Slow Silent Killer: Inflammation

Are your body aches, stiffness, pain and swelling easily?

If yes, then your body is inflamed (on fire).

But, sometimes you might not even realize inflammation is happening. It is call the silent inflammation. I think one of the main reason is we are not sensitive and conscious to our body and the second reason is our body is always in stress and inflammation stage where we did not notice the changes.

So, what’s the big deal?

“All told, inflammation is involved in at least 8 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States today,” writes Dr. Slavich. “Understanding how inflammation promotes poor health, and how and when we can intervene to reduce inflammation-related disease risk, should thus be a top scientific and public priority.”

People didn’t really pay attention to it until one day it becomes chronic and acute diseases such as cancer, heart disease, allergies, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, retinitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer, and stroke.

What is inflammation?

In Latin word, inflammare means “to set on fire.” Therefore, our body is on fire (body’s response) mainly is to destroy and burn out all the pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in order to protect our body. The role of inflammation is recognised as being part of the healing and restorative process.

The five classical symptoms of inflammation can be remembered by acronym SHARP (when I study my physiology)

  • Swelling (caused by increased fluid to the tissue)
  • Heat (caused by increased of blow flow)
  • A loss of function (loss of mobility in a joint, due to the oedema and pain, or to the replacement of functional cells with scar tissue.)
  • Redness (increase of red blood cell passing through the area)
  • Pain (effects of mediators, either from initial damage or that resulting from the inflammatory response itself, and the stretching of sensory nerves due to oedema)

There is a little doubt that diet and stress are the major contribution to the silent inflammation. With the modern diet in high sugar, refined flours, diary, processed foods, caffeine drinks and saturated fats; plus our high mental and emotion stress and inactive of our body.

From the psychology study of this dis-ease, beside from stress issue, low-level of inflammation is the “unresolved emotional conflicts, arising from anger or grief” we develop in our body .

All these contribute to make our body out of balance bit by bit.

Anti-inflammation Effect of Essential Oils

Based on modern medicine concept, I will be focusing on the anti-inflammation oils for this issue. This approach works well with simple identified cause, but it might not work well with complex diseases. Therefore, a comprehensive study need to be concerned.

I found that essential oil and carrier oils are very effective in reducing the inflamed body. There are lot of essential oils and carrier oils are well documented with anti-inflammatory activities. The research suggested that it is best to apply topically. Why? When use topically, our cells will absorbed and it also will dilated in our blood vessel. I found a research mentioned in the book of Buckle (2003):

“Coriandrum sativum (coriander), Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), and Juniperus communis (juniper) all produced 45% reduction of inflammation, comparable with the control. However, if the essential oils had been applied topically, the response might have been greater. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin, with 70% of the oil being absorbed within 24 hours.”

(Brounaugh et. al. 1990)

I did not know how the essential oils is being applied in this study, whether it is blend using vegetable oil or in gel form. As we know most of the base oils also carry the anti-inflammatory effects.

There are many researches conducted on the essential oils with anti-inflammation activities, some has strong effect and some is mild. The following is my recommendation list:

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has a strongest anti-inflammatory effect compare to Roman Chamomile (Chamomelum nobile), this is due to the chamazulene, bisabolol and bisabolol oxides of German chamomile.

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) is used traditionally to treat several gastrointestinal, nervous and rheumatic disorders. In vitro study, the main components of lavender essential oil: (-)-linalool and linalyl acetate presented anti-inflammatory properties in rats.

The alkamides in Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is active anti-inflammatory compounds and it is well known as the anti-inflammatory plants since old times. It is used in folk medicine as treatment for wounds, bleedings, headache, inflammation, pains, spasmodic diseases, flatulence and dyspepsia.

Other essential oils such as benzoin, cinnamon, clary sage, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, myrrh, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, thyme, dwarf pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilo) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) are also suggested for their anti-inflammation effect.

Buckle, J., (2003), Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice, 2nd Edition, Elsevier Science.
Consumers Association of Penang, 2016. The New Silent Killer, Jutaprint.
Murray, M. T & Pizzorno, 2012, J The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 3rd Edn Atria books.
Serhan, C. N., Ward, P. A. & Gilroy, D. W., 2010. Fundamentals of Inflammation, Cambridge University Press.
UCLA Stress Lab, 2015. Slavich indentifies Inflammation as Leading Cause of Death in U.S.
Prof Rashid Bhikha & Dr Ashraf Dockrat, 2015, Medicine of the Prophet, Ibn Sina Institite of Tibb.
Gabriela, L. DS., (2015). Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências. Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690
Elshafie, H.S. & Camele, I. (2017). An Overview of the Biological Effects of Some Mediterranean Essential Oils on Human Health. Biomed Res Int. PMC.
Saeidnia, S., (2011), A review on phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea, 19(3): 173-186, NCBI.

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