Inflammation & Natural solutions: Focus on Curcumin
Inflammation is usually caused as a result of injury to certain regions of the body. When the body begins to experience pain, redness, heat, loss of motion or swelling, the area affected is said to be inflamed. It is characterized as a normal reaction to injury or irritation.
Fluid may accumulate in specific parts of the body causing swelling, compression of nerves, thus creating excruciating pain. Inflammation is the body’s protective response to pain.
There are two types of inflamed conditions; acute and chronic. Acute Inflammation occurs when the body is alarmed by harmful stimuli (injury or illness). Whilst chronic inflammation becomes progressively worse over a period of time. The tissue at the site of the inflammation is in the process of being destroyed while trying to heal at the same time.
Research has suggested, a Vitamin D deficiency in the body may be attributed to the cause of Inflammation. However, there are several other factors which may be viewed as triggers for inflamed conditions.
The following are examples:
- Food Allergies: Gluten and casein promote inflammation in the gut. Foods such as corn, soy, safflower oil, sunflower oil, strawberries, egg, cheese, peanuts, and sugar may be responsible for instigating inflammation within the digestive system.
- Toxic Chemicals/Fumes are absorbed into the nose membranes, bloodstream via the skin causing painful conditions within the body.
- Polluted Water
- Pleurisy: Inflammation of pleura
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (Joint Pains)
- Autoimmune Diseases (Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus)
- Digestive Issues (support proper digestion with probiotics)
- Stress (emotional/physical)
- Improper Posture
- Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity may cause inflammation in swollen areas
- Hormonal Imbalance: Women/Menopause/Osteoporosis
- Cigarette Smoking
- Organ Donation
- Plastics/Latex allergy
- Inadequate nutrition: Foods high in sugar, processed or fatty foods aggravate inflamed conditions.
How is Inflammation prevented?
Inflammation is prevented by consuming meals in a relaxed manner, maintaining proper sleep patterns, hydrating the body frequently, eliminating processed/junk food and working in an ergonomically sound environment.
Lifestyle changes which may inhibit Inflammation:
- Exercise regularly
- Engage in yoga, meditation, swimming or Chi Lel Qi Gong for stress relief
- Consume heart healthy foods (Omega-3’s)
- Therapeutic Massages with olive oil/essential oils
- Hot/Cold Compresses
Natural Solutions for treating Inflammation
There are several conventional therapies which may alleviate the symptoms and severity of chronic Inflammation. Alternative therapies seem to provide the least amount of side effects and may yield long term benefits.
A few of the natural solutions available today may either be found at your local health food store or apothecary.
Curcumin Therapy is an ingredient which is found in East Indian curry spice. It is an effective treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It has anti-cancer properties and reduces inflammation. Curcumin Therapy helps to minimize joint swelling, stiffness and promotes flexibility.
Curcumin prevents pain flare-ups and works as a NSAID (pain reliever) minus the adverse side effects. It may be taken in the form of capsules, intravenously or placed in warm milk (1 tablespoon) for consumption. Curcumin has the potential to reverse chronic inflammatory symptoms, thus providing relief from neurodegenerative diseases. There are other natural remedies which may prove to be effective treatments for Inflammation.
The following herbs are noteworthy in regard to healing inflamed conditions:
Evening Primrose Oil:
Treats ailments associated with aging. Contains pain relieving compound phenylalanine. Eases joint pain and swelling. Prevents diabetes nerve damage and decreases inflammation associated with nerve disorders.
Substitute for NSAIDs or aspirin. Relieves pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Inhibits body’s production of substances which create chronic pain and inflammation.
Diminishes stiffness, loss of muscular coordination. Treats Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Inflammation in reference to organ donation. A remedy for poor circulation.
Treatment for Arthritis, Bursitis, Joint Pains, Gout, Sciatica, Neuralgia.
Substitute for NSAIDs. Reduces swelling without the damaging side effects of NSAIDs. It contains the potent compound AKBA (3-0-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid). Boswellia significantly decreases knee pain and aching joints.
Anti-irritation, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Active compounds phenolic glycosides and flavone glycosides. Contains tannins for blood circulation. Used to treat inflammatory diseases, arthritis pain, heart attacks, and strokes.
Saint John’s Wort:
Alleviates chronic inflammation, contains quercetin, hypericin, hyperforin, and myricetin. It’s effective in treating chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon and lungs. May be used as an alternative to anti-inflammatory steroids.
Anti-inflammatory. Treatment for arthritis, rheumatism, indigestion, ulcer, gastritis, esophagitis, hepatitis, and muscle pains. Studies have proven consuming raw ginger reduces effects of osteoporosis. Ginger contains antioxidative properties which strengthen the body’s immune system.
Minimizes symptoms of rheumatism. In tea form, it alleviates autoimmune conditions, arthritis, and back pain. Contains 19 flavonoids, essential oils, and halogenic alkaloids. An effective remedy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). It also prevents gastric ulcer damage.
A proper diet with foods rich in Omega 3’s or Omega 6 is usually beneficial to people suffering with acute or chronic inflammation.
Other food staples which prevent and minimize flare-ups are as follows:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Tuna Fish
- Cod Fish
- Sweet Yams
- Swiss Chard
- Irish Moss
Living a healthy lifestyle with chronic or acute inflammation is possible. Special attention has to be paid with regard to stress management, environmental issues as well diet and exercise. Exercising muscles and joints greatly improve deficient circulation which is a major trigger for inflammatory episodes. Relaxation is a crucial remedy for pain sufferers, also, because tension built up in the body over a period of time can cause all sorts of health problems including inflammation of muscles and joints.
It is a good practice to include supplements such as a Multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, Quercetin and Magnolia Officinalis when trying to maintain an anti-inflammation regiment. Quercetin may be found in apples, buckwheat tea, and onions. It is used to treat inflammation. Quercetin increases endurance and improves physical performance.
Magnolia Officinalis or Magnolia Bark contains “honokiol” which is an anti-stress formula. It reduces swelling and inflammation associated with edema. It also prevents inflammation by inhibiting the secretion of Interleukin 8 (chemokine produced by macrophages and other cell types).
A Multivitamin and Vitamin C helps the body to handle stress properly. A good multivitamin also tones and strengthens the body’s immune system and constitution.
When plagued with bouts of inflammation, positive results may only be achieved through consistency of therapies recommended. Good nutritional habits, regularity when taking supplements or herbs; along with adequate rest and relaxation helps the body to heal and rejuvenate naturally.
(References: www.organicfacts.net – www.curcumin-tumeric.net – www.jpet.aspetjournals.org – Ancient Herb Suppression of Inflammation Report by Vicki Bowers, www.lifeextensionmagazine.com)