tea.
How does inflammation occur in the body?
Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to inflammation. On the one hand, inflammation is necessary and vital for the body’s immune response. In it’s simplest form, inflammation is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury. It’s the body’s way of defending itself against foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. It’s also necessary for repairing damaged tissue. Without acute inflammation, your wounds would fester and your infections could turn deadly.
But too much of a good thing can soon become problematic. When inflammation becomes chronic, also known as low-grade or systemic inflammation, it can have long-lasting effects on the body.
What are the inflammatory diseases?
Unlike the redness or swelling that occurs when your body fights a low-grade infection, chronic inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Peptic ulcer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic sinusitis
- Active hepatitis
- And more!
What is the main cause of chronic inflammation in the body?
Various factors like stress, environmental toxins and how much exercise you get can affect your body’s response to inflammation. But, according to research by the Foundation for Integrated Medicine in New York, diet also plays a key role in how your body handles inflammation. That means that certain foods can either create or fight chronic inflammation.
Teas that fight inflammation
Rather than relying on medication to manage chronic inflammation, try some of these all-natural remedies instead. Here are six teas that can help kick inflammation to the curb:
1. Green tea
Green, black and white teas are loaded with polyphenols, plant-derived compounds that boost the immune system and may even protect against certain inflammation-causing diseases. But, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, green tea contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, since it’s made from unfermented leaves. When it comes to fighting inflammation, green tea may help fight inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and certain cancers.
2. Ginger tea
Ginger is widely known for its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal distress by relaxing and soothing the intestinal tract. According to research in the National Center for Biotechnology, ginger exhibits analgesic and potent anti-inflammatory effects that decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatism. Research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine also suggests that ginger has anticancer activities because of its ability to curb the life or death of a cell.
- 6 thin slices raw ginger
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
- 1 tsp raw honey or stevia
- Boil ginger in water for 10 minutes.
- Pour into a cup. Don’t bother removing ginger pieces; it will continue to steep.
- Add lemon and honey. Stir to combine and enjoy.
3. Turmeric tea
Curcumin, the main active compound that gives turmeric its golden color, is responsible for most of its anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different pain, swelling, and inflammation inhibitors, according to Dr. Weil. An excellent way to reap turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits is by drinking it in a tea.
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 cups water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Raw honey to taste
- Pinch of ground pepper
- Boil water.
- Add ground turmeric.
- Simmer for 10 minutes before straining into a cup.
- Add lemon juice and raw honey to taste.
- Add ground pepper to increase curcumin absorption.
4. Tart cherry tea
Turns out, tart cherries top the list of anti-inflammatory foods. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at 10 healthy women ages 22 to 40. After fasting overnight, the women ate two servings of cherries. Blood and urine samples were taken before and after the cherries were eaten. Researchers found that cherries decreased inflammation and subdued inflammatory pathways. In fact, tart cherry compounds have the comparable anti-inflammatory activity to ibuprofen and naproxen — but without the significant side effects!
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup of tart organic cherry juice (not from concentrate)
- 1 tsp raw honey (or whole sweetener of choice)
- Boil water and pour into cup.
- Add lemon, cherry juice and raw honey.
- Stir to combine and enjoy.
5. Pineapple tea
Research from the University of Southampton in the UK looked at the analgesic effects of bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple used to reduce swelling and inflammation. The studies concluded that this enzyme was comparable to or even more effective than NSAID painkiller drugs for managing the pain of osteoarthritis. Other studies have also found that bromelain could be even more effective than prescription anti-inflammatory drugs for various types of pain.
- 1 pineapple peel, crown, and scraps
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 knob ginger
- Water, enough to cover the peels
- Place pineapple skins, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium pot and cover with water.
- Heat on medium-low, then allow it to simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Turn heat off and cover the pot with lid, allowing it to infuse for 20 more minutes.
- Strain into jar and place in the fridge until cold, or drink it hot.
6. Dandelion tea
Dandelions are more than just a weed. They can detoxify your body, relieve constipation, soothe an upset stomach, help reduce water weight and help fight inflammation. Dandelion tea is made from the roots or leaves of the plant and has been used in ancient Native American and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
- 1 to 2 tbs dried dandelion leaves
- 1 cup water
- Boil water.
- Pour boiling water over dried dandelion leaves.
Dandelion can produce laxative effects, so sip your tea at home if you haven’t had it before. In addition to easing inflammation and digestive problems, dandelions help detox the body. So, you may find that your skin becomes brighter and clearer.
Stop chronic inflammation in its tracks
Inflammation is at the root of most chronic conditions. Thankfully, in most cases, it can be treated with a little diet and lifestyle adjustment. In order to combat chronic inflammation for good, feel free to indulge in an anti-inflammatory tea as a preventative, or when you’re feeling a little achy. Enjoy!