Pain Alternatives and the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

If you have pain, it is important to get out of pain now!   There are many effective pain management strategies available that modern doctors do not know of. When faced with pain don’t make taking tylenol, aspirin or opioids your first line of defense, please know there are other very effective options..

First, Address the cause of your pain
Finding the cause of your pain is the best way to get rid of your pain. Popping pills for pain does not address what is causing your pain … it just numbs it, while some numbing may be necessary, don’t stop there. Keep researching to find the cause of your pain. For example it could be posture related; a few physical therapy sessions are sometimes all it takes to reeducate your body on posture and alignment.

Another common cause of pain, especially back pain, is sitting at a desk all day. Try to move throughout your day and when you do have to sit, find good sitting posture and don’t lean back on the chair. Sit on a bench type of chair (or big ball) with your spine straight, and get up every 10-15 minutes and move. Or alternate between standing and sitting desks (that’s what I do in addition to getting up every few minutes).

Other areas where we can reduce pain include some medications, for example; statins cause statin myopathy — which means muscle suffering — many people think they need pain relievers to relieve this “suffering” but in actuality you would be better to stop the statins (which are harmful and the funny thing is we now know cholesterol is NOT harmful!) instead of taking yet another pill to deal with statin myopathy.

Your diet could be increasing your pain

What you eat could be feeding or increasing your pain.  Learning what foods
 cause inflammation for you would be a step in the direction of treating the cause instead instead of numbing with meds.

How can foods reduce or increase inflammation and pain?  Many foods that cause problems are mostly due to our processing of foods and/or our pesticide use.  Foods heavily sprayed with pesticides make our immune system react to them to get rid of the pesticides ~ this alone can create inflammation in your body and when it is done 3x per day you are constantly initiating an inflammatory response with every meal.  Over time this would lead the immune system to become overactive as it gets on high alert anytime you eat, complicating this problem is that some foods molecules can resemble human molecules.  For example the wheat molecule is similar to molecules in our thyroid and some in our joints as well, when the immune system gets on high alert it may try to eradicate your thyroid or your supportive joint tissues thinking it is that pesky wheat molecule that is smothered in roundup.

Digestive issues could also cause an inflammatory response in the body — if you are unable to digest a certain food that is quite healthy for others — for example dairy.  Here is where you have to get more individualized and learn how to test yourself.

A big step in reducing inflammation and pain is our diet.  Don’t discount food in lessening your pain and inflammation!  Learning to eat anti-inflammatory foods can go a long way in addressing the root cause of your pain.

The Anti Inflammatory diet
Wheat? Dairy? Sugar? These can be triggers. An anti-inflammatory diet may be slightly different from one person to the next. You need to know what you react to. It is important to pay attention to how you feel when you eat anything. And to test yourself with an elimination diet or by eliminating one or two foods (like sugar or wheat) from your diet for 3-4 weeks and see if you notice a difference.

The “base” anti-inflammatory diet; These are the foods that are generally considered anti-inflammatory for everyone.  I will address foods that are anti-inflammatory for some and inflammatory for others below this.

The most important part of an anti-inflammatory diet? VEGETABLES!
Try to eat 3-9 cups per day of vegetables. This is vegetables at every meal — make each meal over half vegetables.

Another one of my favorite FMx doctors, Dr. Terri Wahls, in her MS protocol wants everyone to eat 9 cups of vegetables per day — 3 cups cabbage foods, 3 cups leafy greens, and 3 cups NON-STARCHY vegetables — each day.  Breaking your vegetables down into these three categories and then making sure you eat from all three categories all day is a good way to ensure vegetable eating.

  • We have data showing those who consume more cruciferous vegetables can pee out more pollution and inflammatory causing toxins. We process them better and get them out of our body via urine.

In treating her own disease, she did not cross over the threshold from stopping the progression of MS to recovering and healing from it until she started eating 9-12 cups of vegetables per day.

Eat your vegetables!

