According to The United States Bone and Joint Initiative and the National Institutes of Health, over 60 million people suffer from chronic joint pain and over 23 million suffer from autoimmune conditions. The crux to both of these issues is inflammation. Just like with everything in life, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Inflammation is a natural response to help our bodies heal. Pain, swelling, redness, heat and loss of function are all symptoms of inflammation and in the short term, they can slow us down enough to let our bodies heal from whatever injury caused them in the first place. If we refuse to slow down or take the time needed to heal, then it can morph into chronic conditions with much more severe symptoms.
So what causes chronic inflammation? Recurring injuries, exposure to chemicals or toxins that our bodies can't get rid of, parasites or other fungi that has made a home within our bodies, and the most significant one, is prolonged stress. When our bodies are under stress they produce cortisol, which controls our flight or fight response. This is supposed to happen for only a short period of time, but our world today is much different from caveman times. Now instead of running away from a tiger we are worrying about finances, living through challenging relationships, battling with children, having to deal with a high pressure job or like a lot of us, all of the above.
The number one aid in reducing inflammation within the body is diet. We are what we eat. Reducing anti-inflammatory foods like sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed meat and alcohol are the first step. Adding anti inflammatory foods such as berries, nuts, fish, broccoli, avocados and olive oil is the second. Taking supplements such as Turmeric, Vitamin D and Spirulina can further assist chronic conditions. This coupled with consistent exercise and quality sleep can have you back on the road to recovery in a short period of time. When we venture into the herb realm, there are many that can help reduce inflammation, control pain and begin the healing process within the body.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants called catechins. These are like crusaders within the body preventing cell damage and reducing the formation of free radicals. They also have been found to protect cartilage and bones. Tree herbs such as Birch, Cedar and Willow can provide pain relief. Plants such as Nettle, Yarrow and Horsetail are all mineral rich, which provides an important role in strengthening and repairing connective tissue, cartilage and blood vessels. The beauty of herbs is that they can be mixed and matched to target specific needs. The good news is that there is an abundance of herbs that fight inflammation and foods and supplements that can partner with them to provide relief and improve the quality of life. The hard part is adjusting your life and changing your eating habits. When you think about getting rid of pain for good, isn't it worth it?
Take good care,