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6 Ways to Fight Inflammation Naturally

6 Ways to Fight Inflammation Naturally

Even when we get our eating habits in order, we might still need help managing occasional pain. Many caregivers suggest herbal remedies because they are safer overall and less problematic than NSAIDs, which fight inflammation and pain, but can also mask important warning signs or lead to larger problems, such as leaky gut syndrome, bleeding ulcers, or renal issues, among others. (For more on this, see “This is Your Body on Ibuprofen,” by Kristin Ohlson (Experience LifeJune 2014.)

Here are some commonly recommended botanicals, with recommended dosages, from Dan Lukaczer, ND, associate director of medical education at the Institute for Functional Medicine. (Please consult with your healthcare practitioner for an individualized plan.)

This golden spice, ground from the rhizomes of a plant related to ginger, is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine; its active ingredient is curcumin. Turmeric has been cited in more than 2,500 published studies on numerous conditions, including asthma and cancer. In 2009, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinefound that curcumin is about as effective as ibuprofen in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee. Like many other botanicals, curcumin is not a quick fix and can take up to two months to be effective. In capsule form, take 750 to 1,500 mg daily. Many practitioners also suggest topical creams containing curcumin.

photo credit: scott.zona, via Flickr

This tree produces a resin that is used in incense and is another staple of Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to treat arthritis, ulcerative colitis, coughs, and asthma. Also known as Indian frankincense. In capsule form, take 300 to 400 mg three times daily.

People training for a marathon may want to try this Ayurvedic staple instead of NSAIDs: According to studies, taking ginger can reduce exercise-induced pain by up to 25 percent. Turmeric, boswellia, and ginger are often mixed together into one compound along with black pepper, which is thought to aid absorption. In capsule form, take 500 to 1,000 mg two to three times daily.

An enzyme derived from pineapple, bromelain has long been used to combat indigestion and inflammation. Recent studies indicate that bromelain might be helpful for both workout-related injuries as well as arthritis. In capsule form, take 250 to 750 mg three times daily without food.

The active compound that gives cayenne peppers their heat, capsaicin is made into a topical cream used to treat both muscle aches and arthritic joint pain. It interferes with something called substance P, which is involved in both inflammation and sending pain signals to the brain. Apply capsaicin cream topically three times daily.

Arnica montana
Topical preparations from this mountain daisylike plant have been used for centuries to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, joint pain, and swelling from broken bones. One study found that arnica gel worked as well as ibuprofen in reducing pain in people with arthritis in their hands. New studies suggest that arnica may help with burns and postoperative swelling. Topical preparations shouldn’t be applied to broken skin. Use arnica cream topically three times daily, or take three to four pellets (30x to 30c) three to four times daily.

These recommendations originally appeared in “This Is Your Body on Ibuprofen.

By Experience Life Team, Experience Life

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

Some of the best healing remedies to overcome inflammation also taste  fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods  won’t cause the nasty side effects common to most pain medications.

1. Blueberries: Blueberries are also excellent  anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called  heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age.  When heat-shock proteins  are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.

2. Cayenne Pepper: Ironically, cayenne pepper turns DOWN the  heat on inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory compound  capsaicin.

3. Celery and 4. Celery Seeds: James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in  celery and celery seeds in his research, including a substance called apigenin,  which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action.  Add celery seeds to  soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

5. Cherries: While many people opt for aspirin as their  first course of action when they feel pain, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor  of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart  cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving  inflammation.

6. Dark Green Veggies: Veggies like kale and spinach contain  high amounts of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Both  minerals help balance body chemistry to alleviate inflammation.

7. Fish: According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis  expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil acts directly on the immune  system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines – compounds  known to destroy joints and cause inflammation.

8. Flax seeds and Flax Oil: Flax seeds are high in natural  oils that convert into hormone-like substances in the body to reduce  inflammatory substances. Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, atop pancakes or  French toast, and many other foods.  Do not heat.

9. Ginger: Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava at Odense University in  Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil at alleviating inflammation.

10. Raspberries, 11. Blackberries, and 12. Strawberries: In  Dr. Muraleedharan Nair’s later research she discovered that these berries have  similar anti-inflammatory effects as cherries.

13. Turmeric: Research shows that the Indian spice  frequently used in curries suppresses pain and inflammation through a similar  mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side  effects).

14. Walnuts: Like flax seeds, raw, unsalted walnuts contain  plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and  inflammation.

Adapted from Arthritis-Proof:  The  Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation by Michelle  Schoffro Cook, PhD.

By  Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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