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Category: Illness or disabilities



Introduction and description

The Dioscorides of Naples, De Materia Medica

The classic signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function.

Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic.

There are two main types of inflammation:

  • The first form of inflammation is caused by the expansion of blood vessels that occurs in tissue that has been attacked by pathogens or has been damaged physically.  If the damage is external, and thus visible, the area looks ‘inflamed’ – red and swollen. 
  • The second is inflammation caused by the damage, which results in nervous signals and pain.  These signals are there to warn the mind that the body is being attacked. By telling ‘us’ that we are being attacked, then we should adapt our behaviour accordingly, so that the repair process can take place.  If we don’t heed the warning then repair takes longer or may not happen at all.

Histamine response


The first form of inflammation is mediated by histamine and is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.  The aim is to help our immune system get its ‘troops’ to the site.  There these troops fight the pathogens causing the disease and cell injury, clear out necrotic [dead] cells and tissues damaged from the original attack and initiate tissue repair.

This response is classified as an ‘acute’ response.  Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by “the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues”. Messages are sent back to the immune system and the autonomic system in general, so that there is a sort of feed back loop going on – 'send more troops', 'recall the troops' , 'open up the blood vessels some more so that the troops can get through', and so on.

In one of the most foolish of all pharmaceutical and medical practises we have a class of medicines called anti-histamines.  As their name suggests they stop histamine from working.  The blood vessels don’t expand, the troops don’t get to site and thus the pathogens get a real hold on us.  The symptoms appear to go away, but the cause of the symptoms are allowed to have a field day.  As pathogens, once they have entered the body, cause cancer, blindness, brain damage, and disease to just about every organ of the body, the use of anti-histamines is, shall we say, somewhat unwise.

Nervous system response  


The nervous system response may be acute – occurring for only a short time and removed once the repair has been made.

But very sadly there are a whole group of illnesses caused by pathogens like heavy metals, toxins, bacteria, viruses, radiation, fungi and parasites, that because we are currently useless at spotting them and dealing with them become ‘chronic’ – long term.

The pathogens keep on attacking, the immune system does its best to fight them, but may not be helped much by us and the pain goes on and on and on. 

This is one problem with the pain response, it does not turn off if the danger and damage is still there, but it can be counter productive, because sleeping is one major way in which the body heals itself – our mind turns off and the body takes over – and sleeping is very difficult if there is constant pain. 

So we become very tired, the immune system loses its function and the pathogens get more of a hold.

Thus prolonged inflammation, is chronic inflammation, and it is chronic inflammation that needs some treatment, the body needs to be helped by relieving the pain for long enough to let us sleep and to thus help the immune system and the healing process.

Thus this section is of interest to anyone who is suffering from illnesses like

Although most of the illnesses on this site might result in chronic pain if not treated, including practically all Muscle diseases, Nervous system diseases and Bone and skeletal diseases, even heart disease.



What we can see is that  ‘Infection’, the invasion of our body by pathogens, is handled by inflammation – an immune response coupled with a pain response.

What we thus seek to do in any treatment is to do things:

  • Handle the pain in chronic cases, whilst we try to help ourselves by
  • Identifying the cause. 

Two prongs to the treatment.

Finding the cause  

We are not well served by the medical community at the moment.  Without wishing to be too critical, most causes of disease go unidentified because of our medical system and their inability to identify the causes of illness.   I believe that if enough people demand that the medical profession find the cause of illnesses, instead of simply serving out drugs to suppress symptoms, then eventually we will have a medical system that actually works – heals instead of – well not heals!  Until that time the steps outlined in Healing yourself might help.

Handling the pain


The medical profession hand out Pain killers and NSAIDs as well as opioid analgesics to handle the pain.  But these pharmaceuticals do have their drawbacks, drawbacks you will be able to see from the sections describing them.

An alternative way is to use the chemicals in plants to help alleviate the pain.  The real advantage of using plants is that firstly you can eat your way to pain relief – most of the most effective plants are food, not medicines - and secondly it is almost impossible to overdose using a plant.

The disadvantage is that they can be quite slow acting, it may take a day or so before the chemicals in plants get to work, but if you plan your diet around all these nice foods, then you have no need to be without relief once you have got going.  In effect by eating you are always topping up the relief. 

Furthermore, there is no dependence or addiction danger from food, the receptors on which the chemicals in food act are various and the body won’t downgrade a receptor because it spots you eating a carrot, whereas if you take opioids for even a short time, the body does downgrade the receptors and you are left dependent and having to take more to get relief.

We have used the information in Dr Duke’s phytochemical database to produce a list of foods that help Inflammation by being:

  • Anticapillary-Fragility
  • Antiedemic
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Antilymphedemic
  • Antinociceptive
  • COX-2-Inhibitor
  • Capillarifortificant
  • Capillariprotective
  • Circulatory-Stimulant
  • Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor
  • Diuretic
  • Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor
  • Lymphatic
  • Natriuretic
  • Saluretic

The list of foods is actually much longer and you can see the full list by going to Dr Duke, and typing in the super activity Inflammation, which will then give you a complete list.

References and further reading

All the pictures are from Dioscorides' De Materia Medica - Dioscorides advocated the use of food and plants to cure all ills and his medical text book was in successful use for well over 1,500 years.


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