For an Anti-Inflammatory diet

Eat More of these foods:

  • Colorful vegetables; try to eat a rainbow of color every day.  These colorful foods are high in anti-oxidants which are very helpful in reducing inflammation.
  • 1-3 cups per day of Leafy green vegetables – spinach, romaine, mustard greens, etc.
  • 1-3 cups per day of cabbage foods, cooked or fermented
  • 1-3 cups per day of non-starchy vegetables such as garlic, onion, celery, carrots, beets, etc.
  • Foods high in omega-3 fats such as Cold water fish (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel).
  • Walnuts and other nuts (except peanuts) – especially freshly ground flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin, and hemp seeds.
  • Olive oil, Olives, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil are all anti-inflammatory
  • “Safer” Grains … here is where we have to test, however if you do eat grains try to stick to colorful naturally gluten free grains.  Think purple rice, wild rice, red or black quinoa, colorful corn (you should see all the varieties of corn in Peru!), same with potatoes purple potatoes and sweet potatoes are much more healthier than white potatoes.  Whole grains are even more problematic in causing inflammation:
    • Whole grains actually can cause inflammation.  Whole grains are not necessarily healthier than white; though they do have a little more fiber and may not cause quite as much of a spike in blood sugar, we would still do better to get our fiber from fruits and vegetables.   The whole part of the grain is sensitive and goes rancid quickly — many times before they even make it to the mill; this rancidity makes the whole grain highly inflammatory.  Also whole grains are much harder to digest and people with digestive issues actually do better on white grains.
      I like to look at history, in cultures that use/d rice as a staple food for centuries like many Asian cultures, what type of rice do they use?  White.
  • Citrus fruits and berries
  • Black and green teas
  • Foods high in fiber like avocados, nuts/seeds, berries, chia seeds, artichokes, peas, lentils, some beans (if tolerated — more on these below).

Spices that contain anti-inflammatory compounds

  • Ginger, turmeric, cayenne, clove, cinnamon, and garlic.

Make a nice tea:

  • Boil ginger, turmeric, black pepper (opt. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom) for 10-15 minutes. Let cool to drinking temp and enjoy.

Rosemary and Oregano are also powerful anti-inflammatories and make a great stand-alone tea and/or cooking spices.

I like to focus on what to eat instead of what NOT to eat … If you try to eat from the foods above you won’t even be hungry for any of these inflammatory foods.  Here are the foods that are mostly inflammatory for everyone.

Avoid Eating

  • Sugar!
  • Reduce all grains until you test yourself for each grain.
  • Fried foods – the oils used to fry foods are highly inflammatory.
  • Any Partially hydrogenated oil, canola oil, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils
  • Oils high on omega-6s like sunflower and sesame.
  • Red meats from CAFO animals — GRASS fed and finished only
    • Grass finished humanely treated cows actually have healthy amounts of omega-3s in them while grain fed tortured and suffering animals have very high levels of inflammation causing omega-6 oils. 
  • Anything in box:
    • Foods with a long shelf life like crackers, chips, cookies … crackers are not healthy!  There are better alternatives like a cucumber or radish slice.  Or a 100% seed cracker.
  • Foods high in simple carbohydrates like candies and cakes and many desserts (foods with a high glycemic load that cause rapid rises and drops in insulin levels seem to cause more inflammation.)
  • White breads, bagels, English muffins, Instant rice, cereals
  • Anything with Artificial flavors and colors (Aspartame, FD&C dyes) and even foods with natural flavors … natural flavors have nothing natural about them …

Foods more likely to trigger intolerance reactions, inflammation and pain (these vary from person to person), this is where you need to learn how to test yourself for each of these foods:

