Some of the most exciting uses of herbal medicine lie in treating autoimmune disruptions of the immune system. It is not clear why the body turns on its own tissue, not recognising it and attacking it as if it were a threat. It is thought that autoimmune disease is triggered by an infection, insect bite, or extremes of environmental toxins. The immune system’s specific and non-specific defences having been stimulated by the initial assault, seem to continue in a state of chaos creating a cycle of chronic inflammation followed by tissue damage and increasing loss of function at various sites in the body. This is often because the infection or the effects of the triggering factor have not fully cleared from the body.
Examples of autoimmune conditions include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Herbal Medicine and Autoimmune Problems
Clinical studies have shown that herbal products are effective in treating allergies, asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. The herbal approach is broad based and multi-factorial to match the many layers and wide distribution that is characteristic of autoimmune conditions. Herbal medicines are effective in relieving symptoms, reducing inflammation, repairing tissue damage, improving our ability to adapt to stress, improving mood, and at the same time encouraging the body to overthrow the initial cause of the condition.
As with the immune system, herbs are used to strengthen the affected tissues and provide the conditions to neutralise an infection. This serves to halt the cycle of inflammation and tissue damage triggered by the original causative factor(s).
Herbs with their innately complex yet sensitive intelligence intervene in the inflammatory cascades reducing heat and therefore pain, balancing fluid metabolism, and helping restore function.
If you would like to find out more contact your local medical herbalist.