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(Patchouli Image From Kenraiz)

Topical Herbs You Can Use To Relieve Pain From In-


flammation

When my son was just over a few months old, he developed this patchy-looking, blis-
ter-like rashes. It started from his ears, then spread into his face and then into his arms.
It was very itchy for him and he would scratch them every chance he gets. When we
took him to a dermatologist, she suggested a skin test and we agreed as my son was
very uncomfortable with the condition, which later turned out to be atopic dermatitis.

Learning the hard way that chemical is not always the way to
go

That skin test was painful, as he had to be pricked by several needles so the doctor
can know where hes allergic to. It was heartbreaking to hear his painful cries. But we
thought that was the only way we can help him heal. Unfortunately, back then, I had
always relied on the chemical ways of healing. If I have known back then that this one
topical herb would heal him, I wouldn't have agreed to that skin test and all the chemi-
cals the physician prescribed to us.

Trial and error with herbal topical agents

Not all topical herbal agents would work for your case. Like for us, we have tried a few
topical herbal preparations before we found one that works for our son. Its all worth it
though, as these herbal alternatives are free from the chemicals that can harm our bod-
ies. If you can find a local store specializing on making these topical herbs, they can be
aordable too. And of course, theres the option of making your own, with tons of re-
sources online, it won't be as dicult to do so.

1. Licorice Root

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Eczema and Psoriasis

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Licorice root has many uses, as a sweetener for


candies or even as a flavoring for tobaccos. The main active compound of licorice
though is called glycyrrhizic acid and most of its health benefits are attributed to it. But
there are also secondary active compounds such as liquiritin and liquiritigenin which
help to modulate the inflammation pathway. They work by inhibiting the production of
pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-A, IL-1B and IL-6. They do so by blocking the
COX-2 pathway, as highlighted by this study. Licorice root is usually advertised as
more eective for inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.

Availability: Licorice root is available in both tincture and gel preparations. The tincture
preparations, like this one from Amazon, can be used both orally and topically. Its
harder to find pure licorice root in its gel form. You would usually find it in combination
with other ingredients. In Amazon, there are a few serum preparations of licorice root
as well.

2. Yarrow

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Injuries, Menstrual Cramps and Arthritis

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Yarrow is an underrated yet all-around herbal reme-


dy for acute types of inflammation. According to Matthew Wood, a registered herbalist,
yarrow works by decongesting the blood, allowing for the free flow and therefore, re-
duction of inflammation. This herb has many compounds but its main ones are
artemisia ketone, camphor, linalyl acetate and 1,8-cineole. According to this study,
these compounds down regulate the COX-2 pathway, along with the following cy-
tokines: TNF-A and IL-6.

Availability: Yarrow extract is available in many forms but the most popular is the liquid
extract form or tincture. As mentioned above, this form can be used for both oral or
topical administration. There are also some other topical forms such as oils and
creams. Gel forms are also available but there are added ingredients such as hops and
lemon balm.

3. Calendula

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Injuries and Eczema

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Now calendula is one of the herbal topical agents


we used for our sons atopic dermatitis. It did help in lessening the itchiness of his al-
lergy then but it was not able to fully heal him. It also helped in minor scratches and in-
sect bites, as evidenced by my sons cousin who had always used calendula cream
when he was younger. The main anti-inflammatory compounds of calendula are ter-
penoids. The specific terpenoids vary depending on the type of calendula plant. They
work to stop inflammation by inhibiting the NF-KB pathway therefore inhibiting the
production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Availability: The best feature of calendula is its worldwide availability. The most com-
mon form is cream, which was the type we used. There are also topical preparations
that are made just for a babys sensitive skin. For adults, there are oil preparations that
you can try. Other forms such as salve, lotion and ointment are also available in the
market.

4. Patchouli

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Bacteria or Infections

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Patchouli is a known essential oil because of its


strong but relaxing scent. According to Dr. Sara OConnell, patchouli is eective for a
number of inflammatory conditions such as aching joints or even wounds because of
injuries. The main compound of patchouli is called -patchoulene. In this study, it was
found that this compound inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such
as TNF-A, IL-1B and IL-6. It can also down regulate the COX-2 pathway and NF-KB
pathway.

Availability: Patchouli is available mainly in the essential oil form. You can also find it in
the body oil form which is suitable for those who have mild to moderate pain. For those
suering from wounds, they can opt for the soap version of patchouli, just to aid in the
cleansing and healing of the wound externally.

