We've all heard of it, but exactly what is inflammation? What Causes Inflammation and are there natural remedies for inflammation that may help? Introducing your complete guide to inflammation!
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and/or infection. The body becomes inflamed because it’s trying to protect itself against harm. When you have inflammation, you can have multiple symptoms that most people don’t realize are a part of the inflammation process, including:
- Joint pain and/or stiffness
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle stiffness
Inflammation aims to protect your body by creating white blood cells that enter your tissues or blood. Blood flow in the area increases, which is why the redness and warmth people experience occurs.
Swelling occurs because of chemicals and fluids that leak out into your tissues.
While not occurring in all cases, inflammation can lead to pain or even joint stiffness if the person has arthritis.
There are two main types of inflammation: acute or chronic.
What Is Acute Inflammation?
Acute inflammation is the most common form of inflammation and one that you’ve likely experienced before. This form of inflammation occurs when your body is trying to protect itself against harm.
For example, let’s assume that you hit your head on a countertop or that you cut your finger while cooking dinner. When this trauma occurs, the body will start to produce an abundance of white blood cells that are responsible for surrounding and protecting the impacted area of the body.
Redness and swelling of the area will also occur.
But there are also times when you may have inflammation that isn’t related to an injury or some form of trauma. Typically, inflammation will also occur when there’s some type of infection in the body.
If you have the flu or pneumonia, inflammation will occur.
You might think that acute inflammation is a bad thing, but it’s an essential part of the healing and protecting process. White blood cells protect the area and stop injuries from worsening and will also stop infections from advancing and potentially becoming deadly.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is a little more serious and one of the reasons for people seeking natural remedies for inflammation. If you have chronic inflammation, it’s because unwanted substances are in the body causing the body to inflame. Typically, if there is chronic inflammation, it’s a more serious issue and one that should be examined by a medical professional.
A major concern of chronic inflammation is that there is a risk that inflammation may occur inside of your arteries. If this does occur, cholesterol can begin to build up, and the body will try to block this substance from flowing into the bloodstream.
The cholesterol, which is a form of plaque, can eventually break off if the wall fails, leading to a higher risk of stroke or heart attack from a potential clot.
Can Inflammation Be Good?
Inflammation is meant to be good. When your body sustains some form of trauma or notices a foreign invader in the body, such as a virus, it will attempt to stop the progression with inflammation.
While chronic inflammation is a concern, acute inflammation is simply allowing your body to operate optimally.
Causes of Inflammation
The main causes of inflammation are:
- Autoimmune disorder
- Chronic stress
Some chemical irritants may cause swelling. Exposure to polluted air or industrial chemicals can lead to possible swelling if you’re exposed to these irritants for a long period of time. Irritants won’t, unless there’s some form of an allergic reaction, cause inflammation.
Natural Remedies for Inflammation
If you have acute or chronic inflammation, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help alleviate inflammation and even some pain if you’re experiencing any. The top remedies that can help with inflammation are:
CBD for Inflammation
- Reduce inflammation by changing endocannabinoid receptor activity
- One study on rats found that CBD was able to reduce osteoarthritis-related inflammation
- CDB may be able to reduce acute inflammation
Topical CBD creams and gels are a very good option for reducing inflammation because you can target specific areas of the body that are inflamed.
DMSO for Inflammation
DMSO is an interesting option for inflammation because it can be added to other ingredients to improve their efficacy. For example, adding CBD and DMSO together would provide higher reductions in inflammation due to DMSO’s ability to increase the absorption rate of the CBD.
But on its own, DMSO has also shown great promise in reducing inflammation, which can be seen in the following studies:
- A 2016 study found that DMSO had the ability to repress cytokine production, which is responsible for the body’s inflammatory response.
- Anti-inflammatory properties were experienced in a 1977 study, which showed lower levels of DMSO were able to help with ocular inflammation.
DMSO has the potential to help ease both acute and chronic inflammation, especially when combined with other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. It's commonly used topically, which makes it a great option for targeted pain and inflammation relief.
Diet for Inflammation
Inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, may be made better with a diet that is designed around anti-inflammatory foods. You’ll need to consume foods that are nutrient-dense, which include but are certainly not limited to:
- Leafy greens
- Olive and coconut oil
- Dark chocolate
- Brussel sprouts
Adding in tea is also a good option. Green tea is a great option for reducing inflammation. One 2016 study concluded that the lives of people with an inflammatory disease could be made better by consuming green tea. Primarily, EGCG is a major reason why green tea has anti-inflammatory properties.
Parsley and Ginger for Inflammation
Parsley and ginger are two well-known anti-inflammatories and can be added into a juice to help reduce inflammation. The carnosol in parsley, which is the active main ingredient, has been shown to target inflammation, especially in people that have rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger is a very well-known anti-inflammatory, and while you can add it to a juice with parsley, you can also add it into salads or drink it as a tea.
Ginger attacks inflammation on multiple fronts by preventing:
By preventing all three of these inflammatory molecules, ginger is able to relieve inflammation and also prevent it. You'll also benefit from ginger’s digestive aiding properties.
Turmeric for Inflammation
Turmeric was mentioned in the dietary section, but it’s such a potent anti-inflammatory that it deserves its own section. Curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric, has been the focus of numerous studies.
Studies show that turmeric can help:
- Reduce inflammation response
- Provide relief from inflamed joints
As an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, turmeric can help control cytokine production, which is responsible for inflammation, too. Turmeric has the potential to fight off free radicals and is a potent, natural remedy for combating chronic inflammation.
You can find turmeric in capsule form as a supplement, or you can opt to add it to your food as a natural spice.
Inflammation may be a natural response from your body, but you can use the natural remedies for inflammation above to help reduce the inflammation that you’re experiencing. If you continue to have complications with chronic inflammation, you may want to consult with a doctor to verify that you’re not suffering from an autoimmune disease or infection.
Are you ready to reduce your inflammation? Looking for the immediate relief you might not get by adjusting your diet or taking over-the-counter medications?
Frankincense because this essential oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has been known to reduce joint swelling, muscle pain, and inflammation throughout the body. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, support healthy cellular function, improve memory, boost your immune system, and more!
Roman Chamomile because this essential oil is great for your skin and reducing skin inflammation! It is also naturally gentle and soothing, so it creates feelings of comfort, can reduce your anxiety, promote restful sleep, and relax your tense muscles!
Ylang Ylang because this gorgeous, tropical flower has a whole host of amazing benefits! It's an anti-inflammatory and can help improve your circulation. It may also help reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart health. Not only that, but it can also help lift your mood and promote a night of restful sleep!
Helichrysum because this prized oil is packed with incredible anti-inflammatory benefits. Not only that but it also helps to reduce scarring and fight off bacteria!
With this power-packed combination of essential oils, you don’t have to wait to start feeling relief like with many over-the-counter pain relief options. In just a few minutes, you could be chanting “I’m feeling better already!” and “I can tackle anything today!” As your inflammation subsides, you’ll be taking on the day with renewed energy and newfound confidence. So you can finally get back to spending time with your kids and grandkids, playing your favorite sport, or just relaxing in the summer sun enjoying the feeling of being pain-free.