7 Natural Supplements to Reduce Occasional Inflammation

Published on February 06, 2023

By Lisa Stockwell

Lisa Stockwell

Lisa Stockwell has worked as a copywriter, writer, author, and editor for 35 years, specializing in the field of healthcare since 2009. She recognized the need for reliable health information while supporting friends through unique health challenges and refocused her career to bring clarity and compassion to healthcare communications. Lisa is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and a lifelong Northern Californian.

Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to injury, infection, and certain foods and helps with the healing process. When inflammation occurs, immune system cells in your body release substances known as inflammatory mediators that allow more blood (or mucus, in the case of nasal congestion) to circulate through the affected area. Inflammation usually occurs for a short time and then resolves on its own. 

Several herbal supplements have been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation naturally and help you avoid NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that can create additional health problems including upset stomach, ulcers, kidney injury, and chronic pain.*

In this article, we review seven natural supplements with potential anti-inflammatory properties and provide information on why, when, and how to take them for best results.*

7 Anti-Inflammatory Supplements for Better Health

1) Curcumin (from Turmeric) 

Curcumin is the major active compound in Turmeric, a rhizome in the ginger family that is a popular spice for cooking. It is a polyphenol that has been extensively studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are a category of plant compounds thought to help manage oxidation and inflammation.* 

Research indicates that Curcumin may be beneficial in the treatment of occasional pain and inflammation as well as in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases, including IBD, arthritis, psoriasis, depression, and atherosclerosis.REF#552 REF#553 It regulates signaling pathways and prohibits the production of inflammatory mediators. 

While Curcumin is proven to have significant anti-inflammatory properties, it is limited by its lack of bioavailability — its ability to be absorbed by the body and reach its target area. It is also just one of hundreds of potentially beneficial plant phytochemicals and nutrients in Turmeric.

Therefore, consider taking a Turmeric supplement that includes Curcumin, which may give you a broader spectrum of benefits.*

Curcumin and Turmeric supplements come in capsule, powder, and gummy form. To help increase the bioavailability of Curcumin, look for a supplement that includes Black Pepper Extract (also known as piperine) and follow dosage directions on the label. 

The maximum safe dosage for Curcumin on its own is 12g a day.REF#552

2) Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw, a tropical vine with bright yellow flowers and claw-like thorns, was used by native tribes in the Amazon for over a thousand years before it was discovered by the European scientific community in the 1970s. 

Today, the bark of Cat’s Claw is acknowledged for its potential ability to reduce inflammation, maintain healthy joints, and reduce pain.*

There are two main species of Cat’s Claw: Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. Both have been found to have effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, where half of the participants were given Cat’s Claw and half a placebo, those who received Cat’s Claw found the herb helped them maintain healthy joints and reduced pain.REF#554 

Cat’s Claw Bark may help athletes who suffer minor aches and pains from over-exertion or injury.*

There are no established guidelines for dosages, so you should follow the label on the supplement bottle and/or discuss appropriate dosages with your healthcare provider.

3) Ashwagandha Root

Among the many beneficial compounds in Ashwagandha Root, the lactone, Withaferin A (WA), is a promising anti-inflammatory compound that targets inflammatory pathways.REF#555

Other studies have shown positive results for the use of Ashwagandha in protecting against skin inflammation.REF#556

Ashwagandha supplements come in the form of capsules, powders, gummies, and tinctures. You can take Ashwagandha alone or with other synergistic herbs to support a specific health concern. Different formulas contain different amounts of ashwagandha, so your optimum dosage will be affected by the form you choose. A 250 - 600 mg daily range is a good starting point for most people.

4) Green Tea 

Green tea is the second most popular drink worldwide — the first being water. It’s been enjoyed for at least five thousand years for its health benefits, which include good digestion, a healthy cardiovascular system, healthy metabolism, and increased energy.* 

Green tea reduces the effects of oxidative stress — which can lead to inflammation — with more antioxidant capacity than both vitamin C and vitamin E. 

The major active component in green tea is the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. A 2016 study demonstrated that EGCG suppresses the gene and/or protein expression of inflammatory cytokines and inflammation-related enzymes.REF#557 What this means is that green tea has the potential to reduce the pain and effects of inflammation.

A 2011 study showed that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of green tea could also potentially relieve the symptoms of dry eye and other ocular inflammatory conditions.REF#558

You’ll get the most health benefits from drinking green tea if you brew it fresh, letting it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Or, you can take green tea as an extract in liquid or capsule form, following the directions on the label. 

5) Oregano Oil

Oregano is a popular culinary herb that can help reduce occasional inflammation, support digestion, treat viral infection, and provide immune support.* 

Oregano contains carvacrol, a chemical with proven anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the body caused by disease or allergens and help control the pain and fever associated with colds, coughs, and influenza. It can also reduce redness and swelling on the skin and scalp.REF#559 

Oregano oil is available in liquid extract and capsule form. It is recognized as safe by the FDA, but is much stronger than the herb you use to flavor your food. So when taking oregano oil, start with the smallest possible dose.

6) Bromelain

Another promising anti-inflammatory supplement is a protein-digesting enzyme that comes from the fruit and stem of the pineapple: Bromelain. Bromelain has been studied since the mid-1960s for its ability to provide an effective and safe alternative to analgesics.

While existing studies suggest Bromelain helps reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain from sinusitis and hay fever, results are mixed and more research is required.REF#560

Given significant anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of Bromelain as an anti-inflammatory enzyme, you might want to add pineapple juice or fruit to your morning smoothie or fruit bowl.

7) Ginger

Ginger is one of the planet's most widely consumed aromatic spices. Like its cousin, Turmeric, it is often used to support a healthy inflammatory response.*

Research studies point to ginger’s effectiveness at inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis, the process by which the body makes prostoglandin chemicals in response to injury or certain diseases. Prostoglandins are compounds made of fats that have inflammatory effects, including fever, pain, redness, and swelling. By modulating this process, ginger may reduce occasional inflammation.REF#561

Additional studies have demonstrated ginger’s ability to reduce pain when taken both orally, as a food additive or supplement, and topically, as an aromatic oil in Swedish massage.*REF#562

Ginger can be consumed as a food, syrup, or tea or taken in capsule, extract, or powder form. It has been used safely in clinical trials at dosages from 170 mg to one gram, taken three to four times daily. 

Take Supplements Wisely

While plant-based supplements are natural and generally good for your health, everybody is unique. What is safe and effective for one person may cause an adverse reaction in another. It's always a good idea to consult your healthcare professional before taking any new supplement.

When buying supplements, look for those that guarantee that what is on the label is in the bottle. The best supplements are rigorously tested for pesticides, microbes, and heavy metals to ensure what you buy will benefit your health and not cause you harm.


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