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Inflammation: The global epidemic we should be worried about

Written by Christine Herbert

In her book Inflammation, Christine Herbert discusses the complex networks which create chronic inflammation and the use of herbs and natural healing to strengthen them

There is an epidemic of chronic inflammatory diseases in the world, with incidences increasing all the time due mostly to our changing lifestyles. Instead of dying suddenly of acute infections, we now die more slowly of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Many factors interact with each other that determine chronic inflammatory disease. Our genes determine our individual strengths and weaknesses, but epigenetics determines how our genes express themselves and the way we live our lives will determine this. Variable factors include diet, the environment in which we live, the health of our gut microbiome, our digestive systems, and our immune system. Most of these variable factors are under our control and can be improved. We will find some of the methods of doing this here.

This article is about chronic inflammation – the inflammation that doesn’t have a useful or positive outcome in the body. Acute inflammation, redness, swelling and heat that follow injury are an important part of healing from an injury and need to be allowed to proceed. It is not holistic simply to stop an inflammatory response because inflammation is a result of and not a cause of disease. Inflammation is simply the body’s way of defending itself against attack. This is where we have to play detective and determine the cause of the inflammation; then, we can actually treat it. Anti-inflammatory medication may appear to help at first, but it then becomes part of the problem if used long term.

Christine Herbert FAMH, DipAET, BA(Hons) qualified as a herbalist in 1997 and has been practising and learning herbal medicine ever since. During the years of her practice, she added many skills, including nutrition, aromatic medicine and flower essence therapy, in order to be best able to help the many people who came to see her. She retired from practice in 2019 so that she could teach and write using all the knowledge she had acquired. She served on the Association of Master Herbalists council for several years and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on retirement. Previous to 1997, she worked as a senior biomedical scientist for nineteen years for the NHS. Inflammation, the source of chronic disease: how to treat it with herbs and natural healing was published by Aeon Books www.aeonbooks.co.uk earlier this year.

Christine Herbert

Christine Herbert FAMH, DipAET, BA(Hons) qualified as a herbalist in 1997 and has been practising and learning herbal medicine ever since. During the years of her practice, she added many skills, including nutrition, aromatic medicine and flower essence therapy, in order to be best able to help the many people who came to see her. She retired from practice in 2019 so that she could teach and write using all the knowledge she had acquired. She served on the Association of Master Herbalists council for several years and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on retirement. Previous to 1997, she worked as a senior biomedical scientist for nineteen years for the NHS. Inflammation, the source of chronic disease: how to treat it with herbs and natural healing was published by Aeon Books www.aeonbooks.co.uk earlier this year.

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