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Dr. Matthew Marturano

Herbal Remedies for Inflammatory Response

Inflammation is the painful way in which the body reacts to infections.  There are herbs, however, that may help combat these effects and help support inflammation.
Inflammation is the painful way in which the body reacts to infections. There are herbs, however, that may help combat these effects and help support inflammation.
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Joint pain can keep you from doing the activities you love. Taking over-the-counter pills or medication every few hours isn’t fun either. There may be hope for inflammatory response sufferers through herbal remedies which may help to support your body's natural inflammation response and help those who have inflammatory pain.  Let's take a further look to discover more.

The Story Behind the Immune Response

When your body encounters a foreign substance, your immune system attacks it. It’s what protects your body so it doesn’t become injured or ill. These foreign substances are bacterium, viruses and other antibodies.

So how does your immune system know that these foreign substances are toxic? They have a signal called antigens. These antigens, which are molecules on the surface of the substances, are chemicals that the immune system uses to locate and then identify its toxicity. This is the immune response. The immune system goes out searching for these chemicals on the substances, finds them and then kills the substances; mission complete.

However, sometimes, the immune response fails and an inflammatory response occurs.

The Process of the Inflammatory Response

When the immune system fails to identify or destroy a foreign substance, injury may result. The toxin may cause cell damage, tissue swelling or inflammation.

The reason why your tissues swell is actually another protective response of your body (the inflammatory response). Attacked cells quarantine themselves by sending out chemicals to induce the swelling. The swelling stops the toxins from spreading and moving on to other cells and other bodily tissue.

The cells also send out the call to white blood cells (phagocytes). They help repair the damage that the foreign bodies have done and clean up the mess of dead cells. This way, new cells can regenerate and thrive.

While the inflammatory response is positive because it stops the process of your whole body being attacked by infection, the swelling can be painful. Some people’s immune system have a much harder time keeping up with the toxins that enter their body. Their inflammatory response is much more active as a result, and thus, causes more pain. This is why, the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) have come up with a syndrome for it.

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)

The ACCP and SCCM, defined SIRS in 1992. The symptoms included in this definition have to include at least two or more of the following according to eMedicine from Medscape:

  • Fever between 38 degrees Celsius to 36 degrees Celsius (97 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Heart rate of 90 beats per minute
  • 20 breaths per minute or PACO2 level of less than 32 mm Hg
  • Abnormal white blood cell count

They also wanted to include cases in which the inflammatory response was caused by ischemia, trauma or other causes other than infection from toxins.

Herbal Remedies for Healthy Inflammatory Response

Many inflammatory response sufferers take over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.   However, these drugs can sometimes have undesirable long-terms side effects. To avoid these drugs, many individuals try taking other natural herbs such as turmeric, ginger, boswellin and other combination remedies, but do they help?


According to Dr. Weil, a leader in herbal remedy advice, turmeric is a good inflammatory herb. He says that individuals with arthritis, tendonitis and autoimmune conditions may find benefit from this remedy by taking 400 to 600 mg three times a day. He does advise that it may take at least two months for it to work.

DO NOT TAKE: If you are pregnant, have gallstones or bile duct dysfunction.


According to two studies mentioned on the Web site, The World’s Healthiest Foods, three quarters of arthritis patients and all patients with muscular discomfort reported being free from pain and swelling when taking ginger supplements.

Dr Weil also recommends ginger for a health inflammatory response. It might take up to two month before you’ll notice a difference with this remedy and you’ll have to take one to two capsules, or 500 to 1000 mg, twice a day.


Boswellin, used in Ayurvedic medicine, may support healthy joints. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Combination Herbal Remedy

If you’re looking for an herbal remedy that includes a combination of herbs, you may want to look into Zyflamend by New Chapter. It has many of anti-inflammatory herbs mentioned above along with other possible healthful joint and cardiovascular proponents such as holy basil, green tea, rosemary, Hu Zhang, Chinese goldthread and Barberry, oregano and Baikak Skullcap.

Seek Doctor’s Recommendations

Before starting any herbal remedy, please discuss it with your doctor. Just because herbs are natural does not mean they do not have side effects or that they don’t interact with other prescription drugs. Call or visit your doctor before you begin taking any of these or other herbal remedies.


Zhang, W., Liu, D., Wo, X., Zhang, Y., Jin, M., and Ding, Z. Effects of Curcuma Longa on proliferation of cultured bovine smooth muscle cells and on expression of low density lipoprotein receptor in cells. Chin Med.J (Engl) 1999;112(4):308-311.

Antony B, Kizhakedath R Benny M Kuruvilla BT. Clinical Evaluation of a herbal product (Rhulief™) in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Abstract 316. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2011;19(S1):S145-S146.

Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2011;4:354-64. View abstract.

Hata M, Sasaki E, Ota M, et al . Allergic contact dermatitis from curcumin (turmeric). Contact Dermatitis 1997;36:107-8. View abstract.

Kuptniratsaikul V, Thanakhumtorn S, Chinswangwatanakul P, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med 2009;15:891-7. View abstract.

Ding M, Leach M, Bradley H. The effectiveness and safety of ginger for pregnancy induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic review. Women Birth 2013; 26(1):e26-30.

About The Author
Dr. Matthew-MarturanoDr. Matt Marturano, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician in the United States and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search. Dr. Marturano's National Provider Identifier (NPI) record is 1306167606
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