Monday, November 24, 2008
Inflammation generally occurs when the body's immune system is called into action. Any kind of infection or injury results in inflammation sometimes followed by pain, heat and fever. As soon as the body detects a threat, white blood cells swarm to the spot and fight the infection or injury (such as a twisted ankle). Therefore inflammation is necessary for healing.
However when the body's immune system is out of control chronic inflammation results. Chronic inflammation leads to tissue destruction and persistent pain. This leads to serious conditions like arthritis and colitis. Most of the body's defence systems are located in the gastro-intestinal tract to keep bacteria from food at bay. It is therefore not surprising that many major inflammatory diseases affect our digestive system. Diseases such as IBS, IBD, colitis, ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease are all digestive tract related. It has also been found that many of these conditions are found in the developed world and only recently are there increasing cases in developing countries as well. This clearly points to our diet and environmental exposure.
The trend towards processed foods and sugars causes the digestive system to be unable to cleanse itself sufficiently. This can cause a build-up of toxins triggering the body's immune cells and inflammation. A modern lifestyle also exposes us to environmental toxins such as plastics and other chemicals not to mention the build-up of stress. In fact auto-immune diseases like arthritis are known to be caused by inflammation and stress.
The following are important Ayurvedic herbs that have shown astounding benefits in relieving inflammation, pain and stress as well as in clearing the body of toxins.
1. Triphala - Triphala which is composed of 3 pure herbs in equal proportions (amla, haritaki, vibhitaki) is the best remedy for intestinal cleansing and promoting digestive tract health. It tones the colon and rejuvenates the intestinal lining. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
2. Boswellia - Boswellia has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief in diseases such as arthritis and colitis. It has been shown to be as effective as NSAIDs in many cases without any side effects. Boswellia is considered the premier herb in Ayurveda in fighting a wide range of inflammatory diseases. It has been shown effective in inhibiting pro-inflammatory cells
3.Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha is also a famous anti-inflammatory herb. In addition it induces relaxation and stress relief. A combination of Boswellia and Ashwagandha provides excellent relief in autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and crohn's disease.
4. Guggul is another herb used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
5. An ayurvedic formulation called Rumalaya Forte contains these important herbs as well as others. It has been subjected to clinical studies and offers pain relief from arthritis, bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other painful bone and joint disorders. It also helps rebuild connective tissue.