What Is Inflammation & How to Reduce It In Your Body
If you experience any form of ongoing inflammation or swelling anywhere in your body it's not a mystery.
It's simply a ‘sign’ or a signal of some form of ‘chaos’ going on within one of your *7 Body Systems that require your support to heal and bring back into balance.
*(The 7 Body Systems are: Nervous, Respiratory, Circulatory, Reproductive, Digestive, Immune and Muscular/Skeletal).
As such, inflammation can take on many different forms (internally or externally), and usually shows up as a chronic discomfort or dis-ease which you eventually notice and feel.
Although we usually perceive this situation as 'bad', it's just your body's way of letting you know that it's time to make some changes because things aren't functioning the way they should.
It's usually the net result of certain habits and behaviours in your diet, lifestyle and environment, that you've been exposing your body to over time.
When you notice an inflammatory response, your only real job is to listen to your body and support it with principles of health so that you can heal and restore.
Learn more in 5 Signs You Have Inflammation In Your Body
If you take the easy road and go see a Doctor, all he's going to do is prescribe you a drug that will temporarily suppress the pain, swelling or inflammation, but long term, it will actually lead to 'side-effects' and further problems.
For this reason, I encourage you to look to "nature's medicines", which include whole foods, plant essential oils, nature-made salts, air, water and sunshine instead of mediSINS and pharmaceutiKILLS prescribed by the medical world, unless in the case of crises or trauma only.
Learning to heal inflammation in your body yourself is the path of Self Care...
And by following this path, it will allow you to get to the root cause of the underlying chaos in your body so that these inflammatory symptoms will subside.
Now, let's dive into this a little more technically...
What is Inflammation?
Characterised by swelling in the affected area/s, inflammation is one of the ways your body and immune system protects and heals damaged cells and also acts like a 'natural defence' against invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
Although inflammation and infection go hand-in-hand, they’re not the same thing.
However, often a simple infection can quickly lead to inflammatory symptoms as your body's natural immune response takes over.
There are TWO types of Inflammation:
1). Acute Inflammation - Tends to come on quickly, but then dissipates over a few days. If you’ve been bitten by an insect, suffered a rash, been scalded with hot water, or bruised an arm or leg, you’ve experienced first-hand how your body rapidly reacts by “flaming up”. These signs can quickly subside within a few days of following some simple self care protocols;
2). Chronic Inflammation - Prolonged Inflammation that can last for months or even years, is often associated with dis-eases and conditions such as Arthritis, Asthma, Crohn’s Disease, Back Pain, Osteoporosis and even Cancer. If not addressed and healed with a change in diet and lifestyle, inflammation will become chronic, leading to tissue damage and an eventual loss of bodily functions.
Looking at inflammation from a meta-physical and non-medical perspective, there are two dynamic forces that exist in nature that mirror how your body may react as it evolves over time and/or is placed under stress. These two forces are called "Expansion" and "Contraction".
For example, we see it with "tides" that rise and fall. Also, every generation or so as the atmosphere naturally expands and heats up, science refers to it as "Global Warming". And as it contracts and cools down, governments panic that humanity is going into an unexpected "Ice Age". These are natural processes.
Inflammation in your body is expansion.
It's a natural reaction to areas of over-stress in your body, that need to be managed back into balance with your support.
Medical (Mis) Diagnosis
The medical community knows only how to "diagnose" ("gnosis" means knowledge and "dia" means split, divided and unknown).
In other words, if you are diagnosed by a Doctor, it literally means it's their "best guess" of what's wrong with you and that they can basically prescribe you whatever cut, burn and poison they want that you'll agree to let them do.
Because the medical world and it's training is essentially owned and controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, complexity is inbuilt into framework to give it maximum 'expert' meaning.
For example, a lot of medical dis-ease conditions end in -itis, which if you look at the etymology of this term, it's Greek origin literally means, “diseases characterised by inflammation”.
- Appendicitis - Inflammation of the appendix
- Arthritis - Inflammation of the joints
- Diverticulitis - Inflammation of the intestines, bowel or colon
- Conjunctivitis - Inflammation of the conjunctiva (clear membrane that covers the eye)
- Dermatitis - Inflammation of the skin
- Encephalitis - Inflammation of the brain
- Gastritis - Inflammation of the stomach lining
- Hepatitis - Inflammation of the liver
- Myocarditis - Inflammation of the heart
- Nephritis - Inflammation of the kidneys
- Pancreatitis - Inflammation of the pancreas
- Pericoronitis - Inflammation of the gum around a tooth
- Pneumonitis - Inflammation of the lungs
- Sinusitis - Inflammation of the sinuses
- Tendonitis - Inflammation of the tendons
- Tonsillitis - Inflammation of the tonsils
- Vasculitis - Inflammation of blood vessels, including arteries and veins
What Causes Inflammation?
