Lupus or SLE, i.e. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a disease which affects the muscle that decreases the disease-fighting power of the body. There is degeneration of cells which results in more reduction in strength and immunity and the body is not able to fight it. Gradually all the dhatus of the body become vitiated and it becomes difficult to detoxify the body. As we know it is an autoimmune disease and as per Ayurvedic teaching, any autoimmune disease is a result of the low digestive fire. Due to this ama (toxin) gets collected in different parts of the body. Our immune system recognizes it as a foreign substance and attacks it. During this attack, a healthy tissue on which this ama is deposited gets destroyed.
Meaning- Due to eating an excess amount of food, Vata and all other doshas aggravate suddenly together and associated with Ama, i.e. undigested and vitiated food which produces disease.
Reference- Ashtang Hridya, Chapter 8, Shloka no. 4
Ayurveda targets mainly to restore the immunity naturally so that the body of the patient itself can fight against the disease. Every patient is individualized and every case is treated individually as every person is different from another and their disease and response to disease also vary.
Some of the common symptoms of SLE are pain and swelling in joints, pain in muscles, fatigue, fever, increased sensitivity to the Sun, and skin rashes. According to old school medicine system, there is no cure for it but as we said earlier Ayurvedic approach is much different and believes in treating and managing this disease.
Other than herbs there are some natural ways which one can start following in order to fight lupus and prevent its flare-ups. Along with herbal remedies if some of the natural things are adopted, then flare-ups can be prevented and managed. Let’s see what they are.
1. Sun and Sunscreen
Avoid too much exposure to the sun as ultraviolet rays from the Sun can cause a flare in lupus patient and cause rashes on the skin. Use sunscreen before going out in the Sun on the whole body as clothes cannot provide significant protection from ultraviolet rays. For further protection, you can use sunglasses and a hat. Avoid going too much in bright sunlight.
2. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine present in coffee and drinks can increase the irritation in the body and also causes disturbances in sleep. Thereby, cut down the consumption of caffeine-containing things. Alcohol as widely known is very bad for your heart, muscles, kidneys, and liver. These organs are already affected in SLE hence intake of alcohol can aggravate it. Alcohol also suppresses the immunity of a person, means too bad for a person with lupus.
3. Take Anti-inflammatory Foods
Avoid intake of things which can increase inflammation and take foods which soothes the inflammation. Do not take much of fatty foods, food containing zinc, protein, and iron. Increase consumption of foods that are filled with vitamin A, D, E, selenium, and calcium.
4. Avoid Processed Food
Decrease the intake of sugar, salt, packaged and processed foods. As all these foods have bad effects on your kidneys and liver, it also increases ama production in the body. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to obesity and many other health issues.
5. Maintain Regularity
Habit of consuming food at an irregular time can lead to toxin formation in the body. Do not indulge in the nightlife, have proper sleep at night. Avoid sleeping in the daytime and do not eat stale food.
6. Foods to be taken
Take light food which is easy to digest. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be taken. Some examples are like intake of cranberries as a fruit or in the form of juice helps to prevent urinary tract infection, the tomato is rich in lycopene which helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, food rich in vitamin C – cabbage, citrus fruits, cauliflower, green peppers, and strawberries should be taken.
7. Exercise more Often
Studies have shown that people suffering from SLE have shown to be happier and fresher when they do regular exercise. Exercising regularly also prevents obesity and heart diseases.
8. Avoid intake of Non- Vegetarian food
Non-vegetarian food is difficult to digest and more likely to produce ama which is the root cause of lupus. Hence, the intake of non-vegetarian food should be avoided.
9. Say no to Stress
It is the reason for worsening the symptoms of this disease. Therefore it should be managed with the help of various relaxing exercises like deep breathing, guided imagery, and meditation. All these easy techniques can help one to beat the stress.
10. Have Sound Sleep
Having less sleep can weaken the immunity of a person, making one more prone to autoimmune conditions. Studies have shown less sleep or disturbed sleep is a common cause for chronic inflammations like in SLE. Thereby, one should try to have enough sleep of 7-9 hours per day.
11. Quit Smoking
Smoking is good for nothing and in the case of lupus, it worsens the condition. Health issues associated with SLE like respiratory troubles, kidney disease, and Raynaud’s phenomenon, all are found to worse in people with lupus who smoke regularly. Hence, stop smoking from the very first moment.
12. Gulkand and Walnuts
Mouth and nose ulcers in lupus can be treated by having daily two teaspoons of Gulkand. If there are deteriorating changes in the nervous system, have walnuts and almonds.