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Treating Lupus Naturally
Lupus is an inflammatory auto-immune disorder. Something triggers the immune system to form antibodies to attack body tissue — resulting in the inflammation of joints, connective tissues, lymph nodes, kidneys, and possibly even affecting the brain, lungs, and heart. Symptoms range from moderate to severe and may include swelling and inflammation of the joints (the first symptoms that appear are very similar to arthritis), mouth sores, a red rash, fatigue, low immunity, sun sensitivity, nausea, and depression.
Natural remedies for lupus, such as diet, herbs, and stress reduction techniques, have much to offer people who suffer from this disease. Despite the benefits of improving well-being naturally, it is essential to do so under the supervision of a health care professional. Lupus can be a very troublesome disorder and even dangerous. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment choices.
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Focus on Food
A healthy diet can be used to reduce lupus pain and other symptoms by providing the body with plenty of valuable nutrition to help support immune health. It is also important to avoid foods that may trigger symptoms.
Consider following a cleansing diet for one to three months to help eliminate a substantial amount of toxins that may be aggravating the disease and hindering the body's natural ability to heal. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, sulfur-containing onions and garlic, and fresh pineapple, which is an excellent sources of bromelain, an enzyme that helps to reduce inflammation. Eat whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats. Try to consume vegetable protein sources such as nuts, legumes, seeds, and soy products to provide essential fatty acids and nutrients. Other beneficial foods include:
- Green tea
- Aloe vera juice
Try avoiding potential trigger foods such as the nightshade vegetables, alfalfa sprouts, dairy products, citrus fruits, red meat, paprika, salt, caffeine, and sugary foods.
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Herbal therapy is another natural form of medicine that can be used to reduce lupus symptoms. The following herbs are helpful:
- Milk thistle supports healthy liver function
- Red clover is an alternative herb that helps to correct the blood of impurities, it also has a gentle relaxing effect on the nervous system
- Celery seed also acts as an alternative as well as a diuretic
- Meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory properties but it also supports liver health and reduces pain
- Licorice root tones the adrenal glands (do not use licorice if you have high blood pressure)
- Burdock root is another cleansing herb
- Valerian can be taken to relive pain and to calm the nervous system.
To make a healing tea with any of these herbs steep one to two teaspoons of the dried herb in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups daily. Talk to your doctor before using herbs, especially if you are on any type of medication for lupus, or any other medical conditions.
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Stress Reduction Techniques
Addressing psychological well-being is also important for reducing lupus symptoms and helping the body deal with the disease. Meditation, yoga, or a simple thirty minute walk every day can help reduce stress, improve blood circulation and oxygen flow through the body. Practicing these activities over time can greatly improve well-being, making dealing with lupus much easier.
Other natural therapies that can reduce stress and pain without the use of drugs include acupuncture, reflexology, and therapeutic massage. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in trying any of these forms of complementary and alternative medicine.
Natural remedies for lupus may be right for some patients who are searching for more treatment options beyond medications. There are so many choices available today for lupus patients, from eating a nutrient-rich diet to making mind-body medicine a part of everyday life.
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Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition" (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
Balch, Phyllis A. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).
Lupus Foundation of America <http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_learntreating.aspx?articleid=1734&zoneid=525>
photo by Karen (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/misbehave/461774321/>
photo by Lulumon Athletica <http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/3776338564/>