Herbs to Promote a Healthy Inflammation Response

Herbs to Promote a Healthy Inflammation Response

Simply put, it controls the creation of a hormone-like substance that creates “inflammation.” And not just the common inflammation many experience in a knee or shoulder, but also inflammation throughout the body, even in the brain of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Scientists now have convincing evidence, from decades of research, that the unchecked activity of this enzyme is responsible for many forms of cancer (including colon, skin, bladder, esophagus, and pancreas), arthritis, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The COX-2 Medical Revolution

Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have recently proclaimed the revolutionary promise of COX-2 enzymatic inhibition. The Wall Street Journal described the inhibition of this enzyme as a “future milestone in preventative medicine” that stands alongside the polio vaccine and the worldwide eradication of smallpox. Even more remarkably, The New York Times in January of this year announced that COX-2 inhibition not only reduced arthritic inflammation and menstrual pain, but also appears to “prevent cancers of the colon, esophagus, skin, and bladder.” What is this important COX-2 enzyme, and how can it be safely inhibited?

The COX-2 enzyme is naturally created in every one of us. It is considered by many to be stimulated by injury or some form of attack on the body. Simply put, it controls the creation of a hormone-like substance that creates “inflammation.” And not just the common inflammation many experience in a knee or shoulder, but also inflammation throughout the body, even in the brain of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Scientists now have convincing evidence, from decades of research, that the unchecked activity of this enzyme is responsible for many forms of cancer (including colon, skin, bladder, esophagus, and pancreas), arthritis, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Amazingly, this fundamental cause of many of our most threatening diseases was only discovered within the past few years, and drug companies immediately began the race to come up with pharmaceutical substances to inhibit the enzyme’s devastating effects. Research scientists around the world supported this effort to create synthetic COX-2 inhibitors, and there was a wonderful, and surely unexpected, benefit of that research. The scientists tried to find plant compounds and herbs to synthetically copy or mimic, and they identified many traditional herbs that contain natural and safe COX-2 inhibitors. The very process to create synthetic COX-2 prescription drugs has thus located herbal constituents that are naturally available, without prescription.

It is important to understand how the enzyme works to create threatening disease conditions. The full name of the COX-2 enzyme is “cyclooxygenase-2,” and its name contains the first clue as to how the enzyme works. Cyclooxygenase has the job of “oxidizing,” or burning, a fat in the body called “arachidonic acid.” This fat is an Omega 6 fatty acid, and it occurs naturally in all of our cell membranes or walls. Picture the COX-2 enzyme as a “spark plug” that ignites this fat and cooks up inflammatory substances. Simply put, the enzyme is the spark, the fat is the fuel, and the flame of inflammation is the end result.

We need that fire: it helps us defeat enemies like bad bacteria, and it helps the body marshal its forces to respond to trauma and injury. But sometimes the fire burns too hot or gets out of control, and when that happens we can be casualties of “friendly fire.” We can develop some forms of cancer and arthritis, and our very brain neurons can get overheated and die.

This, fortunately, is not a hopeless situation, and one of the most popular drugs in the world helps to inhibit the fires of COX-2 inflammation. That drug is none other than aspirin, which not only inhibits the COX-2 enzyme but also reduces the stickiness of our blood platelets, thus helping to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Unfortunately, aspirin and related “non-steroidal anti-inflammatories” can have very serious side effects, and last year more people died from such side effects than from AIDS. Many people are unwilling to take these drugs on a chronic basis, and many more simply should not.

The great excitement came about a year ago, when a “safe aspirin” named Celebrex® was introduced, and this drug inhibited the COX-2 enzyme without all the negative side effects of aspirin. Unfortunately, this drug, and a related drug named Vioxx®, did not reduce blood platelet stickiness, and there is even some research suggesting that Celebrex could increase platelet aggregation. Most importantly, the drugs are synthetic, and many people either should not or are unwilling to take them.

As we explained above, and in much more detail in our latest book Beyond Aspirin (Hohm Press, 2000), scientists discovered many herbs that can safely, powerfully, and naturally inhibit the COX-2 enzyme. Those herbs include green tea, ginger, turmeric, holy basil, chamomile, Chinese goldthread, barberry, Baikal skullcap, Hu zhang (Japanese knotweed), rosemary, hops, feverfew, and oregano. A blend of the appropriate extracts of those herbs, if sufficiently concentrated, may offer substantial relief from the “fires” of COX-2 inflammation, without the known and unknown side effects of synthetic drug inhibition. This is the genius of nature, and why cultures for thousands of years have obtained healing benefits from extracts of these botanicals.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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