Lupus does not have a cure, whether through medication or natural treatments. However, people may find that certain herbs, supplements, and mind-body therapies help reduce the symptoms.
Lupus treatments aim to reduce the inflammation and damage the condition causes, along with the frequency of flares. Researchers have studied several natural treatments, such as curcumin, omega-3s, vitamin D, green tea, and cognitive therapies.
While some studies suggest possible benefits, further research is necessary to determine the effectiveness and safety of these remedies.
This article will discuss potential natural treatments for lupus, including foods, herbs, supplements, and mind-body therapies, as well as when to speak with a doctor.
Currently, there is no cure for lupus. Treatments aim to lessen symptoms, reduce organ damage, and prevent flares.
Natural treatments for lupus do exist, but their effectiveness is uncertain. According to the
No, it is not possible to self-treat lupus. While some medications that may help reduce symptoms are available over the counter, such as pain medication, lupus can cause damage to the body that a person cannot see, which may have lasting consequences.
Only a medical professional can monitor this. They can also recommend evidence-based treatments that are tailored to a person’s situation.
If someone is considering natural treatments for lupus, it is best to talk with a doctor first, wherever possible. Natural treatments can have risks and may interact negatively with other medications.
There is no specific diet that helps with lupus. Instead, the
Nutritious foods include:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains, such as oats, whole wheat, or quinoa
- lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, or tofu
A doctor may recommend avoiding or eating more of certain foods based on individual needs.
There are several supplements that researchers have examined for their potential positive effects on lupus.
Curcumin is a compound in turmeric. Research has shown that curcumin has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Curcumin may also have immunomodulatory effects, which means it may help reduce the immune response.
According to a 2022 review, previous studies suggest that curcumin may help treat SLE by preventing B cell activation and oxidative stress and by inhibiting antibody production. However, more large-scale trials are necessary to determine its safety and effects.
Omega-3 fish oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are substances that occur naturally in several foods, particularly fish. They can have anti-inflammatory effects, making them potentially useful for lupus.
A 2022 systematic review examined fish oil’s effects on both SLE and cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), which is a form of SLE that only affects the skin.
In one study, omega-3 fish oils improved skin findings and positively affected the Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM) index, which is what the researchers used to measure disease severity.
Many people with SLE have vitamin D deficiency.
This is important because vitamin D has regulatory effects on the immune system. However, one of the main sources of vitamin D is sunlight, and sunlight can trigger lupus symptoms. As a result, it may be helpful for people with the condition to take vitamin D supplements instead.
The review examined multiple studies, one of which showed that pro-inflammatory cytokine levels improved with vitamin D supplementation after 12 months. However, more research is necessary.
Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Previous research has shown that EGCG may benefit the immune system by:
- increasing the number of regulatory T cells
- modulate cytokine production
- suppress autoimmunity
However, research on green tea’s effects in patients with SLE is limited, and its efficacy is uncertain.
DHEA is a steroid hormone that helps control inflammation. Some people with SLE have reduced DHEA, leading some to speculate that it might be helpful for people to take it as a supplement.
Mind-body therapies are a group of complementary treatments that focus on how the mind and body work together, influencing mood, concentration, and memory. They may help a person cope with the impacts of the condition.
Many people with lupus experience cognitive dysfunction, regardless of whether the condition is directly affecting their brain or nervous system. This can cause symptoms that affect a person’s attention, memory, and ability to tell where objects are in space.
Cognitive rehabilitation focuses on restoring cognitive function through education and cognitive training exercises, such as playing chess. Rehabilitation can also include memory aids, prioritization, and time optimization training.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
In addition to the physical effects of lupus on cognitive function, living with the condition can also be challenging and affect a person’s mental health.
Cognitive behavioral therapy may assist with this by helping a person identify difficult emotions and what is causing them. A therapist then helps a person learn coping skills, stress management, and relaxation techniques.
People with lupus who are considering trying natural treatments should speak with a doctor beforehand. They will be able to advise on whether the treatment is safe for them or whether it is likely to be beneficial.
People should also speak with their doctor if they experience any treatment side effects or new symptoms while using natural treatments or if their current regimen is not working.
No form of treatment can cure lupus. However, there is some evidence that certain natural treatments may help reduce the symptoms and inflammation it causes. These include curcumin, omega-3s, vitamin D, and green tea.
Natural treatments cannot replace medical treatment for lupus. The disease can cause damage to the body, and despite some limited evidence suggesting that the above supplements are beneficial, there is no evidence that they can treat lupus on their own.
People with lupus require support from a doctor. Anyone considering natural options should speak with a doctor before trying them, as they may not be suitable for everyone.