Some years ago I was sitting in a bus-stop when I saw a woman shuffling along with a bag she was finding hard to carry even though it didn’t look very big or bulky. She should’ve been able to put it on her shoulder and keep walking. Instead she was lugging it with both her hands, in front of her, walking awkwardly.
I finally decided that whatever was inside that little bag was something really heavy. Something like a big rock.
That’s how life is for people with chronic inflammation of the brain and nervous system.
What seems easy and normal for others, is so difficult for them. They often either put on a lot of weight or lose a lot because they simply can’t seem to function normally.
See, in the body, “inflammation” doesn’t mean something’s on fire. It means an area is dehydrated to the point where the cushioning between the cells is gone and there’s no buffer between them – so they’re all clumped up and rubbing each other up causing friction and making the nerves in the area scream for help.
A lot of sudden gain in ‘water weight’ is just the body trying to soothe the area. That’s the body’s first response to any tragedy – send water in there to cushion and deliver special requirements for healing.
When however, this becomes a regular affair, the area becomes a normalized water body – just as repeat rains will form a pond that if continually fed with water will become an established water body.
Sometimes this shows prominently as weight gain – around the stomach for example, as happens in the case of chronic inflammation caused by attacks in the digestive system.
Other times the swelling isn’t so obvious but the feeling of, ‘I’m not well’ is prominent enough.
Some people struggle on year after year feeling unwell.
Now the solution to chronic nervous inflammation is rather simple. The key to it actually working though, is discipline.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” – Abraham Lincoln
You have to consciously stop whatever’s causing the inflammation. Why discipline is the key is because when you have chronic nervous inflammation it means that the cause is somewhere in your lifestyle – not just a one-time thing.
And changing lifestyle requires discipline every time. It’s not an overnight thing.
Like a seed planted in the ground has to be watered even though it can’t be seen and its progress can’t be seen yet, so you have to keep doing the right thing for you, even when you cannot see the benefits, trusting that it will have its effect soon.
So how do you stop chronic nervous inflammation?
1) Find the cause of it in your lifestyle.
There might be many causes. But there’s a way to know if something causes inflammation. If you feel drained after eating something, or doing something, that’s a dead giveaway. If you feel bloated or confused or tired or irritable or lose your excitement for something; all those are giveaways.
Remember that something like doing something you don’t want to do, can have as much effect on the body as eating something that actually inflames the gut lining.
If you’re already careful to eat what doesn’t inflame your stomach, then you ought to look at other causes than what you’re ingesting.
The rule of thumb is this – physically ingested inflammants have the least overall effect, while emotional and psychological causes have more, followed by pharmaceutical substances which by nature of directly attacking the nervous system and/or hormonal balance in the body, have the worst inflammatory effect.
Do take some time off for yourself – to list the things that drain you. To think of how to get rid of those, or change them so they don’t drain you.
You might not realize what a huge change for the better can happen in your life and in your body by doing that.
2) Get your fat.
In the early nineties, there was a lot coming out in the media about how the lesser oil you had the better it was for your body. Newspaper articles and experts all advised fruit and vegetables over meat and fat.
It took a decade and a half before people realized that the information wasn’t exactly right. And that the lack of B vitamins and fat had caused an epidemic of nervous vulnerability, as we need fat to cushion our nerve endings and make us able to take the passage of electricity through our nervous system.
An epidemic of obesity that was actually just water retention due to chronic nervous inflammation started off then and hasn’t abated yet.
My rule of thumb is this – eat what makes your gut feel satisfied. If you feel like your stomach is happy, then you’ve eaten right.
In the beginning, you’ll feel unable to trust yourself – all you’ll want to eat is things that simply cannot be good for your body. Focus on your gut – does it feel good in your stomach?
Does it satisfy your hunger? Do you feel you can stop thinking about food for a while after you eat?
All fats are not equal. Races which thrived on animal fat usually cannot feel satisfied with vegetable fat. Go with your genetics. If it was good for your grandparents, it’s most likely good for you.
3) Get your familiar food and herbs.
Some people think herbs and supplements for nervous support are things like sedatives or maybe things that excite the brain and cause the release of hormones.
What I’ve found is, the no. 1 support for the nervous system is good fat in the diet.
