Natural Remedies for Treating Lupus

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when your immune system turns against tissues and organs throughout your body. Symptoms vary, but often include fatigue, joint pain, and hair loss.

Alongside standard medical treatment, some people reduce their symptoms with the help of various natural remedies. This article explains lupus and natural remedies to help manage it.

What Is Lupus?

There are several types of lupus, including:

Lupus can set off inflammation and cause damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, joints, skin, kidneys, and other parts of the body. In addition, it can trigger major health problems, including:

While complications arising from lupus can be fatal, the disease often goes into remission, sometimes lasting for years. However, since lupus can be life-threatening, it's crucial to seek medical care rather than attempting to self-treat the disease.

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Lupus Symptoms

Lupus is sometimes difficult to diagnose. That's because the symptoms often overlap with symptoms of other health conditions. In addition, they can vary widely from case to case. Symptoms of lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin lesions (typically aggravated by sun exposure)
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the face (covering the cheeks and bridge of the nose)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Chest pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss

Natural Treatments

Keep in mind that so far, scientific support for the claim that any form of alternative medicine can treat lupus is lacking. However, there are some complementary therapies that some people find beneficial.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can curb inflammation. In addition, several studies have also found that they improve lupus symptoms. You can increase your omega-3 intake by eating oily fish (such as salmon and sardines), flaxseeds, or by taking a daily omega-3 supplement.

Herbal Medicine

Though not explicitly studied in lupus patients, some herbs may support lupus symptoms. Specifically, anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric may be helpful for those experiencing arthritic symptoms.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Corticosteroids (inflammation-fighting drugs often used in lupus treatment) may thin your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis. Ask your healthcare provider about daily vitamin D and calcium supplements to keep your bones strong while on corticosteroids.

Mind-Body Therapies

Using mind-body techniques like hypnotherapy and guided imagery may help you deal with the stress of lupus. To further alleviate stress, make sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. Ask a healthcare provider about the amount and types of exercise that are right for you.

DHEA

Research suggests that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid hormone essential to the production of estrogen and testosterone) may enhance quality-of-life for people with lupus.

While DHEA shows promise as a complementary treatment for lupus, regular use of DHEA supplements could raise your risk of heart attack and some types of cancer. Therefore, it's critical to use DHEA only under the supervision of your primary care provider.

Recap

There is insufficient evidence to support using most supplements as lupus treatments. However, some commonly used for symptom relief and support include omega-3 fatty acids, herbs and vitamins, and relaxation techniques.

Using Natural Remedies

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend alternative medicine to treat lupus. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test or regulate supplements. Therefore, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also, keep in mind that the safety of supplements has not been established in higher-risk populations, including:

  • People who are pregnant
  • Those who are breastfeeding
  • Children
  • Those with medical conditions
  • People who are taking medications

If you're considering alternative medicine, talk with a healthcare provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Recap

There is not enough evidence to recommend most natural remedies for treating lupus. If you want to incorporate natural therapies into your care, be sure to talk about it with your healthcare provider first. They can help you determine which therapies might complement your treatment plan best and how to choose the right products.

Summary

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that has many varied symptoms. In addition to standard medical care, some people use natural remedies, including vitamins, herbs, and relaxation techniques. However, it is essential to work with a healthcare provider before incorporating supplements into your treatment plan.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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