Food: The Most Common Spices & Herbs for Inflammation

Food: The Most Common Spices & Herbs for Inflammation

Living with inflammation conditions can be a challenge for the millions of Americans who suffer from various conditions. From high blood pressure to arthritis to psoriasis and beyond, everyone is looking for a cure or treatment that will help them live as well as they can. Inflammation Guide wanted to address one simple yet complicated issue — which herbs and spices are the best and readily available to help with inflammation.

Before thinking that herbs and spices are inside the countless brands of supplements, it is important to understand that herbs and spices inside supplements may have very specific uses or they may be used to treat multiple inflammation conditions.

Any grocery store or drug store is going to have at least one aisle and area of the store that targets health and wellness. This may be pills, liquids or powders. It might be topical creams. It may also be products to use as a drink or a meal. If you start digging through all of the over-the-counter and off-the-shelf products that are used to target inflammation you will notice that there are going to be some common herbs or spices that are used.

One dark side about these products is that a person can literally spend as much as they want depending upon how many different anti-inflammation products they buy. There are cheap pills with no words at all about the quality of their products, and the prices can go up toward $100 per box. People taking multiple forms of supplements can easily spend $200 or more per month. Does insurance cover that cost? Is that tax deductible? It may depend on how creative your tax structure is and how the purchases are made, but at least 99% of these products are purchased using after-tax dollars.

What if these products can all be purchased in high quality for reasonable prices and simply be added into your daily food intake? This is certainly not meant to be a replacement plan for every supplement on the market.

It is important to know what herbs and supplements are the most common in the products that target the various forms of inflammation. If you take 2 or 3 supplements, it is a good bet that many of the supplements will have identical ingredients.

Inflammation Guide has created an alphabetical list of the most common herbs and spices that are inside many of the products targeting inflammation. Before you think you know about all of these, imagine if you can purchase organic and natural herbs and supplements for a fraction of the cost of countless pills.

Black Pepper

If you are a cook of any level, black pepper is among the most commonly used ingredients in any meal along with salt and sugar. Not all pepper is created equal in terms of quality and some can bring in a sharper spice than others, but much of that potency may depend upon how the pepper is stored and how old it is. There is a frequency among turmeric-based supplements to help in the absorption of curcumin from turmeric, but black pepper for its piperine is used in many supplements which target acute inflammation.

With the exception of ice cream and desserts, you are likely to find black pepper in every food recipe out there. And now you know there may be some help in targeting inflammation as well without having to burn your tongue.

Cayenne (Chili Peppers)

The magic behind just how hot and spicy all of those chili peppers are is the capsaicin. Capsaicin is a key ingredient in creams and patches that give pain relief to joints/ muscles. Chilis will vary wildly in just how spicy they are. People who love their spicy food probably have a good idea of whether or not they prefer cayenne peppers or jalapenos versus much hotter peppers like habaneros, ghost peppers or the zany Carolina Reapers. How you take your food is dependent upon your own preference, but you do not have to go all out for the most spicy peppers that are the highest on the Scoville Scale (the higher the hotter) to get a benefit for inflammation. These are frequently used to help in digestion and often target pain with inflammation.

While you might now want to try to make this on your own, there are multiple over-the-counter creams loaded up with capsaicin that target pain and arthritis. These do generally tend to come with a burning sensation when first used, but these creams can help to over-ride at least some of the pain from arthritis, gout or light injuries. If you use a cream rather than as an ingredient in the food, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly if you plan on rubbing your eyes that day. Also understand that too much spice may trigger inflammation of the skin and is likely not going to be a good remedy for those with forms of irritable bowel.

Cherry (Tart)

Tart cherries are used in targeting some forms of inflammation, including blood vessel inflammation and in patients with arthritis and/or gout. Using these more sour cherries, or the juice should be done with frequency rather than whenever patients think they are needed. If you are already having a fresh bout of pain, it’s too late to think that a small handful of tart cherries or cherry juice is going to immediately make your morning any better.

Before thinking that any cherries are good for you, it must be tart charry. The cherries in the jar that go on top of ice cream or with your kid’s Shirley Temple drink absolutely do not count and the sugar count of those will work against you. There are tart cherry pills, dried tart cherries can be used in cooking, and there are multiple brands of tart cherry juice. These should always be unsweetened and say “no sugar added” if you want them to help.


Cinnamon is used in many more foods than those who do not look at labels might imagine. It’s not just about sweet treats and desserts. It also routinely appears in many broad inflammation supplements. It is believed that cinnamon can aid in the inflammation and pain from muscle soreness and that its anti-bacterial traits can assist with issues such as acne, metabolism, lowering blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, slowing cancer growth, and helping rheumatoid arthritis.

While cinnamon is commonly used in inflammation supplements and in many food and dessert items, trying to get your cinnamon fix by eating sweet cinnamon toast every day is not going to work. In fact, the high-calories from the bread and sugar are more likely to work against you and may make your inflammation condition worse over time.


Garlic pills and garlic mixed into supplements target multiple forms of inflammation. The two most common are related to the heart and blood, and the uses in these supplements may be for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even reducing pre-meal blood sugar levels. Research varies wildly on how effective garlic is, but it’s quite common to see garlic as an ingredient in inflammation supplements and in many food recipes. Many people take garlic powder pills in the daily health regimen, but garlic cloves, chopped garlic and garlic powder can be used kick up the flavor of most meals outside of sweets and desserts.


The first thing to reach for when indigestion and upset stomach strikes is ginger tea. It can also ward off colds, flu and sooth sore throats. Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry widely used as an fragrant ancient spice due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a mild taste. They are cooked as an ingredient in many dishes and pickled in vinegar or sherry. Although less healthy, ginger can be found even in candy, sodas, and alcoholic beverages.


The yellow powder turmeric is used for many forms of inflammation, and the curcumin component is used by people with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation of the bowel and so on. Many inflammation supplements and products have turmeric or curcumin listed as the very first or second ingredient on the label. Turmeric is not expensive to buy and it can be bought in bulk, and it is what makes mustard and rice so yellow. Despite the earthy smell, curries and other sauces are actually made to be spicy using other herbs.

Spices can transform a meal by adding flavor and aroma, as well as providing important anti-inflammatory health benefits. At the same time, you might be able to save massive amounts of cash at a time when tens of millions of Americans have seen their income suffer.

About The Author

Kendra Evans

Kendra Evans founded Inflammation Guide in April 2020. Our goal is keeping our readers informed to help them live an empowered and full life while they manage inflammation. Inflammation Guide provides a central location for breaking news and updates on prescriptions, treatments, supplements and alternative wellness solutions to give options to people living with at least one inflammatory condition.

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