by Dr. Bill Rawls
Ongoing inflammation is a chief concern among people with chronic health conditions, and finding ways to reduce it naturally can be a challenging endeavor. In this video, Dr. Bill Rawls defines inflammation, examines the importance of underlying causes, and shares his top natural remedies for inflammation relief. Read how Dr. Rawls used natural remedies to recover from chronic Lyme disease and fibromyalgia here.
Question: What are the best natural remedies for inflammation?
Hello, Dr. Rawls here. What are the best natural remedies for inflammation? I think to answer that, you’ve first got to answer the question, what is inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural healing process in the body. Our body is constantly collecting debris, broken-down cells, threatening microbes. All of these things are going on, and it’s the immune system’s job to mop these things up.
How the immune cells do that is actually by producing free radicals, and also basically eating the debris in the bad cells. So the cells have mechanisms for breaking down free radicals. This is going on in the body all the time.
Now we know that certain situations — such as wear and tear, certain microbe infections — can drive that process harder. So when you get inflammation in an isolated area like a joint or somewhere else in your body, that process of cleaning up the debris becomes intense enough that it starts breaking down surrounding tissue.
That’s really what inflammation is. And it gets to be a vicious cycle: If you have more debris, more broken down tissue, more white blood cells, more free radicals, it just gets worse and worse.
So, part of the solution is looking at the sources of inflammation. What’s driving that process harder? I think that’s really important.
When you look at drug therapy options, they’re really ignoring the source and basically just artificially stopping the inflammatory process, which actually also affects the healing process. Drugs can be really valuable, ibuprofen and things like that, for initially putting a lid on the acute inflammatory process.
But long term, if that’s the only thing that you’re doing, you’re not addressing the causes of the inflammation. Then, you start having a lot of side effects, and it just doesn’t work as well.
So, you have to address the causes of the inflammation. Is it excessive wear and tear? Is it something like Lyme disease? That can be a part of this sort of thing.
Microbes in our tissues — there’s connections between mycoplasma, an intracellular microbe, and rheumatoid arthritis, and regular everyday osteoarthritis. There’s definitely a microbe connection there. The microbes are driving the inflammation to break down tissues so they can have access to nutrients and resources.
So, looking at that bigger problem. First off, just toning down the inflammation. One of the best things to do that is herbal therapy.
Why herbs? Herbs are doing all the things that we want to do to control the inflammation. Now herbs aren’t as potent as drugs. So, up front, sometimes a little bit of ibuprofen or something like that can be valuable. Though I rarely use those things in my life any longer.
Herbs really do a nice job because, if there is a microbe component, most of your herbs are going to have antimicrobial properties. Most herbs also have really potent antioxidants. And when you look at inflammation as an over-generation of free radicals by white blood cells, antioxidants neutralize the free radicals.
So, they have some direct anti-inflammatory properties. They can affect the chemical messengers that are driving the inflammation and balance them. That’s one of the really nice properties of herbs is they’re balancing communications between the immune cells and between cells in the body. It naturally calms that inflammatory process. So those are some really nice ways that herbs can directly affect the inflammatory process.
The nice thing about herbs is they’re safe. You can take them long term. There are lots of great herbs. Turmeric is one. All of the antimicrobial herbs like andrographis and cat’s claw, your adaptogens like reishi mushrooms. There are many, many herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties in addition to other properties that you might be using them for. So, herbs are right at the top.
For controlling those acute symptoms, though, there’s one herb that really stands out as being especially good for this process. And that is hemp.
CBD oil from hemp has some really intense, nice pain-relieving properties, anti-inflammatory properties, immune-balancing properties. CBD can be used as a topical, and it’s often best combined with other essential oils like frankincense, tea tree oil, or there is a long list of nice oils that you can use and that soak directly into your tissues.
So, if it’s joint inflammation, a rub with CBD oil can be really, really nice for that purpose. Oral CBD is another way to control the acute symptoms of inflammation and to control the inflammation at the same time. So in my opinion, CBD is often a better option than some of the pharmaceuticals, though you can use both together because they work differently, so it’s just fine.
Beyond that, diet — an anti-inflammatory diet. Well, an anti-inflammatory diet is one that it doesn’t promote inflammation. Looking at an inflammatory diet, that’s a high-meat, grain, processed-food diet. Very high in omega-6s. You hear about omega-3s, but omega-6s are another type of fatty acid that promotes inflammation.
So, in a high-meat and grain diet, there are a lot of factors together that drive the inflammatory process and drive the inflammatory messengers that drive the immune system harder.
Omega-3s are really, really nice for controlling the anti-inflammatory process, just toning it down. Get them from fish and other sources, possibly a supplement like krill oil, which is one of the better ones because it has astaxanthin, which is a natural antioxidant.
Beyond that, things that reduce free radicals or that neutralize free radicals. So when we look at free radicals, free radicals are electron-deficient molecules that pluck electrons off of other molecules, causing damage. So looking at inflammation from an electrical point of view, it’s an electron deficiency. If you have generalized inflammation in your body, technically, that’s an electron-deficient state.
So, contributing things that contribute electrons can help reduce inflammation. Obviously, one of those things is antioxidants, electron-rich molecules that neutralize free radicals. That’s one way you could do it.
Herbs are one source of that, but a high-vegetable diet, eating a lot of vegetables does a lot of things to neutralize inflammation in your body. So, eat more vegetables than anything else — berries are wonderful for providing antioxidants, all kinds of wonderful antioxidants that reduce inflammation.
Beyond diet, drinking alkaline water. Alkaline water is water that’s high in electrons, and it can help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown this.
Beyond that, the air you breathe. When we live in cities, we breathe in positive ions. And positive ions are electron-deficient. We’re robbing ourselves of more electrons, which is driving inflammation. So, it’s breathing in negative ions, which you get from pine forest and open water. The negative ions contribute electrons, and that can help with inflammation in the body.
Those are just some of the ways that you can deal with inflammation, without being crippled by it.