20 Top Anti-Inflammatory Herbs To Help Alleviate Pain

Inflammation is a huge topic these days as recent research indicates that there is no longer any doubt that inflammation produces a cascade of events responsible for most chronic diseases including cancer.

Often the medical docs jump to a drug treatment and there are times that this is what is needed. There are also MANY instances when alternatives are appropriate, however, in the world of herbs and herbalism some are as close as your pantry!

Many herbs can work on inflammation in a multi–faceted holistic and balanced way without the side effects of drugs.

One thing that you’ll find helpful in fighting inflammation is the use of anti-inflammatory herbs. You’d think that herbs are merely cooking add on's that can spice up and bring out the flavor in dishes. That’s not all. Some can also work to help resolve health problems like inflammation and infection.

Below, you’ll find the top 20 herbs that have become popular for this purpose.


A popular spice used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, turmeric contains a potent substance called curcumin, which is effective in curbing swelling and alleviating symptoms common in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Warning: Turmeric should not be used by pregnant women and people who have gallstones or problems with their bile duct without first consulting their medical practitioner. Very rarely, long-term use of turmeric can cause stomach upset or heartburn.

# 2 – GINGER

Another widely used herb in Asia known for its strong flavor and aroma, ginger is used in a myriad of dishes, and also in tea. It has long been used in India for its anti-inflammatory qualities of relieving pain and inflammation. It’s also a remedy for a cold, flu, headaches, upset stomach and menstrual cramps.

Warning: Side effects from using this herb are rarely reported but in high dosages, ginger can cause diarrhea, irritate the mouth, and trigger a mild heartburn.


When people hear about licorice, the first thing on their minds is candy. This herb, which can also be used for adding flavor to any food and drinks like meat, vegetables, pastries, and tea, is another effective fighter against inflammation having a high amount of flavonoids. It’s not only anti-inflammatory, it’s also anti-depressant, anti-fungal, and anti-ulcer. It can also be used to treat viral infections, liver ailments, asthma, arthritis, and dental problems.

Warning: It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in large amounts for more than 4 weeks. Consuming licorice daily for several weeks or longer can cause severe side effects including high blood pressure, low potassium levels, weakness, paralysis, difficulty in breathing, palpitation, certain cardiovascular problems and occasionally brain damage in otherwise healthy people.

# 4 – BASIL

Basil is a fragrant herb that’s commonly sprinkled on salads or added to pasta sauces. The rich aroma and flavor aren’t the only things to love about this herb. It’s been found that basil can inhibit the same enzyme blocked by other anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Warning: Basil is usually safe when consumed in foods. But an overdose can pose some risks, as it contains estragole, a chemical said to increase the risk of liver cancer.


Boswellia, an herb that comes from the boswellia tree, is a common remedy for joint pain in Ayurvedic medicine.

Warning: Rare side effects of taking this herb include stomach pain, diarrhea, skin rash, stomach discomfort and acid reflux.


Cultivated in different parts of the world, rosemary has become a household name when it comes to perfecting culinary dishes. Apart from being a flavor enhancer, it also has powerful tonic and diaphoretic effects. And because of having a high content of flavonoids, it’s also efficient as an anti-inflammatory.

Warning: Too much of this herb can interfere with the absorption of iron. Although it doesn’t directly cause iron-deficiency anemia, it can worsen pre-existing conditions. This herb is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.

# 7 – GARLIC

A kitchen staple that your trip to the supermarket won’t be complete without, garlic is yet another potent anti-inflammatory herb that can treat various ailments including sinus infection, common cold, and hypertension, among others. Garlic works in a way similar to penicillin. It fights inflammation by altering the inflammation-causing cytokines.

Warning: Although it’s generally safe, garlic can possibly cause heartburn, gas, nausea, bad breath, and diarrhea.


Cayenne packs a whopping punch with its spicy flavor. This herb, which is rich in calcium, potassium, B complex and vitamin C, can aid in the treatment of various inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. The active ingredient in cayenne is called capsaicin. It decreases inflammation by inhibiting Substance P, a neuropeptide that’s involved in the body’s inflammatory response.

Warning: As it may interfere with certain medications, it’s a must to consult your doctor first before using any cayenne supplement.