Inflammation is an auto-response mechanism of our immunity system to defend against pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Wounds and infections can never heal without tissue inflammation. However, chronic inflammation can often lead to a host of other diseases such as periodontitis, hay fever, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and even gallbladder carcinoma. In conventional medical science, inflammation is classified as acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the response of the immunity system against harmful pathogens or stimuli. It is caused by increased movement of neutrophils, basophils, and mononuclear cells (monocytes, macrophages) from the blood to the injured tissues. This category of inflammatory response involves the local vascular system, immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Chronicinflammation, also known as prolonged inflammation occurs due to the destruction of the mononuclear cells (macrophages, monocytes, lymphocytes, plasma cells), and fibroblast tissues. There are certain herbs than can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with inflammatory disorders.
What herbs are recommended for Joint Muscle Inflammation?
Boswellia (Boswellia sacra) is also known as Indian frankincense. Boswellia is a superb remedy for muscle and joint inflammation. It is enriched with the anti-inflammatory chemicals known as boswellic acids. These potent organic compounds prevent the formation of inflammation-causing enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). In contrast to several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), Boswellia does not cause abdomen ulcers in animals. It improves flexibility and reduces pain in arthritic joints. The average dose of Boswellia extract for treating inflammation is 300 mg one to three times daily. Some individuals may encounter certain side-effects like nausea, itching and diarrhea.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a yellow colored spice used in various Indian dishes. Turmeric has been proved to be a powerful herbal treatment for muscle and joint inflammation. Turmeric is rich in curcumin. This active compound has blood-thinning and inflammation-reducing property. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric is also an effective remedy for treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a common reason of joint and muscle inflammation. However, turmeric might increase the possibility of bleeding when taken with other blood thinning medications like Coumadin (warfarin). The amount of turmeric powder or extract to treat muscle and joint inflammation should be restricted to 400 to 600 mg 3 times a day. It can be added to foods, herbal teas or taken in supplement form for effective healing.
Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum), a zesty spice used in several South yank and Cajun dishes, can be an efficient remedy for joint inflammation. Cayenne Pepper is naturally enriched with potent compound called capsaicin. The active ingredient is extracted and used in several topical pain relief ointments. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, cayenne inhibits an inflammatory chemical called substance P (a type of neuropeptide) and provides instant relief from inflammatory pain and stiffness in arthritic patients. To make a topical ointment with cayenne, add three teaspoons of ground cayenne powder to one-third cup of cocoa butter, blend well and apply to painful joints for quick relief. Side effects of topical cayenne can be irritation, redness and itching. Cayenne can also be added to foods for its pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effects.
Which herbs are effective in treating Gastrointestinal Tract Inflammation?
Marshmallow, scientifically known as Althaea officinalis, belongs to the family Malvaceae. Its medicinal property reflects from the name of its genus, which hails from the Greek word "althainein" that means "to heal". The marshmallow plant is totally different from the puffed white candy used in hot chocolate, confectionaries and baked goods. Marshmallow grows in different parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. The stems and leaves are soft & velvety, and the flowers are reddish-white. The leaves and flowers are added to salads and the roots are used to make drugs. Marshmallow has a long history of medical use in inflammatory conditions. It is used to treat inflammation of the respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal tract. Marshmallow root contains saccharose, pectin, mucilage, starch, polysaccharides, coumarins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. The mucilage coats the mucous membranes of the gastro-intestinal tract and reduces irritation. Marshmallow is available in the form of decoction, liquid extract, tincture and capsule.
Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is an astringent and drying herb. The roots and aerial parts are used medicinally to treat overly-relaxed tissues in the gastrointestinal tract and veins. It is used to treat ulcers, abdomen inflammation, hematuria (blood in the urine) and diarrhea. Geranium is particularly helpful in ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding, as seen in ulcerative colitis patients. Geranium contains gum, tannic acid, pectin, gallic acid, resin, and starch. The tannin content is responsible for alleviating bleeding. One can safely consume Geranium tea, liquid extract, or capsules.
How does the herb Comfrey combat Injury Related Inflammation?
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a perennial herb belonging to the family Boraginaceae. Allantoin (an anti-oxidant compound), which exists in the roots and leaves of the herb, has anti-inflammatory properties. Comfrey is known to be toxic and should never be consumed orally. The leaf extracts are typically used in creams, ointments and different topical preparations. Due to its toxic nature, one should never apply comfrey on cracked skin or rashes. Never use Comfrey based topical creams for more than ten days in a row. Comfrey products should never be used for over 4 to 6 weeks in a year.
Does the herb Yucca help with Arthritic Inflammation?
Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) is an ornamental plant with sharp pointed leaves and striking stalk bearing white flowers. This genus belongs to the agave family, a native to the sandy areas of the southwestern United States. Several studies have found that Yucca bark is rich in phenolic antioxidants (yuccaols) and steroidal saponin. These active constituents inhibit formation of inflammation causing COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes and reduce pain, swelling and stiffness associated with chronic conditions such as gout, bursitis, rheumatism, and arthritis. In Kaposi's Sarcoma patients, yuccasols prevent formation of the platelet-activating factor. Antioxidant polyphenols and phenols in yucca herb have free radical-scavenging benefits. Yucca root is sliced and added to stews and soups or drank as tea.
To read about herbs that can help with treating other conditions, click below