A guide to inflammation

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inflammation

Inflammation is part of the immune response of the body. It is a defense mechanism and an effort of the body to remove pathogenic microorganisms and harmful stimuli, initiating the healing process.

 

What is the role of inflammation in the body?

The first reaction when a part of the body is inflamed and swollen is to try to reduce inflammation either by applying local creams or by taking some oral medication. The symptoms of inflammation are indeed unpleasant and uncomfortable, however, it is important to remember that inflammation is an essential part of the healing process. Infections, injuries, and any damage to body tissues could not be healed without an inflammatory reaction.

 

Types of inflammation

Inflammation is categorized as acute or chronic depending on the intensity and how long the symptoms last. Acute inflammation starts quickly and becomes severe in a short time. Symptoms of acute inflammation usually last for a few days but may remain for several weeks, in some cases. Chronic inflammation may exist for several months, even years. It may result from the inability of the body to eliminate the agent that caused acute inflammation, in first place, due to an autoimmune reaction or chronic exposure to an irritant/pathogen. If chronic inflammation remains more than necessary, it may cause more harm than good (cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, etc.).

 

Symptoms of inflammation

Symptoms of inflammation vary depending on whether the reaction is acute or chronic. Symptoms of acute inflammation are:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Immobility
  • Edema
  • Increased body temperature

These symptoms of acute inflammation only apply to skin inflammation. If inflammation occurs deeper inside the body, only some of the signs may be noticeable. The symptoms of chronic inflammation are different. These may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Wounds in the mouth
  • Chest and abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Joint pain

 

Treatment of inflammation

Inflammation is part of the healing process. Sometimes, reducing inflammation is helpful, though not always necessary. Most of the time, anti-inflammatory drugs are used. However, it has been shown that their systematic use poses health risks.

 

Herbs for inflammation

Devil’s claw

It is a herb from Africa. It has strong anti-inflammatory action due to its composition in Harpagoside, alkaloids, flavonoids and beta-sitosterol.

Turmeric

The main active compounds of turmeric are curcuminoids. Curcumin is a compound that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. It is used in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Bromelain

A proteolytic enzyme, which can break down proteins and have fibrinolytic activity, preventing swelling. It is found in pineapple and has an anti-inflammatory effect due to the inhibition of the action of prostaglandins, inflammatory-promoting agents.

Boswellia

It comes from the Boswellia serrata tree and the main active compound of the plant is boswellic acid, which reduces the synthesis of leukotrienes, substances that are involved in chronic and acute inflammation.

Cat’s Claw

A herb known for its adjuvant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, 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.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acids with most known the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and the doxaenoic acid (DHA). They have strong anti-inflammatory action, as they are metabolized into eicosanoids, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis.

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