Top Five Herbs to Treat Autoimmune
Autoimmune disease is a difficult-to-understand phenomenon that involves your immune system seemingly attacking your own tissue, organs and joints. Consequently, symptoms that are widespread among all autoimmune diseases include inflammation, musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Some natural herbal remedies may be effective in combating these primary symptoms, although they should not be thought of as cures for any autoimmune disease.
Because mainstream (i.e., allopathic) health care providers do not study or generally employ alternative medicine in their practices unless it is widely established in “western” medical literature, you will find the best advice regarding these treatments comes from an experienced practitioner of complementary/alternative medicine. However, it is essential that all of your providers know the treatments and dietary modifications you are undertaking so as to avoid any concerning interactions.
What are the top five herbs used to treat common autoimmune symptoms?
Sarsaparilla and yarrow are commonly thought to treat autoimmune symptoms by purifying the blood and reducing joint and muscle inflammation. Sarsaparilla has been used all over the world as a folk remedy for gout, arthritis, fevers, digestive disorders, psoriasis and other skin diseases. Yarrow also displays antiviral properties.
Yucca plant extract is thought to decrease stiffness and pain in muscles and is also good for skin/dermatology-related autoimmune diseases. Yucca can be consumed by mouth or can be found in body soap and shampoo. Chlorella or spirulina is a common supplement to ease lupus symptoms and is packed with vitamins, amino acids and chlorophyll. Green tea is another affordable option; it contains polyphenolic compounds, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. In studies, green tea extract protects rats against autoimmune arthritis by modulating disease-related immune events.
How do I obtain these herbs, and how much should I expect to pay each month?
There are many reputable sources of herbs on-line, but you should choose the most natural and least processed varieties. Further, you should be cautious with products that promise to cure your autoimmune condition with their supplements. Going to a local supplement store gives you the added advantage of being able to talk with the employees, who are sometimes quite helpful with their advice. Herbs can also be readily grown at home, which reduces cost in the long-term and ensures freshness. In terms of cost, most herbal regimens are well-under $50 per month, although it depends on how many herbs you are interested in taking. Sometimes more is better, sometimes it isn’t.
Questions for your naturopath or herbalist:
- If I’m currently breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant soon, is it safe to take these herbs?
- Is it best to take these herbs alongside my other prescriptions for autoimmune symptoms, or to replace some of the medications?
- Is there an ideal time of day to take these herbs (and do they need to be taken every day)?
- Is it better to have some symptom control before starting herbs to compare symptoms while taking prescription-only medication vs. symptoms while taking herbs in addition or instead of prescriptions?
This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com and first published on Sep 1, 2012.
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