  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Eggs, yes even eggs which are very healthy for most people need to be tested as they are allergenic for many.
  • Nightshades are plants that used to be poisonous, over the years we have hybridizied them to be less poisonous, but still the are problematic for many.  Nightshades include eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet), bell peppers, ashwagandha, goji berries, hot peppers (e.g., chili, jalapeno, habanero, as well as chili- based spices like cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and paprika), pimentos, and tomatillos.
  • Histamines – Here is a blip from IFM on histamines:
    • Histamine is made and stored in our mast cells and is released during allergen exposure, causing dilation of blood vessels, increased mucus production, and broncho-constriction or tightening of the lungs.The release of histamine results in symptoms such as itching, sneezing, asthma, headache, and rash. Certain foods and food additives prompt the release of histamine from mast cells.
    • These are the most problematic histamine foods:  bananas, chocolate, strawberries, tomatoes, egg whites, pork, sauerkraut, cheeses, fermented soy products, sausage, spinach, ketchup, eggplant, alcoholic beverages, smoked meats, vinegars, and canned fish, coffee and some teas, and leftover meats.   Certain food additives, preservatives, food colors, benzoates, BHA, and BHT also cause histamine issues.
If you are having an inflammatory response — especially if you are feeling it in your joints or having pain here is a quick suggestion to try instead of aspirin:

Essential Oils that have high anti-inflammatory properties, you can use this diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed into painful areas.

  • Frankincense (boswellia)
  • Helichrysum
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint

Chose any one or more of these oils and make a 3% dilution which is 18 drops total per ounce of carrier oil.  For pain I like to use castor oil because castor oil is a good base for pain and inflammatory conditions as its fatty acid properties of ricinoleic acid are analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is also a good decongestant of the lymph, and increases white blood cell count.

How to test yourself for food sensitivities or allergies

There are different methods to “test” yourself for food reactions.  First pay attention to how you feel after you eat.  Do you feel sluggish?  Sleepy or tired? Like your stomach is not quite settled?  These are indications food may be creating inflammation.  A simple method would be to eliminate that particular food for 3-4 weeks and notice if your symptoms disappear.  Then re-introduce the food; maybe even eat 3x on that first day and see if you react.

The above test is sometimes a little easier than doing a full on elimination diet.  The elimination diet is where you eliminate all foods that have a high tendency toward allergic reactions, gluten and most grains, all sugars, diary, coffee, and alcohol for a period of 3 to 4 weeks.  You then slowly re-introduce one food group at a time and watch for any reactions such as digestive issues, headaches, sinus drainage, low energy, skin issues, joint pain, etc.  If you notice any of these symptoms when re-introducing a food then there is a good sign you are reacting to the food — or perhaps you are reacting to how the food is made or raised, for example non-organic coffee, or wheat dessicated with round up causes digestive issues where as organic, ancient grains that have not been so hybridized, sour dough bread may be just fine.

This 3-4 week time period of doing an elimination diet is like at “retreat” for yourself, a reset.  A detox of types where you get a chance to clean out your digestive system for a bit.  It in many cases turns out to be a bit of a spiritual quest ~ though there is no calorie restrictions on the elimination diet ~ only restriction is on what foods you can eat, so it is not a “fasting” type of detox.  It is really not that hard of a diet, especially if you eat meat and vegetables …. the hardest “foods” for most people to give up for 3-4 weeks is coffee and wine …

Another method is the Heart Rate method.  Your heart rate will increase after eating a problematic food.  Simply relax for 15-20 minutes before eating — truly relax … try not to engage your mind with emails, etc.  Take your heart rate with either a fitness device or find your pulse below your thumb with your index and middle fingers, take it for 30 seconds and times it by 2 or even count your pulse for a full minute.  Eat your food relaxed ~ this test works best if you stick to one food to test, if you eat a full meal it may be hard to determine which food caused a reaction if you have one. 
After eating take your heart rate again.  If it has jumped more than 5 beats per minute you have set off an inflammatory response in your body meaning the food you tested is feeding your pain — if your heart rate increased by over 10 beats (or more) that means it is highly problematic for you.  It is always best to test each food 2-3 times to make sure your results are consistent. 
If your heart rate does elevate from a particular food it would be best to eliminate that food from your diet for a period of time.  Many times after you clear the food out of your system and your body resets you are able to reintroduce the food (as long as you reintroduce a good clean source of that particular food!).

Another great resource on pain is Dr. Joe Tatta, he is a functional medicine based pain doctor. His healing pain podcast series are phenomenal.

