Natural products as anti-inflammatory drugs
Compounds that are considered to be anti-inflammatory have to reduce inflammation and swelling in the place of infection or damaged tissue. Medicinal chemists have developed a vast library of synthetic compounds that are quite effective to reduce inflammation, however, they are still looking into nature and its library of natural compounds for novel effects and treatments, so keep reading to learn more about natural compounds as an anti-inflammatory treatment.
Causes of inflammation
As we mentioned, inflammations typically happen in the places where bacteria, fungi, or viruses have entered the body or are a response to tissue damage, cell death, cancer, or ischemia.
All of this causes a rapid release of several biological modulators from our immune system, which leads to the release of fluids in damaged tissue to localize the damage hence the swelling to stop the spread of infectious particles and chemicals.
In most cases, inflammation is nothing bad and is just your natural response to threat the issue and will go in a day or two. The problem comes when inflammation is becoming a persistent problem – chronic inflammation, which can cause several issues like chronic pain, fatigue, fever, and more.
Natural products in the treatment of inflammation
Natural compounds have been quite extensively studied for their anti-inflammatory properties. Most of the curiosity of medicinal chemists towards natural compounds comes from folk remedies.
For example, birch bark extract and paste have been used to threaten several skin diseases that lead to cracking of the skin and other types of injuries. This extract was able to not only reduce swelling and redness but also promote healing.
Later it was identified that the active compound of this extract is betulin, which has been further studied for anti-inflammation effects and has been identified as a potential additive for the treatment of cancer to relieve inflammation associated with chemotherapy.
This in fact has gathered all the attention to the compounds associated with folk medicine exhibiting similar effects.
Natural compounds as enzymatic modulators to suppress inflammation
We already mentioned betulin’s ability to reduce inflammation, however, its structure can support its use as a direct antioxidant. It has been proven, that natural compounds like oleanolic acid, dihydromyricetin, ferulic acid, and others can inhibit the same cellular pathways as commercially synthesized non-steroidal and steroidal inflammatory drugs.
Natural compound class triterpenoids and other phytoestrogens/phytoandrogens can indeed show similar activity to steroidal drugs. These compounds are able to suppress immune system response hence leading to reduction of inflammation.
Other natural compounds can act similarly to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins by affecting very well-known COX enzymes, which are especially active during inflammation.
Also, reduction in nitric oxide synthase can lead to similar effects as antioxidants together with a reduction of swelling.
Natural compounds have a lot to offer in the treatment of inflammation and you can find in nature many supplements for you to help treat medicinal problems. If you choose to look in the large library of natural compounds, visit our products store for high-quality natural chemicals that exhibit interesting biological activities.