5. Orange Oil

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Skin Conditions and Bacteria

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Do not throw out those orange peels, as this is


where orange oil is derived from. The active compound of orange oil is d-limonene,
also found in the rinds of other citrus fruits. If you remember in our previous blog post,
d-limonene can help in the normal peristalsis of the stomach. But aside from that, it
can also help in reducing inflammation by inhibiting the COX-2 pathway. In a recent
study, it was also found that the other compounds of orange oil, namely citral, linalool,
decanal and valencene, can inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Availability: It is only available in oil form, though you can choose from many types.
The concentrated ones are usually the more preferred types. There are also massage
oil, aromatherapeutic and essential oil forms that you can try out.

6. Witch Hazel

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Skin Conditions Like Acne, Eczema and Irrita-
tion

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: You might be familiar with witch hazel, as it is a


common ingredient in many astringent preparations that you see in pharmacies. This is
because witch hazel contains tannins, which are natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
The other compounds found in witch hazel are hamamelitannins, catechols and proan-
thocyanidins which also help in suppressing the inflammation pathway. Specifically,
they block the formation of cytokine IL-8.

Availability: As mentioned above, witch hazel is available mainly in astringent or toner


forms. These forms are suitable for those suering inflammation caused by acne. Other
novel forms are cleansing pads and sprays. Some brands also sell witch hazel as a
salve, which you can use for skin irritations or minor bruises.

7. Arnica

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Arthritic Conditions Such as Gout or Os-
teoarthritis

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: Arnica is another known name when it comes to


topical herbal agents. It is found as eective as ibuprofen gel in patients with os-
teoarthritis. The main active compound of arnica is sesquiterpene lactones, which has
very potent anti-inflammatory effects. It works by inhibiting the NF-KB pathway and sup-
pressing cytokine production (IL-1B, IL-6 and IL-12).

Availability: Arnica gel is widely available in pharmacies and online stores. Boiron
seems to be a popular brand in the Amazon store. Other available forms are oil, cream,
salve and spray. But the most studied form is the gel, so if you want more potency and
eectiveness, then opt for this type.

8. Aloe Vera

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Arthritic Diseases and Wounds

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: The gel part of aloe vera has potent anti-inflamma-
tory eects because it contains a number of compounds such as sterols, aloe resins
and vitamins. As such, the eect of aloe vera gel is quite enhanced. The main polysac-
charide called glucomannan helps in collagen synthesis and increased wound healing.
The newly discovered C-glucosyl chromone could be the most potent anti-inflammato-
ry compound of the herb. And finally, it also has very eective oxidant scavenging ef-
fects which can help in keeping the skin younger and more supple.

Availability: To soothe inflamed skin, aloe vera gel is your best option. You can even
put it on the fridge for a more refreshing eect. You would also find aloe vera toner
preparations, but in combination with other ingredients like witch hazel. For skin main-
tenance, there are also cream preparations for this herb. Or you can opt to extract your
own aloe vera from the plant, thats a cheaper yet eective option.

9. Coconut Monolaurin

Useful For Inflammation Caused By: Eczema or Other Skin Conditions

Anti-Inflammatory Compound/s: So last on this post is coconut monolaurin, which as


the name suggests, is taken from the coconut fruit. Remember when I mentioned that
we have to try various herbal products before we found one that works for our son?
Well this is that holy grail product for us for the atopic dermatitis of our son. Monolaurin
is just one of the fatty compounds of coconut. It is a strong anti-bacterial compound,
as it can readily break down the membranes of bacterias. As patients with atopic der-
matitis are prone to bacterial infection, coconut monolaurin can help in bringing back
the tone of the skin and also in moisturizing it.

Availability: For my son, we used the gel form of coconut monolaurin. You can also opt
for the traditional coconut oil preparation, since that is the readily available form. There
are also soaps that you can use to help treat the skin condition and inflammation whilst
bathing.

The way to natural healing is not that easy

You have to take many paths, many diversions, in order to find that rightful herbal rem-
edy for your pain. Suering from many painful nights, even if youre just a spectator to
the one with the pain, like my son. Fortunately, we were able to find a natural remedy
for his inflammatory skin disease. It worked slowly, not immediately, but the improve-
ments were easily seen. Now, he lives a life free from atopic dermatitis.

And so can you, to live a life free from arthritic pain or eczema, its possible. Were here
to help you get to that rightful herbal remedy. No matter how long the journey is, we
wont stop. So for our readers out there, please share any other herbal topical agent
that have helped heal your inflammation. Wed be glad to hear from you!