Why do you want to avoid tylenol and aspirin? They are more harmful than the public was led to believe.

Be aware popping pain pills blocks your body from communicating with you . . . so you end up causing more harm to the tissue your body is telling you to be gentle with. Pain is your body communicating with you, your body is very intelligent. Listen to it. Please, do not take a pain pill before yoga or exercise. If you have pain — for example; back pain or knee pain — and you take pain pills so you can do “yoga”, you are blocking your body’s communication system and therefore have a higher risk of re-injury. Your body will tell you which movements heal and which movements aggravate, if you block this communication you end up causing more pain.

This touches on NSAIDS and acetaminophen, I didn’t even get into the opioid epidemic since most people know their harm. This is more about solutions than problems!

NSAIDS mean Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, including Celebrex (which has been withdrawn from the market in some countries) and vioxx which have been withdrawn from the market in 2004 in all countries due to serious side effects like heart attacks and strokes. Also NSAIDS are known to degrade the lining of your stomach and cause ulcers.  And more recently we are understanding this degrading of the lining is not limited to the stomach but the entire digestive tract ~ NSAIDS interfere with your body’s ability to make the mucus that protects your digest tract ~ meaning that very important mucus lining in your small and large intestines that protects bad food and bacteria from entering your bloodstream is thinning if you take NSAIDS leading to systemic inflammation … the very thing you are taking the NSAIDS to avoid!

Due to issues like leaky gut now getting more widely noticed as a real issue in allopathic circles, we are realizing how damaging to our overall health aspirin and tylenol are.

Many people take theses like candy …. And I understand, pain is painful … It takes your energy. You can’t work on your spiritual path or your life’s work when you are in pain! Before you can even get to figure out or treat what is causing your pain sometimes we have to get out of pain first to have energy to heal.

So before I get into some of the problems of aspirin and tylenol, lets look at alternatives:

When you take NSAIDS, you are blocking your immune system. Inflammation is not all bad unless you are oxidizing VLDLs with sugar in your arteries . . . Inflammation is your body coming to heal an area. It might not be in our best interest to be so afraid of inflammation — especially in acute situations . . . this is another area I am diligently researching. We do know chronic inflammation is a concern while acute inflammation is your body coming to heal — don’t block it.

However, if you are in pain it is stressful, it takes your energy — you do not have energy left to do much in your life, so many need to reduce pain. If this is your case know there are other alternatives to NSAIDS, for instance;

For Fever and Pain try: Remember . . . fever is your body using heat to kill bad bacteria. If your fever stays below 103 degrees take a big mug of warm water or ginger tea to sip and go to bed. Sleep and let your body do its thing . . . if your fever goes above 104 degrees then your body is unable to kill the bacteria and you may need some help . . . in the form of probiotics or antibiotics . . . depending on which side of that fence you are on.

  • Willow Bark – Natural COX-inhibitors come without side effects:
    It should be noted that natural COX-inhibitors such as willow bark and meadowsweet herb block pain-related prostaglandins but they do not cause the negative side effects relating to bleeding ulcers and cardiovascular effects. In fact both willow and meadowsweet stimulate the healing of ulcers and gastric bleeding, and are frequently used to help heal ulcers by herbalists.
    Why do natural COX-inhibiting herbs not have the same negative effects? Because nature’s herbs contain tens and sometimes hundreds of different medicinal compounds, which help balance and buffer the effects of the COX inhibition.
    That’s because nature is smart.

For arthritis pain and inflammation:

  • Sesame seeds have been shown to relieve arthritis pain — only 4 tablespoons per day ground in a coffee grinder to make them easier to digest and assimilate. Grind only before eating though, as the oil from most seeds goes rancid quickly so you need to grind them fresh and eat them.
  • Turmeric is also effective.

Actually turmeric can has many ways to replace NSAIDS and aspirin:

  • As a blood thinner: A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.  More on blood thinning options below (pycnogenal).
  • As an Anti-inflammatory Drug: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin — as well as resveratrol — red wine were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.

