Lupus is a serous health condition affecting over 1.5 million people, according to Lupus.org. The chronic auto-immune disease affects most parts of the body, including skin, joints and organs.Traditional treatment is needed for controlling the painful condition. Adding certain herbs can compliment medication decreasing flares, but natural healing with a few plants must be treated with caution due to complications.
Herbs That Benefit Lupus
Feverfew is a member of the sunflower family and has been used for centuries for a variety of conditions. Arthritis, muscle pain and headaches are just a few of ailments that have been helped with feverfew. Feverfew may also interact with certain drug medications, so discuss the herb with a health care provider before using. Capsules are available at health food stores and pharmacies. Phyllis Balch, CNC and author of “Prescription for Herbal Healing” suggests taking 1000 mg. daily to benefit lupus.
Stinging Nettle decreases inflammation and pain and used for thousands of years to reduce joint pain and arthritis. In an open randomized study, stinging nettle revealed effectiveness when taken with diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Stinging nettle is similar to the dandelion leaf which is noted for getting rid of uric acid in the joints. The herb also contains boron, a mineral noted for ridding uric acid in joints and bones. Not only does boron maintain hormone function, it also helps retain calcium. The herb is convenient to swallow in capsules and Balch advises taking 600-900 mg. per day to relieve lupus symptoms and medication side effects. It is considered safe to take, but use caution taking it topically as its been reported to cause rashes.
Herbs to Avoid With Lupus
Alfalfa has offered benefits for centuries for many conditions, but lupus is not one of them. The culprit compounded in the sprout or seed is L-canavanine, a non-protein amino acid found in seeds, legumes and certain plants. Alfalfa may be hidden in vitamins, food and teas, so lupus patients should carefully read labels to avoid alfalfa. Replace alfalfa with broccoli sprouts or buckwheat sprouts. Herbs that stimulate the immune system should not be used by lupus patients. Ephedra, which has many safety issues and has been questionable for the past decade should be avoided. Also, ginkgo biloba should be avoided as there hasn’t been enough research to tell if it is safe for lupus patients.
“Prescription for Herbal Healing”; Phyllis Balch, CNC; 2002