Herbal treatments can be a wonderful supplement to synthetic medications and medical treatments, particularly for illnesses that require long-term care.
For centuries people have been using the healing properties of plants to treat everything from injury to stress.
There are a number of herbs that you can take for autoimmune disease, which can help with both your disease and your overall feeling of health.
However, since autoimmune disease is a blanket term comprising many illnesses that affect different parts of the body, some herbs may only be suitable for treating a specific disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of these herbs may already be in your kitchen, while others are available in tablet form or cream.
As with any alternative treatment, it is always best to speak to your doctor before making any significant changes to diet or adding supplements, particularly if you are already taking medication.
Many of these herbs can interact with medical treatments, which can lead to further complications.
A word of caution…
While herbal remedies are popular for long-term care of a number of disorders, there are also some herbs that should be avoided by people with autoimmune diseases, as they can only cause more damage than good.
When an immune system is severely weakened, try avoiding herbs like Echinacea and Elderberry, and other herbs that may boost the immune system.
Astragalus should also generally be skipped, as high doses can end up suppressing the immune system, dangerous for those whose systems are already weakened.
That being said, these are some of the herbs that can help relieve some of the suffering related to autoimmune diseases.
Chamomile is excellent for relaxing the body, and is often used as a sleep aid. Found in forms from tea to capsule to lotion, chamomile is very helpful in reducing swelling throughout the body, particularly in muscles and joints.
Those with chronic pain from multiple sclerosis or with disorders of the skin often find chamomile helps with pain relief and sleep.
King of Bitters
This incredible plant has been used in China for centuries as a medical treatment for everything from infections to fevers.
However, it is particularly useful for relieving swelling in joints, which can help reduce the pain of arthritis. Typically, this herb is found in capsule form.
This plant has a long history of use throughout Asia, and its antioxidant properties can help reduce pain and swelling in the body.
People with psoriasis and skin conditions may find that it causes flare ups less often. It is often added to food dishes, and can also be taken ion capsule form.
This herbal remedy has found a modern use as a diuretic, but it has been used for centuries to treat everything from common colds to spleen conditions. Those with arthritis and gout are likely to find the most relief from celery seed.
Borage Oil (Starflower)
Borage oil has been used in treatments throughout Europe for many years, including use to help with positive mental health.
Those who suffer from stiff or painful joints typically like to take borage oil as a supplement, and some have even reported being able to lower the dosage of other medications.
Evening Primrose Oil
Derived from a small wildflower, this herbal treatment is similar to borage oil. It can be helpful for those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as it reduces bloating and pain.
Ginger is both delicious and helpful for a number of conditions, making it a great choice for many people with autoimmune diseases to add it to their treatment routine.
In addition to having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can also be helpful in easing stomach discomfort and chronic pain.
Along with its calming smell, rosemary is excellent for helping with sore muscles. It has a number of other health benefits, such as acting as an antioxidant and promoting healthy brain activity. Rosemary can be helpful to ease skin irritation, and is available in many forms.
Cayenne pepper has long been praised for its use in jumpstarting metabolism and helping with digestive problems, but it is also very helpful for sufferers of arthritis.
A cream made from capsaicin – found in the pepper – has been shown to be effective in treating pain when applied topically.
Some sufferers of psoriasis have seen improvement with capsaicin cream, while others feel that it burns when applied, so always try any new creams in a small area.
Long used in Ayurvedic healing, Indian ginseng – also known as ashwagandha or asana – has been known to help reduce inflammation and pain. Current research is looking into its effectiveness with helping sufferers of multiple sclerosis.
Catnip is praised by many people with chronic pain from multiple sclerosis as an effective form of pain relief. However – just like with Fluffy – it can promote relaxation, which may have a sedative effect on the user.
Milk thistle is excellent for promoting a healthy liver, and it can be helpful for those who have liver damage related to an autoimmune disorder. However, those with diabetes should steer clear of milk thistle, as it may reduce the blood sugar excessively.
In addition to its use in the kitchen, garlic has been used as an alternative medicine throughout history. Researchers are looking into how the chemical found in garlic, allicin, may be helpful to those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Hydrangea root is another herb that has researchers intrigued by the possibility of it as a treatment for a number of autoimmune diseases.
Cursory research has shown that a specific compound in the herb may actually address overactive cells that cause inflammation and pain.
Specifically, hydrangea root may be useful for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, IBS, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and diabetes.
Remember, herbal treatments may be helpful in helping to relieve chronic pain related to autoimmune diseases, but always speak with a medical professional to ensure that taking one of these herbs won’t interact with any medication or underlying health conditions.