When possible use organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in.  Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals,’ should be the goal of a healthy diet.

Here is a LINK to the many different ways I use turmeric.

  • Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice. Boiling ginger for 10-15 minutes is an even more effective way to the medicine from the root to your tea to your body. Use enough ginger so your tea is spicy, and don’t peel it! There are many nutrients in the skin.
    Here is a study on ginger.
  • Capsaicin or cayenne cream: Capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, helps alleviate pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
  • Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.

Marijuana is a safe pain reliever with the side benefits of helping to relieve cancer …. and better sleep . . .

  • Medical cannabis has a long history as a natural analgesic. At present, more than half US states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Its medicinal qualities are due to high amounts (about 10-20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes, and flavonoids. Varieties of cannabis exist that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you high in medicinal CBD. The Journal of Pain, a publication by the American Pain Society, has a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis.
  • Kratom another herbal remedy that is getting some attention; is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care, as well as it may have a very different effect from one person to the next, also there are a number of different strains available with different effects, so do your homework of you choose this option.

Frankincense essential oil is also a pain reliever with many side-benefits:
Frankincense oil promotes healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing cells and tissues healthy. It’s useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of aging, and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Frankincense oil’s astringent properties help:

  • Strengthen gums and hair roots
  • Stop wounds from bleeding
  • Speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils
  • It has been shown to block the pain enzymes much like aspirin but without the side effects

The health benefits of frankincense oil are mostly attributed to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic, and expectorant properties. It truly is a healing resin.

Frankincense oil is considered a tonic, as it benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the digestive, respiratory, nervous, and excretory systems. It also aids the absorption of nutrients and strengthens your immune system.  Frankincense oil has been found useful for certain health conditions, such as:

Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – Research by Cardiff University scientists found that frankincense can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules, helping prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue that causes these conditions.

Inflammation – In addition, Indian frankincense or boswellin, also a member of the Boswellia genus, has been found to significantly reduce inflammation in animal studies. It works well as a natural painkiller for many rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

Colds and respiratory disorders – Frankincense oil can break up phlegm deposits in your respiratory tract and lungs, and can relieve bronchitis-related congestion.

Oral health problems – The antiseptic qualities of this oil can help prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores, and other infections.

Digestive disorders – Frankincense oil speeds up the secretion of gastric juices, bile, and acids, and stimulates peristaltic motion to allow food to move properly through your intestines.

Uterine health – Frankincense oil regulates estrogen production in women and reduces the risk of post-menopause tumor or cyst formation in the uterus (uterine cancer). It also regulates the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women.

Patchouli essential oil also demonstrates some of these same properties.

Frankincense is also being studied for its potential to help treat cancer. Scientists have observed that there’s an agent in this oil that not only blocks cancer from spreading, but also induces cancerous cells to close themselves down aka apoptosis (cell death).

Frankincense essential oil is NOT recommended for pregnant women and nursing moms, as it acts as an emenagogue and may induce menstruation, which may be dangerous for an unborn fetus.

Acupuncture can also effectively treat many kinds of pain. Research has discovered a “clear and robust” effect of acupuncture in the treatment of: back, neck, and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, and headaches. And we now know one of the ways that acupuncture is effective . . . it stimulates your immune system to come heal — those little needles cause just enough of the good type of inflammation to signal your immune system to come.

K-Laser Class 4 Laser Therapy: If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis, or other inflammation-based pain, I’d strongly encourage you to try out K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers. K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance tissue healing—both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, or even bones. These benefits are the result of enhanced microcirculation, as the treatment stimulates red blood cell flow in the treatment area. Venous and lymphatic return is also enhanced, as is oxygenation of those tissues.

What are NSAIDs and how do they work?
Prostaglandins are a family of chemicals that are produced by the cells of the body and have several important functions. They promote inflammation that is necessary for healing, but also results in pain, and fever (fever however supports the body by killing bad bacteria); support the blood clotting function of platelets; and protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid.

