Inflammation
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
See also Free Radical Damage

Inflammation is the body's normal response to any kind of tissue damage. When you cut, bruise, burn, bump, scrape or break some part of your body, inflammation sets in. lnflammation also occurs from chemical and microbial damage (toxins and infection). So, no matter how the body gets injured, inflammation is going to be the body's primary response to the damage.

"Itis" is the Latin term for inflammation, which is characterized by heat, swelling, redness and pain at the site of injury. Many traditional names for diseases are simply naming the location of the heat, swelling. redness and pain. Thus appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix; bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchials; tonsillitis, inflammation of the tonsils, and so forth.

When you consider all the irises there are—arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, colitis, dermatitis, gingivitis, conjunctivitis, diverticulius, sinusitis, etc.—it's already clear that inflammation is involved in a lot of health problems.

Normally, inflammation resolves itself naturally, and the injuries heal. However, when healing isn't completed the tisues become chronically inflamed. A slow process of deterioration ensues, resulting in the development of chronic and degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, obesity and mental deterioration, to name just a few. The fact is that just about any chronic disease probably involves inflammation.

We have already established that inflammation starts with tissue damage. To understand why inflamed tissues don't heal, we need to understand the normal process of inflammation, which works like this: When the tissues are initially damaged there is a release of histamine, which is followed by a release of bradykinin, serotonin and other chemical mediators. These dilate capillary pores and initiate inflammation by allowing fluid and protein to enter the tissue spaces (creating swelling). This is the first phase of inflammation.

In the second phase, chemical are released to further open blood vessels so white blood cells can reach the damaged area. This causes further swelling. At this stage, if the inflammation is in the respiratory tract, histamine and leukotrienes will cause bronchial constriction and increased mucus production to flush toxins from mucus membranes. Pain receptors are also activated at this stage.

During the third phase, white blood cells use free radicals to destroy microbes and cellular debris. Healthy cells need adequate levels of antioxidants in order to protect themselves from these free radicals. If antioxidant levels are too low, healthy tissues will get damaged causing inflammation to spread.

Once white blood cells have completed their cleanup of the area, a healing phase is initiated. Cortisol from the adrenals is secreted to shut down production of the chemical messengers that mediate inflammatory process.
Macrophages clean up the remaining debris and a regenerative cycle begins as chemical messengers are released which stimulate tissue repair.

In chronic inflammation, the body is never able to complete the healing phase of the inflammatory process- It gets stuck in the earlier phases. Meanwhile, the free radical activity in phase three causes more and more cells to get damaged, causing the inflammatory fires to spread. It's like a forest fire, which starts when dry, dead plant material catches fire, but can get hot enough that even the green trees get burned up in the process.

So, here are the factors that cause inflammation to become chronic.
First, inflammation can't heal if there is a lack of nutrients needed for the healing and repair phase.
Second, chronic tissue irritation from environmental toxins and poor diet continually re-irritates tissues, preventing healing.
Third, adrenal fatigue from chronic stress (which shuts down cortisol production), prevents initiation of the healing phase.
Finally, lack of adequate lymphatic drainage prevents the removal of excess fluid from the tissues.

Seven Keys to Reducing Chronic Inflammation

Now that we understand what the inflammatory process is, we can understand what we can do to put out the fires of chronic inflammation. Here are seven keys to locking up the inflammation arsonist in your body.

Key #1 is to detoxify.
Your body heal cannot heal if it is is constantly tring re-inflamed by environmental toxins and microbial parasites. So, start by avoiding chemicals as much as possible (food additives, pesticide residues, cleaning solution etc.). Buy organic food wherever possible and use natural household cleaning products and personal care products.

A good cleanse will help eliminate toxins already in the body.

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Key #2 is to eat the right kinds of fats.
The chemical messengers that mediate the inflammatory process are made from omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA). A ratio of 4 parts omega-6 EFA to 1 part omega-3 EFA is important in order to keep inflammation in check. That's because many of the chemical messengers that promote the healing process are made from omega-3 EFA.

If there are too many omega-6 EFAs and not enough omega-3 EFAs, then the body will be unable to heal properly and chronic inflammation will ensue.

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Key #3 is to avoid simple carbohydrates.
Refined sugars and grains cause spikes in insulin production. High levels of insulin inhibit the conversion of essential fatty acids to anti-inflammatory chemical messengers. The result is chronic inflammation.

Key #4 is to improve lymphatic drainage.
One of the major effects of inflammation is the pooling of lymphatic liquid in the spaces around the cells. The only way this fluid can be removed is via the lymphatic system. This is one of the little known secrets to reducing chronic inflammation.

The lymph system has no pump, so moderate exercise (walking, swimming, bouncing up and down on a mini-trampoline, etc.) and deep breathing are needed to encourage lymphatic drainage and reduce inflammation. When lymph glands are congested, Lymphatic Drainage formula or Lymphomax will also improve lymph drainage

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Key #5 is to use antioxidant nutrients.
Inflammation and oxidative stress go hand in hand. An adequate level of antioxidant nutrients will help reduce both oxidative stress (free radical damage) and control inflammation.



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Key #6 is to support the adrenal glands.
The adrenals produce the hormone cortisol, which keeps inflammation in check. Corticosteroid drugs mimic this hormone.
Chronic stress, caffeine and sugar use exhaust these important glands and reduce their ability to control inflammation. Nervous Fatigue Formula or Adrenal Support can help rebuild the adrenal glands and keep chronic inflammation in check.

Also, Yucca and Licorice Root are two herbs which have a cortisol-like action.


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Key #7 is to use natural anti-inflammatory remedies.
Nature has supplied us with many natural remedies that reduce chronic inflammation and promote tissue healing.
IF Relief, Nerve Control and IF-C are all excellent formulas for reducing inflammation.

IF-C
works best for more acute inflammation.
Nerve Control is helpful for inflammation and pain.


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  • Encourages a healthy inflammatory response*
  • Supports your body’s immune, circulatory and glandular systems*
  • Helps safeguard your body at the cellular level*

This antioxidant-rich turmeric extract promotes a healthy inflammatory response while supporting your body’s immune, circulatory and glandular systems. Formulated for maximum potency, CurcuminBP features black pepper, which studies show enhances bioavailability. Enjoy naturally powerful results with Curcumin BP —your first line of defense for a healthier life.


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Using these seven keys, we can keep inflammation from damaging our health. Here are some major anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements to help with these keys.

Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.


Therapies: Aromatherapy, Avoid Caffeine, Gut Healing Diet and Glycemic Diet

Herbs: Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Devil's Claw, Feverfew, Golden Seal, Gotu Kola, Licorice Root, Marshmallow, pau d'Arco, Rose Hips, St. John's Wort, Wild Yam, Yarrow and Yucca

Herbal Formulas: APS II, Bone/Skin poultice, CLT-X, Gastro Health, HY-C, IF Relief, IF-C, Joint Health, Kudzu/St. John's Wort, Nerve Eight, Noni, PLS II and Skin Detox

Herbal Extracts: CurcuminBP and Green Tea Extract

Nutrients: CLA, Co-Q10, Glucosamine, Grapine, MSM, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Omega-3 and Zinc

Flower Essence: Distress Remedy

Nutraceuticals: Relief Formula, Super ORAC and Thai-Go, Super Trio

Essential Oils: Deep Relief Oil, Frankincense, Guardian, Helichrysum, Myrrh and Roman Chamomile

Topicals: Golden Salve, Herbal Trim, MSM/Glucosamine Cream and Nature's Fresh Enzyme Spray