From Napoleon Bonaparte of the French all the way to Julius Caesar and his Collasal Roman armies, all these men had one thing in common. They understood that no threat is greater than one from the inside. Today, we’ll be talking about a condition that makes your body turn against itself and launch an attack against its own tissues.
Currently, over 5 million people in the world suffer from some form of lupus, and 2 million of them are Americans. The numbers don’t get any easier for the fairer sex seeing that well over 90% lupus suffers are actually women. But that doesn’t mean that men are safe too.
In this segment, we’ll be looking at what exactly lupus is and how it presents itself in the human body. We’ll also dig into a few possible causes and risk factors that could contribute to the development of the condition.
As always, Olivia’s got all 411 on the available medical treatments for lupus, some home remedies for quick relief and how essential oils are helping people overcome lupus all around the world. So stick around guys, I promise to take great care of you in my all-inclusive, comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Lupus.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system becomes hyperactive and starts attacking normal, healthy tissue and organs. Under normal circumstances, your immune system is responsible for fighting off germs, bacteria, viruses, flu, and other foreign invaders. To achieve this, it produces proteins known as antibodies which protect your body from a myriad of invaders.
In the case of Lupus, your immune system becomes unable to tell the difference between these foreign invaders and healthy tissue. This results in the misdirection of antibodies which focus their attack on healthy tissue destroying it in the process. As you would expect, this can have an adverse effect on a broad range of body systems.
In addition to causing pain, swelling, inflammation and tissue damage, lupus can cause a plethora of clinical manifestations affecting the brain, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, other internal organs and most commonly, the skin.
Before we get to the symptoms, let’s debunk a few uneducated myths right here and now.
- First off, Lupus is NOT contagious by any means whatsoever. You just can’t catch or give lupus to someone, not even through sexual contact.
- Lupus is not related to cancer at all; cancer is the abnormal and malignant growth of tissue that grows and spread rapidly while lupus is as described above.
- Similarly, Lupus is totally unrelated to HIV or AIDS. In HIV, the immune system is extremely underactive whereas lupus causes the immune system to be hyperactive.
- While lupus tends to be more common in women of childbearing age, men, kids, and teenagers also develop the condition too.
Symptoms And Warning Signs Of Lupus
The symptoms of lupus are incredibly similar to very many other health conditions; which makes it one of the hardest ailments to correctly diagnose. But that’s not even the hard part! Now two cases of lupus are ever alike and the signs and symptoms could either come in suddenly or develop slowly over time. What’s more, they could be temporary and mild, or lifelong and severe.
So while some lupus patients are able to lead normal and happy lives, others will struggle with incredibly severe symptoms that can be debilitating for most of the time. Not to mention the unpredictable flare-ups and uncertain periods of remission that follow. However, almost everyone with lupus will complain of swelling, joint pains, among others depending on the body parts affected. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the symptoms and early warning signs that come with lupus below.
- General body discomfort
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pains, stiffness, edema, and swelling
- Muscle aches
- Oral ulcers and sores (COLD SORES)
- Dry eyes and blurred vision
- Fever, headaches, and memory loss
- Hair loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Chest pains and shortness of breath
- Butterfly shaped rashes on face and cheeks
- Skin lesions that worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
- Blood in urine and anemia
- Arthritis aches
- Anxiety and depression
- Other complications such as high risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, lung damage, infections, stroke, seizures, kidney damage, among others
Causes And Risk Factors Of Lupus
First off, lupus is a highly complex disease whose primary cause has not yet been fully understood. Anyone who tells you otherwise is taking you for a ride. But while the exact cause is still not agreed upon by the medical community, researchers concur that genetics and environmental factors could play a significant role.