Prostaglandins are produced within the body’s cells by the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). There are two COX enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Both enzymes produce prostaglandins that promote inflammation, pain, and fever. However, only COX-1 produces prostaglandins that support platelets and protect the stomach. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block the COX enzymes and reduce prostaglandins throughout the body. As a consequence, ongoing inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced. Since the prostaglandins that protect the stomach and support platelets and blood clotting also are reduced, NSAIDs can cause ulcers in the stomach and promote bleeding.

What are the side effects of NSAIDs?
The major side effects of NSAIDs are related to their effects on the stomach and bowels (gastrointestinal system). Some 10% to 50% of patients are unable to tolerate treatment with NSAIDs because of side effects, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and upset stomach. Approximately 15% of patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs develop a peptic ulcer( ulceration of the stomach or duodenum). And this figure does not include the many patients with ulcers who are unaware they have ulcers . . . many of these patients with ulcers do not have symptoms and are unaware of their ulcers — they are at risk of developing serious ulcer complications such as bleeding or perforation of the stomach.
The risk of ulcers is higher in the elderly and individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (probably because they take high doses for pain) and those taking blood thinning medications (anticoagulants) such as Coumadin and heparin, or steroid-containing medications (for example, prednisone), and individuals with a prior history of bleeding ulcers. (The anticoagulants do not cause NSAID related ulcers. Rather they increase bleeding if NSAID-induced ulcers occur.)

High percentage of people experience these side effects of NSAIDS:

  • GI problems top the list – ulcers and stomach bleeding
  • Cardiovascular problems including heart failure equate to a 40-60% risk over non-users of NSADS due to increased risk of atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat.
  • Miscarriage – 80% risk of miscarriage associated with NSAIDS and aspirin.

Other side effects that may not be as common but are still there:

  • Kidney problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Increased blood pressure
  • allergic reactions especially with those suffering with asthma.
  • Both types of COX-inhibitors reduce vitamin B6
    Both selective and non-selective COX-inhibitors were found to lower vitamin B6 levels. Laboratory research found this effected both kidney and liver levels of the important B-vitamin as well.
    Vitamin B6 is critical for nerve function, fat metabolism, glucose metabolism, and many other functions in the body. Non-selective COX-inhibitors include aspirin and ibuprofen, while selective COX-inhibitors include Celebrex.

If you have a cold . . . beware that previous research has also found that these drugs suppress production of anti bodies and increase cold symptoms, with a trend toward longer infectiousness.
In test-tube studies, therapeutic levels of aspirin were found to suppress the ability of human white blood cells to destroy bacteria. Another study found that a host of pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen, inhibited white-cell production of antibodies by as much as 50 percent.

ASPIRIN HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN TO BE EFFECTIVE AT REDUCING CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS. Even with its blood thinning properties, in actuality there are a couple foods that are promising at as natural blood thinners:

  • Pycnogenol: A human study published in 1999 in the journal Thrombotic Research found that pycnogenol was superior (i.e. effective at a lower dosage) to aspirin at inhibiting smoking-induced clotting, without the significant (and potentially life-threatening) increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use.  Pycnogenol is available in pine nuts 🙂
  • Kiwi Fruits:  Kiwi has been shown to reduce blood clotting and lower triglycerides.
  • Frankincense and Patchouli oils also exhibit blood thinning properties.

Tylenol or acetaminophen is not an NSAID — but acetaminophen causes liver disease
(The FDA even recently limited the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription products and added a boxed warning due to liver toxicity concerns.)

I hope this gives you the empowerment to use food and herbs as medicine!

Bobbi Misiti, FMCHC is founder of BeFit Body & Mind, she has worked independently since 1990  educating and motivating around the world teaching better health through fresh whole foods, plants and herbs, yoga and movement of body, and aromatherapy.
She is a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach and has had certifications from ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine, H/FI) and was ACE Triple certified (by the American Council on Exercise).

She currently resides in Central PA over the summer months and Maui, HI October through May. She has three grown wonderful children and three lovely grand daughters.


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