What are herbs for inflammation? In the article below, Chris Marano discusses what inflammation is and shares herbs for inflammatory problems
What are herbs for inflammation? First, let’s talk about inflammation. There is acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Inflammation in general refers to the body’s process of reacting and fighting against things that it perceives would be doing it harm, or have already caused it harm, such as injury, infection, or toxins. It’s an attempt by our body to heal itself, and your body does so by increasing blood flow to the area, to the cells and the tissue in question, and bringing different things to help, whether it be antibodies for infection, or platelets for resolving wounds, or proteins for bringing nourishment, or catalysts to get jobs done. This is true for acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is something that is happening situationally and usually is from an injury or an infection that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days, or a few weeks if it’s a serious injury. It usually manifests in the five major inflammatory signs: redness, pain, swelling, heat and sometimes loss of function in that area in question. This can be anything from getting a cut, to bruising yourself, to catching a cold, to spraining an ankle, and so on.
Chronic Inflammation is different. These issues are usually around longer, they manifest in more subtle ways, and they are oftentimes invisible, meaning inside your body so you can’t see any swelling or redness even though there might be redness or swelling inside you. The symptoms may not always be pain, although pain can definitely be there as in organ pain, joint pain, or abdominal pain. Chronic inflammation can also manifest as ulcers, sores, boils, or rashes. Furthermore, it can manifest as achiness, fever or fatigue. These issues can be around for your entire life, or they can range anywhere from weeks to months to years.
“Chronic” usually means that it started oftentimes as an irritant or an acute inflammation that was left unchecked. It was allowed to fester and build, and it may become really problematic down the stretch. It can lead to things like asthma, cancer, autoimmune diseases, major organ dysfunction, or other kinds of issues. Indeed, inflammation is at the basis of virtually all chronic disorders.
What can cause this stress over long periods of time? Not resolving inflammatory issues that have been festering and evolving over the years. Some typical factors include excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, other pharmaceutical substances, persistent stress, or being excessively overweight. High levels of sugar in the diet is another cause, as are other toxins that may be present in blood. These are all reasons.
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What are herbs for inflammation? Vulnerary herbs
Now we can get into the actual herbs. So again, we’re looking at what kind of inflammation it is, and then choosing the herbs that would be appropriate for that situation.
For acute pain, such as symptomatic pain from an acute injury or wound, vulneraries, or wound healing herbs, are called for. In addition to introducing vulnerary agents to help heal, you will also want to add herbs to help deal with the inflammation that has gone to the area and is causing discomfort. Discomfort is for your benefit. It focuses your attention on the area in question, and hopefully it will be remedial attention, such as resting or stabilizing the injury or dressing the wound. A Chinese medicine remedy would include qi and blood movers. We in the West would call blood-moving herbs circulatory stimulants, but the Chinese would include qi-moving herbs that are not necessarily perceived as blood movers by Western medicine. Qi leads the way. Blood follows qi. If you can keep qi moving, then even though the blood is moving to the area and helping, it’s not likely to get stuck in the area, causing more pain than necessary, as well as swelling, redness, heat and loss of function. Remember, however, that acute inflammation is good, and should not be stopped. Stopping inflammation for acute situations hinders the healing process.
What are herbs for inflammation? Pain relief and circulatory stimulation
Pain and anti-inflammatory agents for acute reasons oftentimes can be used for chronic inflammation as well, such as turmeric (Curcuma longa) and ginger (Zingiber officinalis) — two important anti-inflammatory agents for both acute pain and chronic pain, whether taken internally or externally as a liniment, oil, or salve. Many of these herbs are heating (pungent) and aromatic, bringing blood to the area, but also keeping it moving.
Not all circulatory stimulants are pungent. Gingko leaf (G. biloba), for example, although a qi and circulatory stimulant, is neither pungent nor aromatic. It is, however, a profound peripheral circulatory stimulant, bringing oxygenated blood to the extremities and helping resolve nerve inflammation due to lack of oxygen.
What are herbs for inflammation? Seven types to know
The main virtues I look for in antiinflammatory herbs are (1) circulatory stimulants to increase qi and blood flow, (2) cold and bitter herbs to directly reduce inflammation, (3) vulneraries to help with cell and tissue regeneration, (4) pain-distancing herbs, (5) liver constraint release herbs, and (6) immunomodulators. Also, (7) any herbs that help to relieve stress in the psychological realm will have a direct and indirect effect on reducing inflammation. Calmative nervines, antianxiety herbs and antispasmodic herbs help to release clenching and clamping, which can also cause inflammation and which are omnipresent in most people somewhere in the bod.