For the genetic causes, it’s believed that lupus is influenced by multiple genes including those in the Human Leukocyte Antigen. Aside from hereditary causes, other potential causes could include viruses, allergic reactions, emotional stress, estrogen disruptions, hormonal imbalances, metal toxicity and poor digestion. I’ve rounded up all the causes and risk factors of lupus below:
- Having genetic susceptibility or a family history of lupus and other autoimmune disorders
- Being between the ages of 15-44
- Being a woman of childbearing age
- Being of African-American or Asian decent makes you 3 times more prone to developing lupus
- Food allergies and sensitivity
- Exposure to heavy metals and toxicity
- Eating a poor diet with nutritional deficiencies
- History of infections and autoimmune disorders
Treatments And Remedies For Lupus
As explained above, the symptoms of lupus are incredibly similar to very many other health conditions. It’s this mimicking behavior that makes it one of the hardest ailments to diagnose. In fact, it takes hundreds of thousands of lupus patients years to get a correct diagnosis. This translates to people being misdiagnosed year after year with hundreds of prescriptions that never seem to fix the problem.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for lupus. The goal of most treatments is usually centered on symptom relief and protecting organs from further damage. I’ve compiled some of the most effective conventional medications as well as natural treatments and home remedies that will not only help manage the symptoms of lupus, but also contribute to improving your overall immune function. These include:
1. Conventional Prescription Medication
As always, no one gets to the scene faster than pharmaceutical companies if just for the profits. In the US alone, Lupus treatment is a multi-million dollar industry that is steadily growing. That’s because doctors prescribe an unbelievable combination of drugs and experiment with their patients until the right combination is found. Combine that with what the person may be already taking for self-medication and you’ve got a recipe for side effect disaster. This includes anxiety, depression, dependence on the drugs themselves and a higher risk of developing other problems. Some of the most common prescription medications used to manage the symptoms of lupus include:
a) Immunosuppressive medications
These include pharmaceuticals like corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, and others which help calm the overactive immune system and control inflammation. But while these drugs might lower inflammation and offer relief from the pains and aches associated with lupus, they also come with some devastating side effects. Not only do immunosuppressive medications cause kidney problems, hair loss, lung damage, irregular periods, pancreatitis, worsened photosensitivity, and even higher risk of cancer, they actually reduce your body’s natural ability to fight off infections and viruses.
b) NSAID Painkillers
As the name suggests, these types of medications target the joint pains and aches, headaches, tenderness and discomfort associated with lupus. However, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs often cause kidney and liver damage. Likewise, they can be incredibly addictive in nature and users almost always develop a dependence on these medications.
In the case of severe lupus, steroids such as hydrocortisone have been used to reduce instances of swelling, rashes, pain and inflammation. But as you would expect, there are many different side effects of steroid use such as sudden weight gain, hormonal changes, acne, mood changes, irritability, insomnia, anxiety and depression and higher risk of bone loss.
At times, anticoagulants and blood pressure medications can be used to treat certain symptoms of lupus. These include issues with blood clotting, rectifying blood pressure changes among others. With anticoagulants, you can expect life-threatening side effects such as heart problems, increased bleeding, weakness and exceedingly low blood pressure.
2. Natural Treatments
Now that you’ve heard about some of these life-threatening and outright insane side effects that come with conventional prescription medications, you must be wondering why anyone would choose to take that route. Trust me; no single lupus patient is thrilled about any of these worrying side effects. The sad truth is that most people are misinformed, desperate to find relief and feel that there’s no other choice but to take the western prescribed pharmaceuticals.
But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. Thanks to alternative medicine, there are plenty of natural treatments and remedies that manage the symptoms of lupus and improve overall immunity without any dilapidating side effects or risk of complications. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, more and more people are turning to alternative medicines and diverse natural treatments to help treat and manage the symptoms of lupus. This includes the use of herbs, chiropractic care, yoga and Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine such as tai chi and acupuncture, meditation, massage therapy and even spirituality. As always, Olivia starts you off on your healthy, wholesome and risk-free journey to treating lupus with Mother Nature’s very own Essential Oils.
Why Use Essential Oils For Lupus?
As you’ve all seen, prescription medications are not without their shortcomings. In addition to being very expensive, lupus medication causes a series of adverse side effects that all lead to additional health issues. That’s why more and more people are turning to natural treatments. But I must insist that it’s never wise to quit taking your prescription just because you’re tired of doing so. Even with all the negative side effects, they still play a crucial role in protecting your organs.
However, you can choose to supplement and slowly wean off the lengthy prescription by turning to essential oils for help. Essential oils are incredibly potent, aromatic plant extracts that boast of powerful medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, stimulant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, cicatrizant, and detoxifying characteristics. In the case of lupus, essential oils have shown great promise at managing the symptoms of lupus without any unnecessary or harmful side effects.
With the right essential oils, you can help reduce inflammation, ease painful headaches and swollen joints, soothe irritated rashes on skin, check hair loss, relieve swollen lymph nodes, sooth mouth ulcers, treat body fatigue and many other benefits. So, what are the right oils for the job? I’m glad you asked. Out of about a hundred thousand suitable oils for the job, I’ve compiled the only the best, most effective few and even included some age-old recipes to help you put the oils to good use.