After that, foods and herbs that are FAMILIAR.
The first thing a person reaches for in times of stress is a food familiar to them. Dairy is so popular because our first food was our mother’s milk. Cereals our genes are familiar with, and herbs that have been life partners with our families are all our friends in this world.
Things you ate when you were little rank very high in your body’s esteem.
So make place for them, go looking for them, find them, make them part of your life.
Giving your body a sense of security is critical to stopping the nervous inflammation.
Your familiar foods are your first medicine every time you feel threatened. It’s a good thing, a natural thing. Embrace it and keep your favorite things at hand always.
5) Herbs to stop chronic inflammation
You’ll find my my trusted anti-inflammatory herbs on this page. However those are more of first-aid.
To reverse the tendency to chronic inflammation of the brain and nervous system, I usually use a different set of herbs.
Rauvolfia Serpentina – or Snakeroot.
While supposed to be a sedative, in fact this highly specialized herb for the nervous system actually helps nerve endings recover electrical balance after shocks. Not everyone needs it, but if your chronic inflammation episodes coincide with severe mental stress, and you have experienced shock in your dreams or shock due to life circumstances, this herb can help.
Yellow Oleander or Thevetia Peruviana
Poisonous when had as a food, the highly diluted form of this beautiful tree, is powerful medicine for a depleted nervous system.
Very often inflammation is the result of the system just being too tired to deal with a problem any other way than sending out the alarm signal; too tired to learn a new way of dealing with pain.
This herb helps relieve that overwhelming feeling of having too much to deal with and restores perspective.
This herb’s famous as a male libido enhancer. However that’s just one of it’s side-effects. It has this rather unique ability to heal those places where the nerves embed into the muscle and tendon tissue.
One of the triggers of chronic inflammation is improper or strained communication between the nerves and muscle tissue.
There’s a role water plays here, and Tribulus just happens to also help there by conditioning the kidneys to support stable functioning.
That tired, drained feeling in the muscles is greatly relieved by Tribulus. It lessens the chance of inflammation by lessening the stress in the nervous system.
Yes, good old liquorice works like a conditioner of the lungs, and the stomach lining – all places where nerve endings are just so ready to get hyper in.
Sweet to the taste, calming to the nerves and a rescuer from all the micro-dramas happening right under nose, liquorice has no side-effects and can only do good.
Slippery Elm Bark and Salix Nigra or Black Willow Bark, also have similar effects.
Centella Asiatica or Gotu Kola
I don’t think enough has been written about this herb even though it’s all over the internet. I find what’s written about it, grossly misleading. It’s been portrayed as a miracle cure for problems with the liver and sometimes with the brain.
In fact its effect is such a holistic – full-body full-system one that to limit it to the liver or brain is misleading.
In one sentence – Centella Asiatica stabilizes the system. Like an earthing wire grounds an imbalanced electrical appliance, this ground hugging herb grounds immediately.
Raw cacao – real chocolate has a little bit of this effect – perhaps why chocolate is so popular and why people in stress reach for chocolate.
But as it’s not very easy to get cacao powder that hasn’t any additives or hasn’t been irradiated while processing and packing, I use Centella Asiatica for the beautiful ground effect.
The only thing to remember about Centella is, if you have it in the evenings, you could find yourself a little too clear headed around bed time and that could lead to you losing sleep while you engage something like reading or brain-storming.
Famous for helping stupid people become intelligent, Ginkgo does something few other easily available botanicals do. It ‘holds’ you in, focuses you.
Not just mentally but physically as well.
No matter what you’ve gone through, you could use something holding your body focused in doing what has to be done to be healed.
This drastically lessens the chance of inflammation as very often inflammation is the result of energy going where it’s not needed.
White Willow Bark – Salix Alba
Famous for being the original source of aspirin, this tree’s a pain killer. I have used it for a long while now for all kinds of pain killer needs. But it also has the ability, when taken in a small dose over a period of time, to rehabilitate the body’s ability to deal with inflammation.
In the case of someone with chronic inflammation, the body is in the habit of dealing with any threat by getting inflamed, swollen and so on. White Willow helps change that habit, helps the body do things like retain and work with nutrition it needs desperately instead of spending all its energy dealing with one inflammation after another.