Natural Inflammation Relief

chilli for inflammation

We’ve written before on relief for arthritis, which is a specific type of inflammation. Here we will discuss the natural ways to help relieve general inflammatory issues. Inflammation is the body’s way of beginning the healing process from damaged cells, pathogens (a biological agent that causes damage or disease) or irritants. These natural remedies will manage and find relief from inflammation, regardless of cause.

Symptoms Of Inflammation

Before we discuss natural treatments, we need to discuss the symptoms of inflammation. There are 2 different types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and becomes severe in a relatively short time. Generally, it is the immediate response to some type of injury to a part of our body, such as a sprain, bacterial infection (like strep throat or acute bronchitis) or cuts. Usually short lived, it can last weeks, but will eventually subside.

Symptoms of acute inflammation include:

  • Pain: There will be pain in the affected area, especially when touched. This is because the nerve endings are stimulated, making them sensitive.
  • Redness: The affected area will appear red because the capillaries are filled with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some inability to move the affected area. This is commonly seen with strains and sprains.
  • Swelling: The area will appear larger than normal and when compared to the same area on the opposite side. This is because fluid can build up in the area.
  • Heat: The affected area will feel hot. For the same reason it appears red, the blood will make the area feel hot.

Chronic inflammation is long term inflammation that lasts months or even years. Causes of chronic inflammation include:

  • Failure of the body to get rid of what is causing the inflammation
  • An autoimmune response to self. This is where the immune system mistakes healthy tissues as being a pathogen or injured when it is not and attacks it, trying to repair it.
  • Persistent irritation of low intensity
  • Conditions that are cause chronic inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and Crohn’s disease.

Natural Remedies And Alternative Treatments

There are medications that can help treat and manage the symptoms of inflammation. Often times, a healthcare professional will prescribe medications along with these other natural and alternative remedies. Some include different therapies, assistive devices, herbal supplements, and topical creams. Each of these may work for one or both types of inflammation.

Alternative Therapies: This is used primarily for chronic inflammation such as seen in arthritis. Some of therapies are:

  • woman being treated with accupunctureAcupuncture: This therapy is the sticking of needles into certain areas to provide different results. When it comes to inflammation and pain, acupuncture can help. Not good for acute inflammation as it first stimulates the inflammatory process. Then it helps the body produce the chemicals that will inhibit inflammation.
  • Chiropractic: This can help with certain injuries that cause inflammation or in certain conditions that cause chronic conditions. A consultation with a chiropractor will be able to tell you if this is a viable alternative.
  • Massage Therapy: Stiff and sore muscles are not the only reason to get a massage. There have been scientific studies that show massage therapy can help reduce inflammation.
  • Hot/Cold Therapy: The first thing any good health care professional will tell you is that you should apply heat/cold to the affected area. Heat draws in more blood, bringing with it the necessary cells to repair the damage and cold helps reduce the swelling. You should do 20 minutes of hot, wait 1 hour then 20 minutes of cold as often as necessary.
  • Assistive Devices: These can include things like crutches and braces. They help take the pressure off affected areas and apply compression.
  • Herbal Supplements: There are some herbal supplements that help with inflammation. The one thing you want to look for is that they are natural, not synthetic. The best source of natural herbal supplements is your local health food store. Herbal supplements that help with inflammation include:
  • Turmeric: It contains curcumin, which has an anti-inflammatory response.
  • Ginger: It has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. Used for centuries by the Chinese, there is now scientific evidence to back the claims.
  • Vitamin E: This is a powerful anti-oxidant that can help reduce the inflammatory response due to cell damage caused by the oxidative process.
  • Bromelain: This has been used for thousands of years by the South Pacific Islanders and Asians where pineapple grows naturally. It is made from extraction from the stem of the pineapple¹. Fresh or frozen pineapple or herbal supplements are the best sources.
  • Capsaicin: A natural ingredient of chilli peppers, the best known source is cayenne pepper. You can take this as a supplement, make your own cream or buy commercially prepared creams.
  • Rosemary: This common herb has long been used in salve and supplements to help reduce inflammation

Foods: There are certain foods that can help relieve chronic inflammation. These include

  • Blueberries
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Strawberries

When you have inflammation, either acute or chronic, the pain can be intolerable. Finding natural ways and alternative therapies to help relieve inflammation is a good combination to use alongside medicines prescribed by physician. This guide to natural ways to relieve inflammation has shown you some ways to relieve inflammation at home using methods that have been used for centuries.

References:

¹ Fitzhugh DJ, Shan S, Dewhirst MW et al. (2008).”Bromelain treatment decreases neutrophil migration to sites of inflammation”. Clin Immunol 128 (1): 66–74

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