Inflammation occurs when the body begins fighting something which is harming it. This could be things like injuries, wounds, illnesses and infections. When the body realises it is being harmed, the immune system is triggered – it begins fighting back. In this post we look at ways to treat inflammation – including propolis which is a natural anti-inflammatory medicine.
Often inflammation is short lived. If you cut your finger, for example, you will experience some inflammation. But, as the wound heals relatively quickly, and provided there’s no lasting infection, the inflammation will quickly subside. Chronic inflammation occurs when the immune response lingers, or when the infection or injury is long-lasting. Treating chronic inflammation is important. This is because inflammation itself is harmful to the body, if left untreated. Evidence suggests that chronic inflammation can lead to increased chances of suffering a stroke, and higher rates of cancer.
Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
Symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
- Body pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Gastrointestinal complications (diarrhea or constipation)
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Persistent infections
Symptoms may vary from person to person – both in type and in severity. Sometimes inflammation is short-lived, but chronic inflammation can last for months or years, especially if left untreated.
There’s no standard way of diagonosing chronic inflammation, which can often go unnoticed. This is because inflammation can be caused by relatively limited exposure to irritants or allergens. This may cause inflammation whilst not being particularly noticeable to the individual.
Why Treat Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of diseases including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
As well as conditions such as:
- Cognitive decline – including dementia
How to Treat Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation can be treated in a number of ways. Most commonly drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin are used. These drugs help reduce the inflammation. However, long-term use of these drugs has been linked to various conditions such as ulcers and kidney disease.
Sometimes steroids are used to treat inflammation. Steroids suppress the immune system, reducing the inflammation. However, long-term use can be harmful. Steroid use has been linked to vision problems, high blood pressure and osteoperosis.
Lifestyle changes such as losing excess weight and taking more exercise can really help. It’s always advisable to speak to your GP before making any major changes to your diet and exercise regime.
Certain foods are known to help reduce inflammation. Dietary changes can really help tackle inflammation. A Mediterranean diet with plenty of leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, fish, nuts, citrus fruit and olive oil is best.
Propolis is also an effective natural anti-inflammatory. A study performed in 1995 found that 70% of propolis consumers were using it to help manage illnesses caused by chronic inflammation.
Propolis as an Anti-Inflammatory Medicine
The inflammatory process begins when cell membranes are ruptured and fatty acids are produced. This in turn produces arachidonic acid which triggers the creation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These cause leakage of blood from the capillaries, which reddens the tissue. This causes pain and a build-up of fluid in the area.
It is believed that the flavonoids in propolis prevent enzymes from rupturing the capillaries. This prevents the inflammatory process from starting – or reduces its spread.
Caffeic Acid Phenylethyl Ester (CAPE) is one of the main active components found in propolis. Research has demonstrated that CAPE is highly effective in reducing the creation of prostaglandins and arachidonic acid – vastly reducing inflammation in the body. Propolis is a natural anti-inflammatory medicine.
How to Take Propolis
Propolis can be taken regularly to treat chronic inflammation. The easiest way to take propolis daily is consuming Propolis Tablets or Propolis Capsules. 1-3 tablets or capsules per day is recommended. These products have a high concentration of propolis which has been milled to a fine powder for easy digestion.
It’s also possible to use propolis topically, when treating inflammation caused by cuts, or conditions such as acne. Propolis Cream is great for treating low levels of inflammation in the skin. It’s especially good for people who work with their hands, such as gardeners – where the antibacterial properties of propolis can also help reduce inflammation caused by infected cuts and scratches.
Propolis – The Natural Anti-Inflammatory
As we’ve seen, chronic inflammation can lead to various kinds of serious illness, if left untreated. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to reduce inflammation naturally:
- Take regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of green vegetables, fish and olive oil
- Use natural supplements like propolis, which is rich in flavonoids that tackle inflammation
If you think you’re suffering from chronic inflammation please speak to your GP.