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Herbs for Inflammation

Inflammation can either kill us or cure us. When acute, it can heal us, when we have low-grade, chronic inflammation, it becomes the source of most degenerative diseases.

In the case of inflammatory response to a tissue injury, chemicals such as histamine and prostaglandins are released into the bloodstream and cause artery vasodilation. This increased blood flow to the area causes heat and redness, which increases temperature and metabolic cell rate. Increased capillary permeability leaks protein-rich fluid into tissue spaces, causing pain and swelling. This causes temporary limitation of movement that results in healing. Acute inflammation is a part of the body’s immune response.

In the case of chronic inflammation, it is the body’s failure to eliminate whatever was causing the acute inflammation, such as an autoimmune disorder or exposure to a low-level irritant. Chronic inflammation can cause several diseases and conditions, including cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Some herbs for acute inflammation used topically are calendula, turmeric and thyme, preferably blended into a cream or salve. Addressing chronic inflammation is a more involved protocol, including diet and lifestyle changes. Helpful herbs include elderberry, turmeric, amla and Boswellia. Consult a professional about herbal applications for inflammatory issues.

Cheryl Karcher is a clinical herbalist in Bloomsbury, NJ. For more information, call 908-319-0012 or visit HilltopHerbals.com

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