Treating inflammation and pain with natural medicine

By Dr. Schmitz

Designed to reduce pain, painkillers are among the most consumed medications by the French! In its report on the analysis of drug sales in France in 2012, the French Drug Safety Agency unveils the ranking of the 30 most sold active substances in the city. And on the first three steps of the podium are three analgesics. Paracetamol comes in far ahead of codeine and ibuprofen.

When you have a medical condition, pain is certainly the worst symptom. It causes the patient physical and moral suffering. It is no coincidence that many suffering patients are now treated by official medicine with antidepressants. Pain is also a social handicap because it disrupts daily activities and work.


Beware of chronic use of painkillers

Paracetamol (Dafalgan, Doliprane, Efferalgan,..) is the analgesic with the fewest side effects. Rarely, hematological disorders or skin rashes are observed. With chronic use, however, one must be alert to the hepatic toxicity of paracetamol especially in patients with fragile livers (liver disease, alcohol consumption, use of other drugs with hepatic toxicity).

Codeine is an opium alkaloid with a less potent action than morphine. The side effects are already more numerous: constipation, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, euphoria, sleep disorders, drowsiness and codeine addiction.

Ibuprofen is one of several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are very commonly prescribed medications to relieve pain especially rheumatic pain. Digestive side effects are very frequent: gastric pain and burns, nausea, but especially peptic ulcers, the frequency of which is about 20% after 3 months of treatment! But it was the risk of myocardial infarction that made the headlines just a few years ago with the withdrawal of Vioxx. Today, however, it appears that all or almost all NSAIDs are likely to increase the risk of cardiovascular events.


Natural techniques

Osteopathy does not only treat the bones as its name implies but is a holistic medicine that takes into account the body as a whole. The osteopath addresses all the structures of the human body: the skull, the meninges, the bones, the muscles, the fascias, the organs, the blood vessels, the nerves... Preventive medicine, it maintains the harmony of the various systems (nervous, articular, digestive, emotional, musculo-tendinous) and reinforces the body and its mobility.

Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine and is based on rebalancing the flow of energy through our bodies. It is often used in the treatment of various pains. The application of needles to a meridian stimulates nerve endings in the tissue and activates peripheral neural pathways. The information induced by these stimulations would be sent to specific neurons in the posterior region of the spinal cord, the interneurons, which locally release endorphins, a kind of endogenous morphine.



Certain plants have long been used for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The best example is meadowsweet since it is from the oxidation of salicylic aldehyde (major component of meadowsweet) that salicylic acid was discovered in 1838, itself at the origin of the discovery in 1853 of acetylsalicylic acid, which became one of the most famous drugs used in the world for more than a century under the name of aspirin.

Essential oils also have interesting properties for the local treatment of pain. Wintergreen and lemon eucalyptus are anti-inflammatory. Scots pine, tarragon and rosemary officinal with camphor are good muscle relaxants. Peppermint, lavender and bay leaf are analgesic. Aromatherapy is quite easy to use externally to treat superficial pains such as tendonitis, but more delicate to manipulate internally without a good knowledge of the subject.

Here is a formula to have your pharmacist make useful for superficial inflammation such as elbow tendonitis (epicondylitis) for external use 4x/d:

EO Gaultheria fragrantissima 1g

Eucalyptus citriodora 2g

EO Mentha piperita 1g

EO Laurus nobilis 2g

Exc. qsp 1 gel of 50g

Another useful formula for muscle trauma with contracture for external use 4x/d:

EO Gaultheria fragrantissima 1g

EO Rosmarinus officinalis camphoriferum 2g

EO Laurus nobilis 1g

EO Artemisia dracunculus 1g

Exc. qsp 1 gel of 50g

A unique manufacturing process

I discovered a few months ago a laboratory which proposes a phyto-aroma range and whose manufacture is particularly original. Instead of extracting the essential oil from the aromatic plant by hot distillation (the classic process used by aromatherapy laboratories), it uses the entire totality of the plant and the extraction of the active ingredients and essential oils are achieved by a cold extraction by supercritical CO2. The advantage of this method of extraction is twofold, since all the active ingredients of the plant are extracted (and not only the essential oil) and cold extraction avoids the destruction of heat-sensitive molecules. It is exactly as for the olive oil of which one takes care that it is of first cold pressure!

I have had the opportunity to successfully treat many patients suffering from pain of various origins with 2 products: PhytoArt and a PhytoNer.

The PhytoArt is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory of the muscles and joints and works in cases of osteoarthritis, arthritis, rheumatism, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic degenerative inflammation (chronic polyarthritis), back pain and all muscle and joint pain including after trauma.

It consists of turmeric which has an anti-inflammatory effect, devil's claw which contains harpagoside, an extremely anti-inflammatory and analgesic substance. It also contains black spruce and its essential oil rich in bornyl acetate which stimulates the adrenals. The adrenal gland produces our natural cortisone which induces an anti-inflammatory, decongestant and analgesic effect useful in case of inflammation.

The dosage is 4 capsules per day (1 morning/2 noon/1 evening) before meals until the pain disappears. Then continue for 7 days with 2 capsules per day (1 morning/1 noon)

The PhytoNer Is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory of the nerves. It is indicated in cases of lumbago, sciatica, traumatic cervical syndrome (whiplash), cervical pain, herniated discs, trigeminal neuralgia and shingles.

It consists of white willow which is very rich in salicin, a prodrug that spares the stomach and is only transformed in the intestine by the enzyme β-glucosidase into saligenin. After absorption through the blood, saligenin is oxidized in the blood and liver to obtain the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving action of salicylic acid.

It also contains nutmeg, which is rich in an essential oil that contains myristicin, a substance that is highly active both centrally and peripherally on the nervous system. Nutmeg acts not only on painful and inflamed nerves (sciatica, lumbago) but also seems to have a repairing function on the level of the damage caused to the nervous system.

Then, the noble laurel whose essential oil is extremely effective: both in external and internal use, the laurel acts as an analgesic on most pains, but mainly in case of neuralgia following inflammation. Finally, the black spruce already mentioned above.

The dosage is 4 capsules per day (1 morning/2 noon/1 evening) before meals until the pain disappears. Then continue for 7 days with 2 capsules per day (1 morning/1 midday).

For back pain, it is often advisable to use both products together. Indeed, the pains affecting the spine have different origins but which are cumulative. There is a joint disturbance and inflammation at the level of the intervertebral discs, a pinching and inflammation of the nerve at the same level and a reflex muscle contracture and inflammation.


Nutritional supplements.

Some supplements can be useful in the treatment of inflammation, especially in cases of chronic disease. I'm thinking especially of Krill Oil produced from Euphasia Superba, a crustacean, micro-shrimp-like species located in the deep waters of Antarctica where it is an important food source for whales, seals, penguins and seabirds. Clinical tests have established the impact on the reduction of inflammation and chronic joint pain and associated stiffness. Other studies have shown that taking 2 g of krill has a positive effect on dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation and premenstrual syndromes).

In the typical case of osteoarthritis, it is obviously necessary to treat the pain and inflammation, but it should not be forgotten that there are natural substances capable of regenerating the destroyed articular cartilage. This is the case of the glucosamine which I have been using for many years and which has allowed me to avoid many hip and knee replacements in my patients. As always, you have to pay particular attention to the quality of the product and especially for glucosamine.

In fact, there are two manufacturers of glucosamine in the world: the Chinese and the Americans. Chinese glucosamine is sold for three times less than American glucosamine and is therefore found in the majority of nutritional supplements, but the results are also three times less good!


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