You have probably read somewhere or someone told you that medicines are made of herbs. There are types of herbs and types of medicines. When there is an inflammation process in the body it means that our body is responding to an injury or disease. It is a part of the body’s wisdom.
Inflammation can be acute, chronic or relapsing-remitting. The type of inflammation depends on the disease course. If the disease course occupies a larger swing, than a conventional treatment for autoimmune disease can be prescribed. Conventional therapy includes corticosteroids and they work by reducing or they can just suppress inflammation as they do in most cases.
Anti-inflammatory herbs vs. the conventional therapy
There are many herbs that possess so called anti-inflammatory characteristics. Some patients use these anti-inflammatory herbs as a sole therapy in autoimmune disease. They take them in smaller doses in a short period of time. Anti-inflammatory herbs have the same effect as the corticosteroids, but the difference between the conventional therapy and the herbal therapy is that anti- inflammatory herbs do not have a big impact on the other body organs.
Unlike in the past, the treatment protocols today rely on both: alternative and conventional treatment options. It is a discipline that is known as integrative medicine.
What is herbal medicine?
The medicines from the conventional therapy have synthetic compounds; they are designed to mimic the action of the plant chemicals. The heart medication digoxin is a perfect example to understand this reaction. It is derived from the foxglove plant. This foxglove plan has active chemicals and in the herbal medicine they are extracted from the plant parts from the richest sources: stems, seeds, roots and leaves. In order for you to use them properly this active chemicals can be quantitatively measured, prepared in the form of teas, tinctures, capsules, poultices, tonics or oils. In this group are also included the aromatic herbs. If you didn’t know by now, the lavender can also benefit the immune system when you use it topically or as healing oil.
The herbs that can reduce inflammation or help in the healing process are: ginger, turmeric, pokeroot, devil’s claw, autumn saffron, cleavers, boswellin, arnica, German chamomile, white willow, licorice, capsaicin and white willow.
The chemical interactions: if the doctor doesn’t approve it, you should not take it. It is the first rule that you should follow when you want to use the anti-inflammatory herbs. This is because they are not just anti- inflammatory herbs; they also have other properties. For instance the German chamomile has sedative and spasmolytic properties. If you use the German Chamomile while you take other medication, it may interfere with the effects of other medications or cause undesirable side effects.
Other plant chemicals that can reduce the inflammation: Beside the other anti-inflammatory herbs that we mentioned before, the omega-3 essential oils can take a part in the process of reducing inflammation. They are derived from marine sources and they are widely used around the world.