Inflammation is the nonspecific response to a harmful stimuli (i.e. injury, pathogens, damaged cells, irritating chemicals, etc.). It is a defensive reaction aimed to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out any dead cells and initiate tissue repair. There are four cardinal signs of inflammation: pain, heat, redness and swelling.
The inflammatory process begins with the release of chemicals including histamine and kinins by immune cells. Those chemicals are responsible for:
- causing blood vessels of affected area to dilate (resulting in redness and increased heat)
- activating pain receptors
- causing capillaries to become more permeable, allowing plasma proteins and fluid into the tissue (resulting in swelling)
- altering the blood vessels to permit the migration of leukocytes into the affected area
Those responses are created to prevent the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissue. In this sense the inflammation is beneficial to the body.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation has rapid onset and is of short duration (lasting for hours or a few days). Inflammation is terminated when the harmful agent is eliminated from the system. Chronic inflammation usually has insidious onset and it lasts longer. When the inflammation gets out of control it becomes harmful to the body, resulting in damage to the healthy tissue. There are many diseases caused by chronic inflammation, for example: autoimmune diseases, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, atherosclerosis, lung fibrosis, hypersensitivities (sometimes life- threatening), celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and many more.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by number of factors, for example: stress and anxiety, excessive body weight, environmental toxins, microorganisms, lack of sleep, diet (including: sugar, trans fats, dairy, red meat and processed meat, alcohol, artificial food additives, refined grains, etc.) Inflammation can often be resolved by dietary changes, the use of herbs and homeopathic remedies. Some of the anti- inflammatory foods include: turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, omega-3 fats, green tea, extra virgin olive oil (not heated), blueberries, leafy green vegetables, fermented vegetables, garlic, coconut oil and many more.
Some of the most commonly used homeopathic remedies in inflammatory stages include:
- Aconite- First stages of any inflammation. Rapid onset accompanied by acute pain. The person often feels intense fear, anxiety or restlessness.
- Belladonna- Inflamed area is hot and painful with sensation of throbbing or pulsating. Symptoms have great intensity with high fever, redness and dilated pupils.
- Bryonia- Fevers have slow onset. Intensely painful conditions with great sensitivity and marked aggravation from slightest movement. Sensation of dryness throughout the system (i.e. mucus membranes) with great thirst.
- Ferrum phosphoricum- Good general remedy for early stages of any inflammation (i.e. throat, lungs, ears) accompanied by fever. Increased thirst with sensitivity to cold.
- Mercurius- Great weakness with over-sensitivity to heat and cold (person is easily chilled or overheated). Swollen glands, increased perspiration, offensive and thick yellow-green discharges.
Inflammation is generally a healthy immune response. But once it gets out of control it can pose real danger to the body’s own healthy tissue. Prolonged low-grade inflammation can trigger a whole range of chronic and potentially life threatening diseases.
As mentioned, there are many natural ways to reduce chronic inflammation, like herbs and homeopathy.
To get the best results I always recommend using them under supervision of a qualified practitioner.