Chronic inflammation: A slow burn

 Pain, swelling and heat around a certain area are signs of inflammation.

Pain, swelling and heat around a certain area are signs of inflammation.

HAVE you ever experienced inflamed sensation when you got bitten by an insect or when you nick yourself? Characterised by painful and swelling sensation, your skin then turns red and will feel hot to the touch.

What you are experiencing are classic examples of inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s auto-immune response for recovery. Your body will rush white blood cells to the affected area and help repair the tissue by fighting off illness and bacteria.

Without it, your body would be slow to recover from an injury and your wounds can ultimately become septic.

However, not all inflammation is good for you.

There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic inflammation. Put it simply, acute inflammation is of the good kind whereas chronic inflammation is otherwise.

Too much of a good thing can cause the body more harm than good. Chronic inflammation happens the same way an acute inflammation would – with the only distinction that it lasts longer than it should.

It sends out signals even when there is no call for an inflammatory response to an illness or injury. As a result, the white blood cells mistake other healthy tissues and organs as threats and start attacking it. It affects your gum, skin and gut system and even influence your metabolism – making it harder for you to lose weight.

Left untreated, it will lead to other chronic diseases such as heart disease, asthma and even cancer over time. Habitual and environmental factors such as pollution, poor diet, stress, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to chronic inflammation.

But all hope is not lost. Clinical research has shown that chronic inflammation can be reduced through anti-inflammatory diet and medications. By cutting down on red meat and adding more fatty fish, fruits and fresh vegetables as well as taking supplements, the risk of inflammation can be mitigated.

The worm-like Cordyceps Sinensis has been used for years by the traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to treat inflammation.

One of the herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammation is the Cordyceps Sinensis. Commonly found in the Tibetan Plateau, its benefits include enhancing the immune system and physical stamina; improving heart, respiratory, kidney and liver functions; and its anti-ageing property.

When consumed regularly, Cordyceps Sinensis can aid in reducing signs of inflammation in both humans and animal. Scientific researches done by the team at Chang Gung University and Chang Gung Biotechnology have shown that it can reduce signs of inflammation in cultured human macrophages – a type of specialised immune cell – and lung inflamation in lab mice (Scientific Reports 2013, 3: 1374; 2015, 5: 15282)

The Cordyceps Sinensis also helps in reducing chronic inflammation, diabetes and body weight gain in mice fed with a high-fat diet (Gut 2018, doi:10.1136/gut/gutjjnl-2017-315458) as well as increasing energy and performance in humans and animals (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2010, 16: 585-90; Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2011, 136: 260-6).

Besides that, Cordyceps Sinensis could also strengthen a weakened immune system caused by inflammation and help suppress hyper-immunity in individuals suffering from conditions such as lupus, lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

To learn more about chronic inflammation and how you can manage it, be sure to attend a health talk on Stopping the Silent Killer: Chronic Inflammation organised by Eu Yan Sang on Oct 6 (11am) at Cititel Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur.

The talk will be presented by Jan Martel PhD, a research associate at the Research and Development Centre of Chang Gung Biotechnology and the Centre for Molecular and Clinical Immunology of Chang Gung University, Taiwan.

To sign up for the health talk event, kindly register your interest here.

This article is brought to you by Eu Yan Sang.