Pain is probably the most common cause that degrades the quality of life of many people every day. Pain, however, is the symptom or the result of a pathological condition, that usually has to do with inflammation. But what exactly is inflammation, how can we avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and how can we naturally cope with the pain?
It is defined as the local tissue reaction to some damage, resulting in several biochemical reactions and production of inflammatory substances. The physiological role of inflammation is to remove of the pathogen and/or to repair the tissue damage.
Although the most frequent treatment in order to reduce pain is taking anti-inflammatory drugs, as the use of these drugs poses various risks to the health, we should avoid them and turn to the power of nature in order to deal with pain.
Herbs and substances with anti-inflammatory action
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fat that can be found in both plant foods and fish. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and doxaenoic acid (DHA) are types of omega 3 fats that have been found to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, as they are metabolized to eicosanoids. Many studies have shown that taking omega 3 fat reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis.
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that can break down proteins. It is naturally found in pineapple and has been found to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect as it inhibits certain inflammatory-promoting substances (prostaglandins) while increasing the concentration and production of anti-inflammatory compounds. In addition, it has been found to have fibrinolytic activity and prevent edema, making it the ideal anti-inflammatory agent in cases of arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. It exhibits synergistic action with curcumin.
The main active compounds of turmeric are curcuminoids. Traditionally it has been used as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance, as it seems to reduce the activity of inflammatory agents (NF-κB) and to enhance the antioxidant capacity of cells. Contributes to pain relief of osteopathies or musculoskeletal conditions.
Boswellia comes from the Boswellia serrata tree and is an anti-inflammatory compound used to reduce inflammation in joints. The main active compound of is boswellic acid, which is thought to reduce the synthesis of leukotrienes, substances that are involved in chronic and acute inflammation. The advantage of boswellia, compared to common anti-inflammatory drugs, is that it does not irritate the stomach.
Devil’s claw is a natural substance with strong anti-inflammatory action. It contains a set of pain-relieving compounds, such as alkaloids, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol, and mainly harpadosides. It works as an excellent painkiller in rheumatic and musculoskeletal pains.
Cat’s claw is a herb that grows in the Amazon by the Uncaria Tomentosa plant. It is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, thanks to its composition in polyphenols, phytosterols, glycosides, triterpenes and proanthocyanidins. It has immunomodulatory properties and contributes to the reduction and management of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while also helps in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tracy such as gastritis, colitis and Crohn’s disease.