A Look at Natural Anti-inflammatories from Holistic Health Coach, Kerry Mann

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Kerry is a holistic health coach who works with busy professionals and moms who are overwhelmed juggling their work and personal lives. She helps her clients create balance, so they can create the lives they’ve always wanted. She teaches women how to be healthier, happier, less stressed, more energetic, and lose weight.


Natural anti-inflammatories are a good alternative to over the counter and prescription drugs when taken for pain and inflammation. Many people turn to them after taking NSAIDs because of the detrimental long-term effects. I took NSAIDs for years for my Arthritis and Lyme disease, but after becoming a health coach, I realized how damaging they were to my body. NSAIDs are generally safe when taken for a short period of time, but many people take them for longer periods without knowing there are safer and more natural alternatives.

I was quite skeptical when I started searching for a replacement for ibuprofen because I didn’t believe anything would work as well. It took some time to find the right supplements, but once I did, I wished I’d done it sooner. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s good to try one at a time and see which one works best for you. Doing your own research is important, so don’t waste time on supplements that aren’t effective. After doing extensive reading on natural anti-inflammatories these were the ones that stood out:

Curcumin

Curcumin is more bioavailable when taken with black pepper extract (piperine). It has been found to decrease inflammation and help with auto-immune conditions, as well as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. “There appears to be a decrease in disease states or conditions characterized by inflammation associated with curcumin ingestion, does not appear to be too discriminatory in which inflammatory states it benefits. [1]” This is very significant because curcumin covers all types of inflammation.

Curcumin has also been found to decrease pain that is commonly associated with inflammation. “There appear to be decreases in pain associated with curcumin at higher doses (400-500mg) which extend to post-operative, arthritic, and general pain symptoms. This does seem comparable to 2g acetaminophen in potency. [1]

It’s important to note, however, that curcumin can have side effects when taken long-term at high dosages.

“The usual dosage of standardized turmeric powder is 400–600 mg taken three times per day. Side effects are few, but with extended use, this agent can cause stomach upset, and in extreme cases gastric ulcers may occur at very high doses. Caution should be used if the patient is taking anticoagulant medications or high doses of nonsteroidal drugs. Studies have shown that curcumin may be used in combination with lower doses of nonsteroidal medications. [2]

Magnesium

Magnesium helps relax muscles, so it’s helpful for both pain and inflammation. Some people take it at night to help them sleep because of its effects. I like to take it in the morning to relax my muscles before I work out. I take magnesium in powder or liquid form because I feel like my body absorbs it better than in pill form.

“Magnesium salicylate is a common analgesic and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat mild to moderate muscular pain. It is also used to treat headaches, general back pain, and certain joint pains like arthritis. It is found in a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as an anti-inflammatory, primarily for back-pain relief. Magnesium Salicylate can be an effective OTC alternative to prescription NSAIDs, with both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. [3]

Omega-3 EFAs

Omega-3 EFAs (fish oil) is a great option for a natural anti-inflammatory. Personally, I didn’t find it to be effective, but I know many people swear by it. “Research has shown that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are some of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory agents available.” “The biological basis for the effectiveness of fish oil in treating arthritis has been well documented with many positive clinical studies, when compared to traditional pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory agents. [4]

White Willow Bark

White willow bark has been used for pain and inflammation all over the world for quite some time. It has been used in place of aspirin to avoid the side effects.“Because of the gastric side effects of aspirin, there has been a resurgence in the use of white willow bark for the treatment of inflammatory syndromes. The mechanism of action of white willow bark is similar to that of aspirin which is a nonselective inhibitor of COX-1 and COX-2, used to block inflammatory prostaglandins. [5]

Kerry Mann

I’m always searching for anti-inflammatories that have little to no side effects. This is one you might consider if you take aspirin.

“Various randomized, placebo-controlled studies comparing white willow bark with nonsteroidal agents have shown an efficacy comparable to these agents and aspirin. Salicin from white willow bark is converted to salicylic acid by the liver and is considered to have fewer side effects than aspirin. However, it is costlier than aspirin, and should not be used in children (to avoid the risk of Reye’s syndrome), or in patients with peptic ulcer disease, poorly controlled diabetes, hepatic or renal disorders, or other conditions in which aspirin would be contraindicated. The usual dose of white willow bark is 240 mg/day. [5]

Boswellia (Frankincense)

Boswellia (Frankincense) is made from a tree that produces a resin called Frankincense. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory commonly used for auto-immune conditions. I have been told by many people with Lyme disease that this is one of the treatments they use. “This resin possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and analgesic properties. Boswellia can inhibit the leukotriene biosynthesis in neutrophilic granulocytes by inhibiting 5-LOX, thus affecting various inflammatory diseases that are perpetuated by leukotrienes. [6]
 

Ginger

Ginger has been used throughout history in many cultures in cooking and as an herbal remedy to boost the immune system as well as an anti-inflammatory. I love using ginger in cooking, adding it to smoothies, and making tea out of it when I’m sick.

The National Institutes of Health found that:

“Studies evaluating the effectiveness of ginger in patients with osteoarthritis have controversial results. One study showed ginger extract to have a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. In another study, the effect of ginger in osteoarthritis was significant only in the first period of treatment. In gout as a rheumatic disease of joints, shogaol has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can be used as a curative agent. [7]

Ginger has also been found to help reduce muscle pain. “Black et al. showed that treatment of patients with has hypoalgesic effects. They used 2 g of ginger supplementation for 11 days of on 36 participants to cure muscle pain. They proved that daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain. [7]

These are some of the best natural anti-inflammatories. Next time you have pain or inflammation give one a try. Make sure to consult with your doctor first.

 

Here is an anti-inflammatory recipe you can try:

Golden Tea has gotten really popular over the past few years for immune support and for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a combination of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, honey, and coconut milk heated in a pan. Heat on stove until warm, but do not boil.

Makes 2 servings:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • ¼ inch piece of ginger grated or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon raw honey