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Herbs can act as natural pain relief

Herbs can act as natural pain relief

Herbs have been found to help tackle the pain of cancer and other diseases.

Next time you cook a meal you may want to chuck in some rosemary and thyme, as the ingredients not only add aroma and taste but they act as natural painkillers, a new study has found. Chemical components diterpenoids act as an analgesic to pain and inflammation, even those that stem from cancer and other serious illnesses. Diterpenoids - which come in two kinds, carnosol and carnosic acid - are found in fungi and select plants, German and Italian scientists have noted. But rosemary and thyme hold some of the highest levels, and therefore may work wonders when included in cooking. Experiments on human cells and mice discovered the chemical components block enzymes that cause inflammation and pain in the body, and Dr Giuseppe Bifulco of Italy's Salerno University is keen to promote herbs as a means of pain relief.

"Two key enzymes of inflammation, are primary targets of carnosol and carnosic acid which are major bioactive ingredients of herbs that are used as spices - namely sage and rosemary," he said of the findings, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. "Our study provides comprehensive insights into their anti-inflammatory mechanism."

These results follow on from a discovery in March (16) that rosemary was a common ingredient used in an Italian village, where a majority of residents lived to be over 100.

But the herbs aren't the only natural means of pain relief, and if you want to go further down the scented route you can try turmeric and cloves too.

Or, a good soak in a hot bath and acupuncture are good options for those whose palettes aren't acquainted to such fragrant flavours.

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