Standard texts of pathology define the process of inflammation as the manner in which the body seeks to wall off, heat up, and burn out infective agents or foreign matter.
Here’s the true, accurate premise - symptoms such as inflammation are not something, “wrong” with the body! Symptoms are what’s “Right” with the body!!
Symptoms represent the efforts of the body’s intelligence (its mind if you will) in the self-healing autogenic system to defend, cleanse and heal itself from a variety of infective agents, toxic sludge, and/or stresses.
The body/mind intelligence creates fever, inflammation, pain, discharge, nausea or whatever is necessary in order to heal itself of whatever is causing chaos in the body. They include naturally occurring chemicals like the lysozymes found in tears, gastric acid of the stomach, pancreatic enzymes of the bowel and fatty acids in the skin.
The body’s immune response becomes involved only if harmful pathogens and organisms manage to invade the body.
A non-specific immune response, which is the body’s second line of protection, consists primarily of inflammation and other processes which can result in free radicals that can damage cellular DNA, causing mutations.
By causing damage, free radicals contribute to inflammation, which is one way the body clears out cells or other substances that have been damaged. Free radicals, in this way, increase the severity of inflammation and a number of different conditions.
Common causes of inflammation include:
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Injuries and trauma
- A poor diet consisting of high amounts of ‘lifeless’ processed food tainted with chemical additives and preservatives
- Environmental toxins
- Prolonged periods of mental, emotional and physical stress
- A lack of physical movement and exercise
Fasting for Inflammation
As with virtually any dis-ease, for anyone who is ready to go down the "Fastest" path of healing, many inflammatory conditions not caused by injury respond remarkably well to extended "fasting".
This is simply because your body diverts all of its available energy purely to restoration and healing, rather than the constant processing of food which saps 80% of your body's daily energy pool.
Learn more about this in my blog Fasting: What You Should Know
Fasting also stimulates the production of ghrelin “the hunger hormone” in the body, which suppresses inflammation and can reduce associated joint pain and stiffness.
For best results fasting for 21 days on water or raw cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices is the ultimate, but if that is not a possibility for you, try going for 14 or 28 Days on nothing but raw fruits and vegetables and water, or Pulse Sacred Meal and water.
Understandably an extended fast is not ideal for everyone, so instead, Intermittent Fasting or “Time-restricted Eating” can be practised instead. Intermittent Fasting is popular because it's easy to do, and is not only very effective for healing, but also as an ongoing healthy lifestyle routine. Learn more in Intermittent Fasting: Health Benefits & How To’s
Intermittent fasting is known to also reduce systemic inflammation by inhibiting cytokines and immune cells responsible for causing inflammation and also decreases inflammatory responses in the central nervous system.
Natural Remedies for Inflammation
Nature's table provides an abundance of healing and nourishing whole foods and Pure Plant Essential Oils that can not only soothe symptoms, but also serve to address the root cause of the chaos responsible for causing inflammation in any area of your body. Read on...
When it comes to inflammation in the body, diet plays a big role in both prevention and healing.
Any anti-inflammatory diet first and foremost includes eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours.
Fruits rich in citrus flavonoids like Vitamin C, will also help to reduce inflammation.
Some of the best inflammation-reducing foods include:
Fresh Pineapple - rich in a group of sulfur-containing proteolytic, protein-digesting, enzymes called bromelain, which not only aid digestion but can effectively reduce inflammation and swelling.
Bromelain inhibits a variety of inflammatory agents. Bromelain has demonstrated significant inflammation effects, reducing swelling in inflammatory conditions such as acute sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis and gout, and speeding recovery from injuries and surgery, in clinical human trials
To maximise bromelain’s inflammatory reducing effects, pineapple should be eaten alone between meals or its enzymes will be used up digesting food.
Oranges - have over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 known falconoids. These are shown to not only reduce inflammation but also shrink tumours, inhibit blood clots, offer strong DNA protection and learning enhancement.
Cherries - contain flavonoids, fibre, potassium and traces of vitamins A and C, so they have plenty of lookouts to not only guard your health but also known to rid inflammation.
Pomegranate - used in folk medicine to treat inflammation, sore throats and rheumatism for centuries in the Middle East, India and Iran. Pomegranates were used by the Greek philosopher, Hippocrates, as a paste for leg and eye inflammation.
Juniper Berries - have several anti-inflammatory properties that help the relieve pain and inflammation related to rheumatism and arthritis. Juniper Pure Essential Oil is effective in treating muscle and joint pain/spasms when applied externally and can also help reduce inflammation and intestinal pain when taken internally or in the in the form of tea.
Ginger - has strong nutrient properties similar to that of bromelain for inflammation
Turmeric - contains a component known as Curcumin, potent for ridding inflammatory conditions, better than cortisone and can reduce high levels of inflammation and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Onions - For bronchial inflammation and other chest congestions put onion packs on your chest. Juice compresses or raw onion packs are remedies used externally on insect bites to draw out swelling and pain.
Capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory property in all chilli peppers, including cayenne. In addition to giving cayenne its characteristic heat, it’s a potent inhibitor of a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes called substance P. The hotter the chilli pepper, the more capsaicin it contains and the more potent it is!
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid compound which gives fruits and vegetables their orange/yellow colour. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which shuts down free radicals that cause oxidative damage and stress, and has been shown in studies to be helpful for reducing the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These are some whole foods containing high levels of beta-carotene:
- Sweet Potato
- Melon (Cantaloupe)
- Capsicum (Sweet Peppers)
- Apricots (Dried apricots are even more concentrated in beta-carotene!)
- Chia Seeds
- Almonds - help reduce inflammation of blood vessels
- Cacao - studies indicate that cocoa flavonoids relax the blood vessels which inhibit an enzyme that causes inflammation
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Garlic - soothes, cleanses and reduces inflammation
- Green Tea
- Olives - have polyphernols and flavonoids that help heal infection and inflammation
- Plums & Prunes
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Wheat Grass
- Whole Grains (Organic & Unprocessed)
- Witch Hazel - Native Americans used this for inflammatory skin conditions. When dabbed on the afflicted area several times daily it’ll reduce inflammation and promote healing.
In addition to adding more of the above foods to your diet, you’ll also want to cut down on vegetable oils and eliminate fatty beef and pork, which can add to inflammation.
A completely natural compound that has been embraced by long-lived cultures for thousands of years, Colloidal Silver is derived from an electro-magnetic process that pulls microscopic particles from a rod of silver into a liquid.
Colloidal Silver is known to quickly subdue inflammation, promote faster healing and is also effective at controlling infections, both internally and externally.
Colloidal Silver has potent anti-inflammatory properties and today's studies confirm it's powers for effectively reducing swelling, speeding up the healing process and boosting the recovery of cells.
Since the earliest dynasties of Egypt, pure plant essential oils have proven to be extremely effective natural remedies for treating inflammation through aromatic use and topical application.
Known as “The Mother of Essential Oils, Lavender Pure Essential Oil can benefit inflammation from infections and injuries by helping to soothe and relieve muscle, joint and other body aches and pains.
Especially good for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and muscle injuries, Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil is also a head-clearing, refreshing, invigorating, respiratory system decongesting and cleansing plant oil that can reduce inflammation and spasms, as well as act as an analgesic (pain reliever).
Peppermint Pure Essential Oil contains two key anti-inflammatory components, menthol and limonene and acts as an effective muscle relaxant. It can also reduce the inflammation of nasal passages, relieve muscle pains and calm spasms caused my cramps.
Carvacrol, the main component of Thyme Pure Essential Oil has been studied and proven to suppress the “COX-2” enzyme which is responsible for many inflammatory reactions.
Containing the cell-targeting phenolic diterpene “Carnosoal”, Rosemary Pure Essential Oil is an effective remedy for reducing inflammation as it stimulates circulation, increases blood flow to muscles decreasing swelling and soothing pain in the process.
In addition to its powerful pain-relieving properties, Helichrysum Pure Essential Oil is also one of the most effective for treating inflammatory ailments like arthritis, fibromyalgia and other ‘autoimmune diseases’, as well as inflammation brought on by allergic reactions.
Along with its well-renowned anti-septic and anti-ageing properties, Sandalwood Pure Essential Oil is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, especially good for relaxing the whole body and bringing down swelling brought on by insect bites.
How to Use Essential Oils for Inflammation
Due to their strength and potency, most pure essential oils need to be diluted before use with a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, or other oils with anti-inflammatory properties such as jojoba or avocado before being applied topically to the skin.
For joint inflammation, most medicinal and therapeutic benefits from essential oils can be gained from using them with massages, hot baths as well as in conjunction with warm/cold compresses.
Feed Your Emotions
The ancients always knew it and recent research is confirming that there’s a definite relationship between feeling positive emotions and health, wellness and healing in the body.
In fact, a recent study showed that these specific positive emotions and states of mind can help to lower inflammation:
In addition to eating more anti-inflammatory foods ensure you're including these important lifestyle steps:
- Get clean, fresh air each day
- Drink clean fresh water each day (2 litres minimum)
- Spend 30-45 minutes in the Sun (at least 3-5 days per week)
- Walk and move more (Low impact activities like yoga, cycling & swimming are also great)
- Nurture and heal your relationships
- Make time to follow your passions.
As well as addressing the inflammatory symptoms brought on by chaos, while you’re healing you may also need some Natural Pain Relief: Top Remedies for Soothing Discomfor & Pain in the Body.
Tolman Self Care Team.