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Auto-Immunity and Chinese Herbal Medicine

The ancient Chinese medical practitioners were very proficient at tracking case outcomes over time and this led to long clinical histories in treating various symptom pictures that are now identified in the west as named disorders. One of these would be called autoimmune disorders in Western pathology.
It is interesting to note that the Chinese practitioners traditionally used herbs in 4 distinct therapeutic categories to treat the symptoms of autoimmune conditions. This includes the tonics which are strengthening herbs that can be taken without consequence infinitely. The toxin clearing herbs which lessen inflammatory mediators in the blood as well as organisms which will trigger the immune system. The blood activating herbs which can modulate the immune system and the Blood building herbs The tonic herbs are known to stimulate the immune system and are used for auto-immunity which is in contrast to Western medicine where the standard approach is to suppress the immune system. Apparently the Chinese herbal practitioners were trying to access a set point for the immune system which would serve as an adaptogenic control mechanism which would control the immune system whether it was hyper or hypo-active.
The tonic herbs which replenish the energy of the body and restore normal functioning of the immune system. Typical tonic herbs are astragalus, ganoderma, codonopsis, atractylodes, ginseng and dioscorea. The herbs herbs which nourish the blood and strengthen the essence (essence is the strength for maintaining cellular identity) are ligustrum, rhemannia, lycium fruit and ho-show-wu. Some blood activating herbs are cistanche, epimedium, eucommia and cuscuta. The toxin clearing herbs are long dan cao (gentian), huang qin (scutellaria), huang bai (phellodendron), and huang lian (coptis).
In Chinese medicine and possibly in Western medicine autoimmune diseases may be triggered by a deficiency related by a loss of the cellular identity or controls that the immune system needs to prevent action against self.
A general strategy for treating autoimmune conditions would be to start with a tonic formula such as Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan or Gui Pi Tang. Then use a toxin clearing formula that will cool the blood such a Qing Ying Tang and finish with a blood activating formula such as You Gui Wan.
All in one formulas for specific autoimmune conditions are Qin Jiao Bie Jia San for Lupus, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang for Myasthenia Gravis and Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang for Multiple Sclerosis.
Additional considerations when treating autoimmune conditions inculde eliminating wheat from the diet and introducing bifidus specific probiotic supplementation. Recent research has shown that immune system reactions to wheat lectins are higher in persons suffering from diseases such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Bifidus longum bacteria has been shown to be the most effective in decreasing immune system mediated inflammation at the gut wall. By reducing immune system mediated inflammation you can make it easier to stabilize the immune system.

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Dr. Frank Ervolino graduated from the prestigious Bastyr University in 1995 with a degree in Naturopathic medicine. During this time he not only studied Western herbal medicine, but studied the supplement industry formulation and manufacturing from Dr. Buck Levin, Ph. D. and the traditional use of herbs by the native tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Read More

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