Have a question? Call NOW 541-485-5100 or 800-238-5809

Inflammation ~ Lessen Its Damage to Your Body

Inflammation ~ Lessen Its Damage to Your Body


“Inflammation” is a term we have all heard for quite some time. It is a very general term and can encompass many facets. Inflammation in the human body occurs at micro and macro levels and affects everything from aging to pain, brain to heart, and many disease conditions may be termed inflammatory conditions. Even in disorders not classically inflammation-induced, inflammation may play a role in their development and progression. Diabetes, for example, may have chronic low-level inflammation as the cause of the insulin resistance responsible for type 2 diabetes. In this newsletter we will look at various types of inflammation and some nutrients and botanicals which may lessen the damage caused.

Pain & Inflammation Pathways

Arthritis, bursitis, general joint pain, and more are very common conditions with inflammation and/or a break-down in connective tissue at their root. There are two main pain pathways in the body, COX-2 (Cyclooxygenase), and 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase). The COX enzyme is infamous for its role in inflammatory processes and is strongly implicated in everything from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer and coronary heart disease (CHD). Unfortunately many of the pharmaceutical drugs which work on this pathway also inhibit the COX-1 enzyme and thus cause undesirable side effects such as stomach bleeding and liver damage. Thankfully there are many herbs which block the bad COX-2 pathway of pain without affecting the COX-1 enzyme. The 5-LOX inflammatory pathway is associated with conditions including allergies, asthma, and digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease.


Anti-Inflammatory Support:


Turmeric Research Scientist

Possibly the most well-known single herbal supplement for pain and inflammation, with reams of clinical studies to back up its popularity, is turmeric, sometimes used interchangeably with curcumin, one of its active compounds and a marker for standardized extracts. This herb has many pharmacological effects but as far as inflammation, it is a superstar. It inhibits the COX-2 enzyme as well as preventing breakdown of certain connective tissues. One of the underlying factors behind pain is inflammation, and curcumin has been shown to markedly reduce both. In one clinical trial of 139 with knee osteoarthritis, subjects took a curcumin extract for 28 days and it was found to be as effective at reducing severity of pain as the NSAID drug diclofenac. A study of 44 people with migraines found that 500 mg of curcumin twice a day reduced the frequency, severity, and duration of their migraines. A study of 200 people with IBS found that curcumin gave patients a 25% reduction in abdominal pain as well as an overall improvement in other symptoms.

Terry Naturally Curamin

Evergreen stocks more than 20 turmeric/curcumin products, both singly and in formulas. Some favorites are Gaia Herbs’ full-spectrum phyto-cap, Turmeric Supreme, a blend of several organic extracts including supercritical, with a supercritical black pepper extract for better absorption. This product is gluten-free and vegan and is also available in gummy form. Terry Naturally’s flagship product, Curamin, features trademarked BCM-95/Curcugreen curcumin extract, shown to have superior absorption over other extracts. Curamin includes other powerful anti-inflammatories for pain reduction, and we get tremendous positive feedback.




Ginger RootIn recent years, this herb’s popularity has been usurped somewhat by its flashier cousin, turmeric. This is unfortunate because ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and deserves more attention. Ginger is one of the three most thoroughly researched plants in the world. Gingerol compounds in the herb have been shown to block both the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways and the production of inflammatory leukotrienes. One study using rats who had arthritis induced in the knee and paw leading to inflammation had interesting results. One group was given ginger by mouth for 28 days starting the day before the inflammatory injection they received. The rats given ginger oil had less than half the knee and paw inflammation compared to the controls. Danish studies concluded ginger can offer “marked relief” from the most painful of arthritic symptoms. Ginger has also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation (blood-cell stickiness), a risk factor for not only stroke and cardiovascular disease, but cancer. Platelet stickiness is associated with the metastasis (spread) of cancer cells.


Gaia Ginger Supreme

Evergreen has ginger products available in liquids, capsules, and chewable tablets. Our own label offers Ultimate Ginger Complex, a supercritical extract blended with rosemary extract for additional antioxidant activity. This product is gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO. Natural Factors has a convenient chewable tablet featuring an organic ginger extract sweetened with only stevia and xylitol. This product is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and free of all common allergens. Gaia HerbsGinger Supreme is organic, vegan, and gluten-free and includes added turmeric extract for extra anti-inflammatory power.






Frankincense Tears (Boswellia serrata)

Boswellia serrata (also known as frankincense) is rapidly becoming as well-known as turmeric, and with good reason. This ancient herb inhibits the 5-LOX enzyme pathway and thus is highly anti-inflammatory. 5-LOX inflammation may lead to tumor formation and inflammatory digestive, respiratory, and cardiovascular conditions. Boswellia has been shown to be very effective through its 5-LOX inhibition to reduce the joint pain associated with arthritis. In a clinical study of osteoarthritis, a combination of boswellia and curcumin was shown to be superior to the prescription arthritis drug, Celebrex.

Himalaya Boswellia

Evergreen has a selection of boswellia products. Himalaya has their Boswellia Extract, gluten-free and vegan. Ayush Herbs offers Boswelya Plus, a blend of boswellia, ginger, and turmeric. This caplet is free from all common allergens. From Solaray’s Ayurvedic Herbs collection comes their boswellia extract, a vegan capsule product also containing anti-inflammatory devil’s claw. And, as mentioned above, Terry Naturally’s Curamin combines curcumin with a clinically-studied boswellia extract. This product also comes in an extra-strength version. Turmeric Strength for Joint by MegaFood combines curcumin with boswellia, ginger, and devil’s claw in a gluten-free, vegan tablet.


Factors for Inflammation

One major underlying cause of chronic inflammation is oxidative stress. What causes oxidative stress? Our environment is one culprit, with factors such as pollution of air and water, exposure to pesticides, and overexposure to the sun. Unbalanced lifestyles contribute factors such as too little sleep, too much work or exercise, and stress in general. Exposure to toxic chemicals in personal care products and tobacco smoke is a major cause of oxidative stress. Perhaps the biggest factor contributing to oxidative stress is the Standard American Diet (SAD). Rife with ultra-processed foods, inflammatory omega-6 oils, and unwanted hormones, the SAD ramps up continuous inflammation in the body. One has more control over one’s diet than other external factors, and simply swapping out sugar and white flour for healthier options will do wonders. Avoid oils such as corn, canola, soy, and safflower, and introduce healthy anti-inflammatory high omega-3 oils like flax, walnut, hemp, and fish. Antioxidants, of course, will help to support anti-inflammatory processes. Eat your brightly-colored fruits and vegetables as they are filled with anti-inflammatory (and anti-cancer) compounds.