Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I have oral lichen planus, which is very distressing for me. My gums are red and receding and bleed when I brush. I know this is an immune problem. I am not currently taking anything for it – are there any natural products that I could take to help with this condition? Thanks.” — Juanita M., Kenosha, WI
A. Dear Juanita, Oral lichen planus is an inflammatory condition that affects the mucous membranes inside the mouth. It often appears as white, lacy patches; red, swollen tissues; or open lesions that may cause burning, pain or other discomfort. The condition is autoimmune in nature, meaning it is caused when the body’s own immune system mounts an attack against itself (in the case of oral lichen planus – on the mucous membranes of the mouth). I can understand your distress but be assured that there are natural options available.
When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, good dental hygiene – brushing and flossing, plus regular checkups – is essential. In addition, I believe there are supplements you can take that will help to alleviate some of the painful and bothersome symptoms associated with oral lichen planus.
I would recommend adding curcumin to your daily regimen. Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory that works, via multiple pathways, to benefit overall health. I recommend taking 750 mg of curcumin twice daily.
To this, I would also recommend adding a formula that contains a special combination of just boswellia and curcumin. Curcumin and boswellia are two Indian plants that exhibit very effective anti-inflammatory properties, which will help to further reduce pain because of their anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to promote tissue repair. I recommend taking 1 softgel of this combination twice daily.
When looking for either formula, keep in mind that standard curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so make sure the products you choose feature a curcumin with excellent absorption that has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses micronized curcumin blended with turmeric essential oils in a patented process. This curcumin has been shown in published human studies to be up to 10 times better absorbed than standard curcumin.
It’s also important to find formulas that feature a boswellia extract that has filtered out the majority of beta-boswellic acid, to at least 5% or less. Unlike most boswellic acids, beta-boswellic acid is actually pro-inflammatory. Removing it greatly enhances the potency of the boswellia extract. You also want a boswellia extract that includes at least 10% or more of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), the most active component of boswellia.
My last recommendation would be a blend of concentrated plant oils that features peppermint, clove, cinnamon, and oregano oils. Each of these oils has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Chew one softgel of this oil blend three times daily. For best results, I encourage you to chew or dissolve the softgel and allow the oil to remain in your mouth for at least 15-30 seconds, swishing it between your teeth. At the end of the 15-30 seconds, you can either spit it out or swallow it.
Just be sure to choose a formula which features concentrated plant oils that have been laboratory tested to accurately identify elements of their natural chemical composition. Unlike essential oils used for massage and aromatherapy, these plant oils are tested and “fingerprinted” based on specific molecular makeup, species, marker compounds, purity and safety for internal medicinal use. The extraordinary potency of these tested plant oils allows for relatively low doses, but very powerful health benefits.
Terry . . . Naturally