The key to healing
Stéphanie Bureau, ND
What is inflammation? It's a nonspecific immune response to injury or infection. Natural remedies can help in the management of chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is rarely understood as a purposefuland beneficial physiological process of the body. The sheer number of anti-inflammatories that flood the market should be enough evidence to convince us of this.
Now, make no mistake, it is true that uncontrolled inflammation can get out of hand and cause destruction; there really is no debating this point. But fortunately, more and more research today is starting to focus on modulating inflammation as opposed to halting the incredible self-healing mechanism that is the inflammatory process.
Understanding Inflammation Basics
A nonspecific immune response to injury or infection, inflammation translates symptomatically into swelling, pain, redness, a feeling of heat or warmth, and a temporary loss of function at the site of the infection or injury.
In conventional medicine, the aim is generally to reduce or erase all symptoms; thus in inflammatory conditions, the aim will be symptomatic management. The unfortunate part of this suppression therapy is that it does not address the root cause of the inflammation—the disease or injury itself. Rather, it masks the pain which is akin to placing a Band-Aid on an infected wound: you won’t see the wound, but it will continue to progress.
Harvesting Natural Powers
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that propose inflammation support and modulation. Recent research supports the use of certain homeopathic formulations, plants, and enzymatic preparations in the natural healing of injuries and in the management of chronic inflam-matory conditions.
Combination medications containing homeopathic dilutions of Arnica montana, chamomilla, mercurius, and calendula, for example, have proven themselves to be strong and sometimes superior allies in the management of inflam-matory conditions, with the added advantage of showing no adverse or toxic effects.
While the exact mode of action of many of these substances is not yet fully understood, it is hypothesized that with certain homeopathic formulations, there is an inhibition of the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, a group of cells that are involved in systemic inflammation. Thus, support is supplied to the body in the form of guided, purposeful modulation of the peaks and valleys of the inflammatory process.
Listening to the Body’s Wisdom
I believe that blocking the body’s natural mechanisms of regulation through the use of conventional anti-inflammatories is a grave error therapeutically and shows a profound lack of understanding of the laws of nature.
Conversely, my experience tells me that using carefully formulated homeopathic formulations of plant and mineral origin is a far better strategy that offers nontoxic, long-term management of inflammation.