Best of both worlds: Herbal blend of traditional Chinese and African medicines found to treat inflammation

Traditionally, South African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) has been used to treat diseases, such as respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, dysmenorrhea, and liver disorders. On the other hand, Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis) root has been traditionally used to treat gastroenteric disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and liver injuries. The combination of these two herbs can be used to treat diseases related to inflammation, according to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The study was carried out by researchers from South Korea who investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of a combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root through test tube and animal experiments. They treated RAW 264.7 cell line with lipopolysaccharide to imitate the inflammatory process. For the animal trial, they induced paw edema in mice. Then, they treated the cells and mice with the combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root extract. The researchers measured the levels of nitric oxide, inflammatory cytokines, and prostaglandin E2.

The results revealed that the combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root extract treatment exhibited anti-inflammatory properties by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and suppressing inflammatory pathways. In the mice experiment, the combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root extract demonstrated anti-edema and anti-inflammatory effects. It inhibited paw swelling, skin thickness, infiltrated inflammatory cells, mast cell degranulation, and the expression of inflammatory cytokines.

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Overall, a combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root extract exhibited powerful anti-inflammatory effects by regulating inflammation marker proteins and transcription factors in RAW 264.7 cells.

The researchers concluded that the combination of South African geranium and Chinese goldthread root can be a potential agent for treating inflammation-related diseases. (Related: Inflammation: What to Eat to Reduce Your Risk of Many Diseases.)

Other herbs that can help fight inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s defense mechanism to remove harmful stimuli and start the healing process. However, inflammation can sometimes persist longer than necessary, which can cause more harm than good. It can last for months and even years, which can eventually lead to diseases and conditions, such as asthma, tuberculosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and many more. Fortunately, there are many herbs that can help reduce or prevent inflammation in the body. Here are some of them:

  • Black Pepper: Black pepper is more than just a common spice, for it is packed with anti-inflammatory properties. Its distinctive flavor comes from the chemical called piperine, which, even at low doses, can reduce inflammation. It is also believed to prevent the spread of cancer and suppress the perception of pain and symptoms of arthritis.
  • Green tea: Green tea has been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, especially in treating arthritis. In addition, it can reduce inflammation of the digestive tract, potentially treating inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Maritime pine bark: Maritime pine tree bark can be processed into pycnogenol, which has been used for thousands of years to help treat wounds, scurvy, and ulcers and reduce vascular inflammation. Research has shown that pycnogenol can neutralize free radicals in the body, even 50 to 100 times more powerful than vitamin E. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric and its yellow pigment and active ingredient, curcumin, have long been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines to reduce inflammation and treat digestive problems, wounds, and inflammation. Scientific evidence has shown that curcumin can also act as an antioxidant and may fight cancer.
  • White willow bark: Since the time of ancient Egypt and Rome, white willow tree bark has been used to treat pain and inflammation. Scientific studies have backed this up and have shown that it can be compared to the effect of aspirin, but without the side effects.

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