Sip on These 7 Types of Tea to Help Soothe Inflammation

Time to get the kettle going.

Inflammation is a natural and powerful tool that our bodies need in order to fight off disease, heal injuries, and keep infections at bay. But when inflammation becomes chronic, it goes from being beneficial to problematic.

Why Inflammation Can Be a Problem

"Many chronic diseases have been linked to inflammation such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, and arthritis," explains Ale Zozos, M.S., RDN. Constantly fighting low-grade inflammation is also tough on the body and can lead to a weakened immune system over time.

Supporting your body in its inflammatory response is a multi-pronged approach that includes adequate sleep, healthy eating habits, and a few beneficial lifestyle changes. What we eat and drink—from green tea to salmon to Swiss chard—can be powerful tools in our inflammation-fighting arsenal—especially those proven to possess key nutrients to combat chronic inflammation.

How Tea Can Help

An easy way to help soothe inflammation? Sip on a simple cup of tea. We've long-known that drinking tea has a host of health benefits, and research shows that the polyphenols in tea, as well as some of the commonly used herbs and spices found in a variety of tea blends, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. "While the levels of anti-inflammatory properties will vary from tea to tea, it's thought that most teas have over eight times the antioxidant power of fruits and vegetables," says Brynne McDowell, R.D. "Studies conducted indicate that people that routinely drink green tea or black tea, for example, have been shown to have decreased levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in the body."

Tea as One Part of the Solution

While drinking tea can help support the body's anti-inflammatory response, McDowell reminds us that it's always important to consider the full picture. "In order to really decrease chronic inflammation, it's important to focus on eating an overall diet full of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts rather than focusing on a single "superfood" ingredient." (Part of a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet also includes easing up on foods that cause inflammation, too—think of it as addition by subtraction!)

Anti-Inflammatory Teas to Brew

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Green Tea

"Green tea is the topic of many research studies and contains compounds that are thought to suppress inflammation and block pro-inflammatory pathways in the body," McDowell says. "This is thought to help protect the heart from damage and prevent cardiovascular disease." If you like green tea, you may be interested in trying matcha, the potent powdered version of green tea that's especially high in antioxidants and beneficial compounds called EGCG, which are thought to have positive effects on metabolism, glucose control, and cardiovascular risk factors.

McDowell also notes that green tea has the ability to interact with some medications, so be sure to talk with your doctor before adding it to your wellness routine.

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Turmeric Tea

You may know turmeric best for its bright orange color, but the spice is powerful beyond just its hue. McDowell explains that turmeric contains curcumin, which helps combat substances in the body that can increase inflammation. "Since turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to help fight free radicals that can cause pain and inflammation," adds Jessica Ederer, J.D., CPT, FNS, RYT and head of content and wellness education for Pique Tea. "In one clinical trial, 66 out of 70 people with knee osteoarthritis noticed a 50 percent improvement in arthritic pain when given curcumin supplements," she adds. "They also dealt with fewer side effects compared to their alternative medicines."

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Ginger Tea

"The ginger root is an incredibly healthy food, which is why it's found in everything from Chinese and Indian spices to candy, self-care products, and ginger tea," explains Ederer. According to research, ginger (due to the active ingredient gingerols) has anti-inflammatory properties that can help the body respond to chronic inflammation that leads to pain, including everything from knee pain to post-exercise muscle soreness to even menstrual discomfort.

You can buy ginger tea or add it to any tea blend (or on its own). "A simple way to infuse ginger is to brew about an inch of freshly peeled ginger root along with your loose leaf tea, or add grated ginger to your infuser," Ederer recommends.

RELATED: This Type of Tea Lowers Stress, Fights Inflammation, and Keeps Your Immune System Intact

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Holy Basil Tea (or Tulsi Tea)

Holy basil is the slightly lesser known relative of sweet basil, which you're likely familiar with for its role in your caprese salad or favorite pesto recipe. Holy basil, also known as tulsi, has a stronger, more peppery taste, and has been used in traditional medicine practices such as Ayurveda for its ability to help the body adapt to stressors. Science now confirms the ability of holy basil, easily consumed in tea form, to aid health and wellness in many ways, including supporting the body's anti-inflammatory response to both acute (short-term inflammation, like redness around an injury) and chronic (long-term inflammation, like arthritis) inflammation. Holy basil tea is caffeine-free on its own, but is usually combined with black, white, or green tea to soften its taste.

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Rosehip Tea

If you're not familiar, rosehips are the round portion of the rose flower, just below the petals, which contain the seeds of the rose plant. Rosehip tea is high in antioxidants, including polyphenols and galactolipids, which have been found to have anti-inflammatory activities, especially associated with inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Tea made from this herbal wonder has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis and other disease-related inflammation.

RELATED: Meet Guayusa, an Anti-Inflammatory Tea Guaranteed to Boost Your Energy Levels

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Chamomile Tea

If you grew up drinking chamomile tea when you were under the weather, there's a good reason. This floral tea has been shown to prevent inflammation and may even be helpful in cancer treatments. It's a great addition to your evening routine for its numerous health benefits, which may include aiding in insomnia and helping ease digestive woes. Try it with a drop of honey and lemon for a soothing, decaf sip.

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Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon is known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects—making it an excellent addition to your favorite type of tea or brewed on its own as cinnamon tea. "One of the most-lauded benefits of cinnamon is its ability to help lower blood sugar over time by triggering the release of insulin," Ederer says.

RELATED: 6 Sweet Health Benefits of Cinnamon

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