Swelling that takes place in the body is a result of inflammation. Usually, inflammation is the body's response to infection such as bacteria and viruses. According to the Cleveland Clinic, white cells within the immune system trigger inflammatory chemicals that are meant to protect the body. However, sometimes the immune system "thinks" there is a problem when there isn't, and sets off an inflammatory response that is unnecessary. Some types of arthritis are an example of this. To relieve swelling and inflammation within the body, many are turning to natural substances such as herbs. A few are worth noting for their ability to fight inflammation.
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Meadowsweet, also known as Filipendula Ulmaria, contains properties that give it an anti-inflammatory action. According to Herbs2000, an online herb encyclopedia, it's believed to be the compounds called tannins in meadowsweet that make it able to increase urine output, which relieves inflammation in the joints and other areas of the body.
Jamaica dogwood's scientific name is Piscidia piscipula. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that over a century ago, it was found to promote sweating, relieve pain and have anti-inflammatory ability. However, it also reports a lack of scientific evidence for the positive effects of jamaica dogwood, so the word of its health benefits has mainly been passed down through the ages. Jamaica dogwood is available at health food stores as a dried bark or liquid extract. If you are on medication of any kind, it's recommended that you not use this herb or any herb. They can interfere with the action of the medication.
Boswellia, also known as Boswellia serrata, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, rodents were purposely induced with edema (swelling) and then treated with boswellia. Once treated, the boswellia reduced the swelling. Besides fighting inflammation and treating arthritis, boswellia is used for other health benefits, such as treating cancer, colitis and menstrual cramps.
Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, can probably be found in your kitchen. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it has been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory. It has been used to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis and uveitis, which is a type of eye inflammation. UMMC also says it's used to treat stomach troubles, cancer, atherosclerosis and bacterial infections. It's available as a spice for food, or in liquid or capsule supplement form.
Feverfew, also known as Tanacetum parthenium or bachelor button, is another herb that has been used for thousands of years. A report from the University of Illinois Medical Center says feverfew reduces swelling and inflammation by preventing the production of inflammatory proteins that are released by the immune system. It's also a pain reliever, which makes its action similar to aspirin. If you're going to use feverfew for inflammation, it's recommended by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to take it as a capsule or tablet, as teas have been known to contribute to the formation of ulcers.