Autoimmunity: Can Herbs Help or Hurt

Autoimmune diseases are complicated and need an expert’s eye to find safe natural alternatives.  The body loses it self regulation or self tolerance in autoimmune disease and as a result, inflammatory molecules rush to the affected target tissues.  The immune system allows production of large amounts of inflammatory cytokines or communication molecules that create tissue damage.  Cells in the CD4+ helper cell family, particularly TH1 and TH17 drive the pathways.  Autoimmune diseases such as listed below are examples of the disruption of the immune system from the regulatory cells and the ‘attack of self’.

Crohn’s

Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (usually Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)

Lupus (or systemic lupus erthmatosus)

Multiple sclerosis

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sjogren’s syndrome

Ulcerative Colitis

The desire to use herbs or botanicals when you have autoimmune disease is not uncommon.  Pharmaceuticals or medications are limited in their effects so holding off and managing symptoms with other tools can be a great option for patients who are in the early stages of autoimmunity even if they have a lot of pain.  I have seen patients well progressed in their disease do well off medications and on botanicals, however it dose take alot of dedication and work.  There is growing interest among patients and the research community to use plants to help manage autoimmune symptoms.

Comments

  1. What are the ways to know that, body has started functioning on autoimmune system? What are the natural remedies to restore your immune system naturally? How to cure dermititis using naturopathy ?

    • Dr. Shannyn says:

      When do you know that your body has started on an autoimmune process?
      This is hard to answer but I think it takes a trained eye to recognize when a patient isn’t responding as we would expect and has a constellation of symptoms which vary from person to person. We can often catch it by more specific testing before it even shows up on the general ANA lab! We can also see which body tissues are involved.
      The natural remedies that work for you are different than the person next to you. Unfortunately it is not as easy to take a collection of herbs. No two patients walk out of my office with the same treatment plan. Everyone is unique as to their disease process, their needs and what works for them. It is like a puzzle.
      Dermatitis can be treated with naturopathic medicine. I have seen many cases resolve. It is best to find someone to work with who can understand your case and see if there is a deficiency, food intolerance or allergy and properly diagnose you.

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