A local response of the tissues to irritation or injury.


A local response to cellular injury or an affliction characterized by capillary constriction, then dilation, white corpuscle or leukocytic infiltration, redness, local heat and swelling from congestion, the exudation of noxious wastes in fluids, and the deposition of fibrin to replace the damaged tissue. Serum or white corpuscles are pushed and cause expansion or an elevation of the temperature which carries through the walls of the capillaries into the surrounding tissues or interstices. [SNH p.33]


Inflammation is often caused by an abrasion of the clothing, bites of poisonous insects, bumping, shingles, welts, by an acid condition of the body affecting the nervous system, or from an internal acid condition of the urine or the orifice of the genital area.

Herbal Aids:

General Instructions: This condition must be aided instead of inhibited. If the process is stopped it can be compared to putting the cork on the poison bottle. When inflammation is accompanied by blood poisoning use plantain to purge the poisons from the body. If inflammation is caused by a rheumatoid or arthritic condition, either burdock leaves or mullein in combination with lobelia will facilitate cleansing. [SNH p.33]

Lumbago - Inflammation of the Lumbar Muscles: Lumbago is one of the most painful conditions. The use of vapor baths and the Cold Sheet Treatment will bring relief. A massage with a tincture of cayenne and prickly ash liniment with antispasmodic tincture [Anti-Spasmodic Formula tincture] will work very well. The eliminative functions should be corrected, especially the bowels which need to be cleaned during attacks. Garlic and lobelia enemas work well. [SNH p.35]

Burdock: Large sores, skin diseases, inflammation, swelling. Apply a hot fomentation of the tea to the affected part, cover with plastic or oil silk to prevent evaporation and bandage; leave on until almost dry, then cleanse the area and make another application; repeat until healed. [SNH p.65]

Chaparral: Old sores, inflammation. Apply a hot fomentation of the infusion. [SNH p.71]

Sciatica and Inward Inflammation: See formula using oil of sassafras, oil of rosemary, oil of oregano, cayenne, camphor and rubbing alcohol. [SNH p.81]

Yellow Dock: Apply a fomentation over the affected part that is wrung out from the strong decoction of hot tea. [SNH p.94]

Red Oak: Use the decoction as a wash, and bathe 3-4 times daily (dilute for open sores); also a fomentation may be wrapped around the affected part and covered well with flannel. [SNH p.139]

Witch Hazel: Apply as a poultice, fomentation, or wash. [SNH p.179]

Comfrey: Inflammation, bruises, sprains, swellings, suppuration of boils. Apply a fomentation made from the comfrey root or leaves. [SNH p.310]

Lobelia: When there is acute swelling, such as with boils or inflammation, an external rub of the tincture or a poultice of the bruised herb mixed with flaxseed or bran, suitably moistened, will relieve the pain. [UW-Lobelia]

Myrrh: Applied to fresh wounds, the tincture of Myrrh excites healing action and lessens the liability to inflammation or suppuration. [UW-Myrrh]

Marshmallow: The herb has been in use long among the Arabs, the ancient Arab physicians using the leaves as a poultice to suppress inflammation, the modern using them the same, chewing the stems well and applying the pulp, well-mixed with saliva and still warm from the mouth, to inflamed parts of the skin and to sores and swellings (Lev:Common:94). [UW-Marshmallow]

Burdock: Burdock is well-known world wide as a blood purifying agent and if the leaves are pounded and put on the bruise, abrasion, sprain, etc., it will allay inflammation and ease the pain. [NL 3-1]


1. Mullein: We can report near miraculous results with Mullein ointment in the wilderness. We camped in one of the most mosquito-infested areas in the world, Alaska. The children (and adults) were bitten a great deal. Although we have not yet found a really effective natural mosquito repellent (we didn't rub ourselves with a garlic clove as someone suggested, however; that might work), we found that a simple dab of Mullein ointment was enough to stop the itching and inflammation immediately. We felt very lucky to have the ointment along with us. [UW-Mullein]

2. Plantain: Dr. Shook also described a great healing experience with Plantain. A woman with only one arm came to him in great distress. She had been stung by a bee on the only hand she had left. Several years previously, she had been similarly stung by a bee. That time she had gone to a doctor, because the whole arm was swollen and she was in great pain and even danger of her life with the infection.

The doctor lanced and drained the pus from the infected hand, but still the arm continued to swell. Finally, the doctor amputated the arm. This lady was full of despair, thinking that now she would have to lose the other arm.

Dr. Shook went outside his door to where some Plantain was growing. He picked some of the leaves, telling the woman to wash them and crush them, making a poultice to apply to the arm where she had been stung. The next day the lady returned to thank Dr. Shook for his advice and to pay him. The hand was entirely well. No sign of poison or inflammation could be seen, where only a day before there was swelling, inflammation, and the risk of amputation. [UW-Plantain]

See Also:

Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture
Complete Tissue & Bone: Dr. Christopher's Bone, Flesh and Cartilage Formula
Cayenne: Dr. Christophers many Cayenne Combinations

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"