8 Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Herbs

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

People turn to anti-inflammatory herbs for countless reasons, due to their accessibility, efficacy, and natural quality. Inflammation is one of the most common and widespread issues in the body and is quite simply, the body’s response to an immune reaction.

Inflammation of one kind or another has been linked to everything from arthritis, gout, and irritable bowel syndrome to an increased risk of cancer. Chronic inflammation can significantly increase oxidative stress, which may also increase the risk of various chronic diseases.

While there are many anti-inflammatory drugs and home remedies that can treat an inflammatory situation, many people choose anti-inflammatory herbs instead. These herbs can be used in various ways, and extensive anecdotal evidence has taught us what specific benefits these herbs can provide.

A bunch of fresh sage leaves on a mat

Sage packs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

List of Anti-inflammatory Herbs

The best anti-inflammatory herbs are basil, fennel seeds, garlic, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cloves, sage, and oregano.


Benefits – Known as one of the strongest anti-inflammatory herbs you can find, turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin, which can help reduce inflammation on the skin, such as the irritation caused by psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, or acne. Curcumin is also linked to soothing gastrointestinal distress and lowering acidity levels in the gut, which can eliminate inflammation. [1]

How to Use – Turmeric powder is a popular spice in many different cuisines, but for a more concentrated dose of this herb’s benefits, you can brew a strong turmeric tea from this spice. Furthermore, some people prepare a turmeric paste and topically apply it on the site of joint pain or inflammation.


Benefits – In terms of anti-inflammatory herbs, ginger is one of the most effective herbs. It can soothe inflammation of the stomach lining, and also mitigate the allergic response of the body. Regular consumption of ginger has also been connected with improved symptoms of osteoarthritis. [2]

How to Use – If you are suffering from stomach upset, then an easy brew of ginger tea can help calm that discomfort. Ginger added to your food in raw form can help to soothe stiffness and pain throughout the body. Creating a ginger poultice is also great for acute pain and inflammation from gout or an injury.


Benefits – The essential oils of cloves have been connected to anti-inflammatory activity within the body, and traditional medicine often relies on cloves to topically and internally treat chronic pain and inflammation. Cloves are rich in eugenol, which functions as an antioxidant to further reduce inflammation in tissues and organ systems. [3]

How to Use – Cloves can be used in cooking in whole or powdered form, and this is the most common application. However, clove is also used in topical forms, particularly for the gums and joints. Clove oil is also very popular and is extremely potent, so only a small amount is needed for the effects to be felt.


Benefits – Sage contains the same active ingredient as rosemary, rosmarinic acid, which has proven benefits for arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other common inflammatory conditions, including those that affect the skin. Regular use of sage has also been linked to lower levels of oxidative stress, which is often caused by inflammation. [4]

How to Use – Sage can be brewed into a strong, earthy tea for inflammation of the respiratory system and the stomach while adding fresh sage to your meals and culinary attempts can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, and lower blood pressure, which can reduce headaches.


Benefits – One of the active ingredients in rosemary, rosmarinic acid, has been widely researched in connection with arthritis symptoms. This compound has also been shown to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation in the gut, which can help to settle the stomach and prevent vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease, another inflammatory autoimmune disease, can also be mitigated by the use of rosemary. [5]

How to Use – The most common use of this herb for inflammatory conditions is in the form of rosemary essential oil, but it can also be added to a variety of dishes. Rosemary leaves can also be made into topical poultices for inflammation.


Benefits – Garlic is rich in sulfuric compounds, as well as various antioxidants, including the active ingredient – allicin. This substance is able to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system and is also tied to a reduction in oxidative stress throughout the body. Selenium levels are also quite high in garlic, which is linked to soothing arthritis symptoms and easing the pain of inflammatory joint disease. [6]

How to Use – Garlic powder or raw garlic can be added to countless different meals. Garlic extract is also a popular supplement for people to consume on a daily basis. Garlic poultices are also effective topical remedies for inflamed joints and pain.

Black Pepper

Benefits – Thanks to the active ingredient piperine, black pepper is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs. Black pepper has been shown in research to specifically stop the early inflammatory response of the body to acute injuries and immunity. This can prevent conditions like headaches and flare-ups of gout, as well as symptoms of sinus and gastrointestinal infections. [7]

How to Use – You can add black pepper to hundreds of dishes, or you can soak fresh peppercorns in water overnight and then drink the water in the morning.

Fennel Seeds

Benefits – Fennel seeds have long been known to reduce symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation, particularly following intense physical activity. In terms of your stomach, fennel is often used as a digestive, as it can soothe inflammation and regulate acidity levels in the gut, preventing unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects. [8]

How to Use – Fennel seeds can be added to certain dishes in their whole form, but these seeds can also be ground up and used for other poultices or infusions. Fennel tea is also quite easy to brew and can soothe inflammation in the respiratory system, sinus cavities, and gut.

What Causes Inflammation

Inflammation can occur in any part of the body, and for dozens of different reasons, from infections to physical damage. The challenge with inflammation is that it is the body’s attempt to protect itself from pathogens, irritants, pollutants, and other foreign substances in the system.

When an immune response is triggered in the body, the immune system sends a stream of white blood cells to the affected area. Chemicals are released by the white blood vessels, including cytokines and histamines, which can trigger an increase in blood flow to the area.

When more blood flows into those areas, it can cause redness, swelling, and warmth in the affected areas. An overactive immune response can result in allergic reactions, and in extreme situations, autoimmune diseases. [9]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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