Inflammation is the pain, swelling, redness or warmth that occurs as the immune system responds to injury or illness. It may be caused by a number of conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or arthritis as well as external injuries like burns or insect bites.
While it can serve as a beneficial healing mechanism, inflammation can also cause damage when it is chronic or severe. There are a variety of home remedies for inflammation, many of which are comparable to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in cost and effectiveness.
A zesty spice known for its bright yellow color, turmeric is an excellent home remedy for inflammation. It contains curcumin–a substance with anti-inflammatory effects similar to those of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric can be used to reduce inflammation in conditions such as osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and uveitis–a painful inflammation of the eye.
Zingiber officianale–better known as ginger–is a popular culinary herb with potent inflammation-fighting properties. It may be used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions and, unlike many NSAIDs, is generally well-tolerated in people with gastrointestinal disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger root inhibits the genes responsible for triggering the inflammatory response, including cytokines, COX-2 enzymes and chemokines.
The application of heat and cold to external body surfaces is an effective way to reduce inflammation and pain. Sprains, strains and conditions like arthritis often respond well to these types of therapy. According to Merck.com, heat improves flexibility and reduces muscle tension, while cold helps numb pain and reduce acute inflammation in conditions involving the muscles and joints.