Inflammation has a bad reputation these days but it’s important to remember that it’s a vital part of our body’s defense mechanisms. Our immune system recognizes damaged cells and pathogens, and as part of this process, inflammation is needed to support healing and recovery. This acute inflammation is important for our health, but when inflammation becomes chronic, which can silently simmer over several years, it can have profound implications on health.
Chronic inflammation and associated conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, is primarily caused by corrupted cellular signalling and responses which causes the immune system to become stuck. To manage chronic inflammation and these conditions, we need to repair the corrupted signalling and protect the tissues. How do we do this? A healthy diet and lifestyle are big components of the solution, but we can also utilise powerful medicinal herbs to support a healthy inflammation response and provide a full spectrum of antioxidants to protect tissues.
One of the most well-known anti-inflammatory herbs is Turmeric. In its whole, fermented form, it becomes a full spectrum of powerful nutrients that are highly bioavailable for the body to use. We don’t even need to add black pepper for its absorption – it’s already a fermented whole food!
Where turmeric really shines is helping to balance inflammation. Turmeric, specifically fermented turmeric, works effectively at inhibiting the pro-inflammatory COX and LOX enzyme pathways as well as the secretion of pro-inflammatory compounds TNFa and IL-6, both of which are signalling cytokines that are implicated in the chronic inflammatory conditions mentioned above. On the other hand, fermented turmeric stimulates a significantly greater secretion of the anti-inflammatory compound IL-10 which facilitates tissue integrity and healing and contains a higher level of antioxidants and potent actives. One of those actives is “tetrahydro-curcumin” which is more efficient than its curcumin analogue at reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system signalling to bring the body back into balance (1;2;3). Tetrahydro-curcumin differs from curcumin in its molecular targets, signalling pathways and cellular responses (4) and appears to be better at targeting and reversing the conditions associated with inflammation.
Holy Basil is another herb that’s a very potent antioxidant that protects tissue from damage caused by internal and external toxins as well as chronic inflammation. It also helps to inhibit the pro-inflammatory COX and LOX pathways making it a powerful anti-inflammatory in its own right. Holy Basil is typically known for stress support which has a direct connection to the inflammation response. Since stress pushes the immune system out of balance, Holy Basil, especially in its fermented form, can help us deal with everyday stress more efficiently so that our immune system isn’t compromised.
“There is so much more to managing chronic inflammatory conditions than just reducing inflammation or masking the pain with medication.”
Another classic anti-inflammatory herb is Green Tea. This herb has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for many centuries to support overall health. Its rich in at least 51 antioxidant compounds and demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects (6). It also possesses unique compounds to support the signalling process and contribute to anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity in the joints (7).
When talking about the immune system, we can’t forget about mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms are known for their immune-modulatory effects that can benefit these chronic inflammatory conditions. Reishi is the most researched mushroom for managing inflammation as it works on histamine pathways, re-regulates the immune response at the stem cell level and influences immune signalling. It also helps to prevent flare ups of tissues and protects against an over-reactive immune system (5). Reishi does all this in part because it contains highly active immune-modulating polysaccharides and over 130 anti-inflammatory triterpenoid compounds. No wonder they call it “The Mushroom of Immortality.”
There is so much more to managing chronic inflammatory conditions than just reducing inflammation or masking the pain with medication. Herbal support can go a long way and help target the root cause rather than just addressing symptoms. Our Protect formula, made of fermented, organic Turmeric, Holy basil, Green tea, Rosemary, Ginger plus Reishi mushroom, can help regulate the immune system, promote a healthy inflammation response and provide powerful antioxidants. Along with a diet rich in whole foods and a healthy lifestyle, Protect can help create that precious balance our body strives for day after day.
1.Epstein, J., Sanderson, IR., MacDonald, TT. 2010. ‘Curcumin as a therapeutic agent: the evidence from in vitro, animal and human studies.’ British Journal of Nutrition, 103 (11), 1545-1557. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/curcumin-as-a-therapeutic-agent-the-evidence-from-in-vitro-animal-and-human-studies/225164D1A70D11C765C147A5CD022200/core-reader
2.Pianpumepong, P., Kumar Anal, A., Doungchawee, G. et al. 2012. ‘Study on enhanced absorption of lactobacillus-fermented turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) beverages in rats.’ International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 47(11), 2380-2387: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2012.03113.x/abstract
3.Portes, E., Gardrat, C. and Castellan, A. 2007. ‘A comparative study on the antioxidant properties of tetrahydrocurcuminoids and curcuminoids. Tetrahedron, 63, 9092-9099: http://castellan-publicatio.monsite-orange.fr/file/e74b48a4ec9894d6718b424e7583c857.pdf .
4: Aggarwal, BB., Deb, L,. and Prasad, S. 2015. ‘Curcumin Differs from Tetrahydrocurcumin for Molecular Targets, Signaling Pathways and Cellular Responses’. Molecules, 20(1), 185-205: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/20/1/185/htm
5: Rong-Hwa, J., Teng-Yi, L., and Yu-Li, L. 2011. ‘ Immuno-modulatory activity of Ganoderma lucidum-derived polysacharide on human monocytoid dendritic cells pulsed with Der p 1 allergen’ BMC Immunology 12(31): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3127845/)
6: Maroon, J. C., Bost, J. W., & Maroon, A. 2010. ‘Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief’. Surgical Neurology International, 1(80): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011108/
7: Singh,R., Akhtar, N., and Haqqi, TM. 2010. ‘Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate: inflammation and arthritis.’ Life Sciences, 86(25-26), pp.907-918. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3146294/