NATURAL MEDICINE: Stifle the Flame

By on December 15, 2015

Fight inflammation with natural remedies.

OreganoJackson, WY – In terms of your health, inflammation is the root of all evil. It is linked to heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, depression and eczema, to name a few. It also causes pain.

But not all inflammation is bad. In the case of an injury, viral/bacterial invasion or exposure to a toxic chemical, inflammation is part of a healthy, healing immunological response.

Chronic inflammation, however, occurs when the body is overwhelmed or the immune system fails to turn off its inflammatory response at the proper time. Most people who are chronically inflamed don’t realize it, but if you’re reaching for the Advil every night, you are one of them.

Here in exercise-obsessed Jackson, it’s common to think that one’s activity level is the reason for routine inflammation. If that is the case, here are some tools found in foods and supplements to help reduce inflammation:


Found in turmeric, curcumin not only has anti-inflammatory properties, it is also cancer fighting, an antibiotic, and an antioxidant. Its anti-inflammatory mechanism is its ability to inhibit COX-2 and 5-lipoxygenase enzymes, prime causes of inflammation. Chinese and Ayurvedic medical practitioners have been using turmeric alone or in combination for nearly 4,000 years.


Unlike enzymes that help you digest food, proteolytic enzymes enter the blood stream and break down the proteins that contribute to inflammation. In supplement form, they are taken on an empty stomach, but these enzymes can also be found in foods like pineapple, papaya and ginger.


Derived from the same family as turmeric, ginger is another COX-1, COX2 and 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor. It relieves muscle and joint pain, menstrual cramps and migraines and is delicious in cooking. Try minced ginger in hot water with two tablespoons of honey and lemon juice for a great-tasting inflammation fighter.


Also known as frankincense, boswellia’s active constituent, boswellic acid, has been shown to decrease osteoarthritic pain in only seven days and slow the progression of cartilage damage in three months. Its mechanism of action is also on the 5-lipoxygenase pathway.

Fish oil

One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to decrease inflammation is by changing your fat ratio by increasing your consumption of omega-3 oils and decreasing saturated fats. Good quality fish oil is available at every supermarket in pill and liquid form. However, most people do not take enough to get the anti-inflammatory response. Upwards of three grams is necessary to have a therapeutic effect.


Some of nutrients listed above will interact with medications or are contraindicated with certain diseases. Check in with your doctor if you are unsure about using a supplement.

These are just a few substances that can treat your inflammation. Next time you feel sore, instead of grabbing for the ibuprofen try a natural, less damaging approach.PJH

A 15-year Jackson resident, Monique Lai, ND, is an alternative health expert with a family practice. Some of her areas of focus include autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, digestive disorders, menopause and diabetes. For more info visit

About Dr. Monique Lai

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