How To Treat Inflammation
Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
How to Treat Inflammation
Inflammation is a part of the body’s complex biological response to any harmful stimuli such as pathogens, irritants or any other harmful organism. It is a normal attempt of the body to remove harmful stimuli, and then afterwards to work on the healing and repairing of any injured tissues.
Inflammation in itself is a very unique process; from the point of injury or start of attack of any pathogen, the cells of the body immediately react by releasing chemicals to start protecting, healing, and ultimately removing the harmful cause so as to return the body to its healthy state. Without inflammation, wounds and any infections would never heal.
Causes of Inflammation
There are many causes of inflammation, a person may suffer from immune reactions to various microorganisms and allergens, exposure to hazardous irritants and toxins, physical injuries, radiation, foreign bodies that enter the body, trauma to the body, burns, frostbite and infection resulting from pathogen entry.
Symptoms of Inflammation
Inflammation has hallmark symptoms; these symptoms appear within a few minutes after the harmful stimulus is introduced to the body and may last up to the removal of the stimuli. Pain (dolor), heat (calor), redness (rubor), swelling (tumor) and loss of function of the limb, area or part of the body involved (function laesa).
When the harmful stimulus is introduced, for example a cut on a finger, pain is often the initial sign. The body reacts by mobilizing blood cells to the area creating heat, redness and, after a short while, swelling is seen on the finger as a result of the accumulation of the fluid. Pain is still felt due to the release of chemicals and the accumulation of fluid which stimulates the nerve endings. Loss of function may be seen when the limb or area affected has reduced movement or overall function and this may be due to a variety of causes.
Treatments of Inflammation
1. Medications – non- steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce the effects of inflammation such as pain, fever and swelling. Although inflammation is a natural bodily response, symptoms may cause illness disrupting normal daily function and thus, medications are needed to control inflammation. NSAIDS drugs are aspirin, naproxen or aspirin. Medications like corticosteroids, anti-malaria medications, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate are also prescribed to control inflammation.
2. Natural remedies have been seen as effective techniques to reduce inflammation and this is through the use of herbs and supplements. Probably one of the most popular treatments for inflammation is the use of omega- 3 fatty acids from fish and other sea foods. Omega – 3 from fish contain eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) that are known to block the body’s inflammatory function.
Herbs like curcumin, St. John’s Wort, Green Tea, Bromelain and Ginger are also popular in the treatment of inflammation. These herbs have natural properties that control inflammation and help strengthen the body’s immune system in response to pathogens and stimuli.
Vitamins such as vitamin C and E are also involved in reducing inflammation and may also protect the body from harmful free radicals. Studies have also shown that a diet that is rich in vitamin C has significantly reduced signs of inflammation by 45%.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan