Alternative treatments for SLE may involve a multi pronged approach. Some or all of the following may be helpful in bringing your lupus under control or helping it to clear up altogether.
Dietary measures:Since lupus is associated with food allergies, it may be wise, as a first course of action, to rule out any of these. Your nutritionist may wish to put you on a strict exclusion diet or test your blood directly, or both (for some DIY allergy investigation tips see WDDTY, 1995; 6(9): 9).
There have been very few studies on lupus and diet (Lancet, 1992; 339: 1177; Ann Rheum Dis, 1991; 50: 463-6). It seems the most helpful advice is to try and maintain a low calorie, low fat diet since that has been shown to help some SLE sufferers (Lancet, Jan 26, 1985), as may supplementation with selenium (Acta Derm Venereal (Stockh), 1982; 62(3): 211-4).
An anti candida programme will include all of the above as well as cutting out refined sugars, and possibly the use of well tolerated conventional anti yeast medication such as nystatin, and/or possibly the use of herbs (such as berberis).
There has been research to show that SLE patients have lower than normal stomach acid levels. Supplements of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex can bring about improvement (J Immuno, 1984; 133(1): 222-6). Since essential fatty acids have an anti inflammatory effect, supplementing your diet with omega-3 derived from fish oils can help reduce the inflammation which often characterizes the disease. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in evening primrose oil, borage oil or blackcurrent seed oil, have also been used with some success (Nutrition and Healing, 1995; 2(12): 12).
Vitamin B6 is known to block the toxic effects of certain drugs and chemicals that cause lupus, so if you are on medication, or being weaned off it, supplements can help to ease symptoms. Large doses of vitamin B6 can in themselves be toxic and should be administered under the guidance of a competent practitioner (see Alan Gaby, B6: The Natural Healer, Keats).
You may also have a “leaky” gut which is allowing excess food molecules to find their way into your blood system. This should be investigated and remedied.
Alfalfa seeds and sprouts (but not the mature tops), and juice can both produce lupus like symptoms and aggravate existing lupus (Science, 1982; 216: 415-7; N Eng J Med, 1983; 308: 1361), so these should be eliminated from your diet.
You may need to invest in a reverse osmosis water purifier (available from Good Healthkeeping on 01507-327655; they can also check your fluoride levels) if you live in a heavily fluoridated area. You will need to reduce or cut out altogether your intake of tea and soft drinks. Drink herbal tea made with non fluoridated water instead. Switch to a non fluoride toothpaste even Boots produce them these days!) Wash all fruit and vegetables, since pesticides contain fluoride.
South African pennywort has a good track record in treating SLE. It is important that you use the African subspecies of SA pennywort, since other varieties do not have the same chemical constituents.
The root of Tripterygium wilfordi may be beneficial in both DLE and SLE though care should be exercised in children and adults of reproductive age since its use may lead to impaired sperm production and cessation of menstrual periods.
Both side effects may eventually disappear when the treatment is discontinued. The glycoside extract of the root is less likely to produce harmful reproductive side effects (J Trad Chin Med, 1983; 3(2): 131-2; Chin Med, 1981; 94: 827-34).
Cistus canadensis can help SLE skin eruptions, although the usual remedy of choice is Thuja.
Another study has shown that nux vomica (both alone and in combination with other remedies) has as high as an 80 per cent success rate (J of Liga Medic Homoeo Inter, 1987; 2(1): 27-31).
High levels of stress can affect the course of autoimmune diseases (Ann Intern Med, 1992; 117: 854-66), so it may be prudent to take up meditation, yoga or any other pastime which allows you to switch off for a while.