5 Top Essential Oils For Lupus
1. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Incredibly popular in countries like Spain, Turkey, Bosnia and Portugal, Helichrysum essential oil has been used for thousands of years due to its numerous medicinal properties. Some of its full body benefits include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been proven to lower inflammation caused by lupus. If used well, this essential oil can replace all your corticosteroids without any long-term side effects. Similarly, Helichrysum EO can be used to clear rashes from your skin and soothe aching muscles and joints.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Already globally known as one of the most versatile and widely used essential oil in the world, lavender was actually discovered about two and a half millennia ago. Due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidepressive, sedative, and calming benefits, Lavender EO works wonders for lupus patients both therapeutically and cosmetically. Used correctly, Lavender EO can help improve brain function, restore normal skin complexion, relieve joint aches and headaches, reduce anxiety, insomnia and relieve other symptoms associated with lupus.
3. Geranium Essential Oil
Commonly used as a key element in aromatherapy, Geranium EO is well known for its numerous health benefits. Packed with nontoxic, antidepressant, non-sensitizing, antiseptic, and nonirritant properties, this oil is a holistic treatment for improving your physical, emotional and mental health. What’s more, Geranium EO is one of the best oils for diverse dermatological problems caused by lupus such as dermatitis, rashes, skin congestion, discoloration, and inflammation. The sweet smelling scent of Geranium can also uplift your mood, lessen fatigue, and promote emotional wellness.
4. Frankincense Essential Oil
Sourced from the resin of the Boswellia Sacare tree, Frankincense essential oil is already an industry leader when it comes to aromatherapy. Lupus patients have found an ally in the oil thanks to its ability to relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reduce inflammation and pain, and most importantly, give your overworked imm5. unity a much-needed boost.
5. Thyme Essential Oil
Sourced from a perennial herb known as Thymus Vulgaris, Thyme EO has been long used for cooking, potpourri, mouthwashes, and aromatherapy. This is great news for people with lupus because all the antibacterial, hypertensive, antispasmodic, sedative and antiseptic properties all come into play. Thyme essential oil can be used to treat mouth and nose ulcers and sores, balance hormone levels, help with menstruation, and protect the body from ailments such as arthritis, fungal infections, skin problems and other symptoms associated with lupus.
6 Best Essential Oil Recipes For Lupus
Recipe 1: Full Body Massage Oil for Lupus
- 20 drops Thyme Essential Oil
- 20 drops Tea tree EO
- 20 drops Lemongrass EO
- 3 ounces grapeseed oil
- Small amber glass bottle
In a separate glass dropper bottle, mix all your essential oils and shake thoroughly. Transfer to an amber bottle and top it off with grapeseed carrier oil. Store in a cool, dry place and use the blend to massage your entire body about three to four times a week right before you take a shower.
Recipe 2: Rash-Away Soothing Face Mask
- 3 drops Helichrysum EO
- 2 drops Lavender EO
- 2 drops Geranium EO
- 1 tablespoon of pure honey
- 1 tablespoon colloidal oatmeal
- 4 tablespoons of water
- Mixing bowl
Pour your oatmeal and water in a bowl and mix them until they form a creamy paste. Add in the honey as well as your essential oils and give the mixture a good whisking. Slather the resulting mixture all over your face and leave it there for an at least 5 minutes. When you’re ready, remove the mask with a bit of warm water and rinse off with cold water. This mask can also be used to clear rashes on your chest, arms, back or other areas.
Recipe 3: Joint and Muscle Relief Blend
- 8 drops German Chamomile EO
- 6 drops Helichrysum EO
- 5 drops Ginger EO
- 3 drops Lemongrass EO
- 2 drops Lavender
- 45 ml (1.5 ounces) carrier oil of choice
Combine all the above essential oils in a bottle or bowl and add in your choice of carrier oil. If you can’t get fractionated coconut oil, virgin olive oil will do just fine. Apply the blend to your joints and muscles in the morning and evening to get relief from pain, inflammation, and discomfort.
Recipe 4: Goodnight Lupus Knockout Formula
- 5 drops Jasmine EO
- 3 drops Neroli EO
- 3 drops Lavender EO
- 4 drops Frankincense
- 1 ounce fractionated coconut oil
Mix all your essential oils thoroughly and add in the fractionated coconut oil to the blend. Once combined, dab the mixture on your temples, chest, back, base of skull, and under the feet. Use this blend every night to soothe stress and get rid of insomnia.
Recipe 5: EO Headache and Migraine Blend
- 4 drops Peppermint EO
- 3 drops Lavender EO
- 2 drops Geranium EO
- 1/2 ounce olive oil
Mix all your ingredients in a nonreactive bowl and combine them thoroughly. Apply the resulting mixture on your temples and back of the neck to get instant relief from headaches and migraines.
Recipe 6: EO Stress Busting Blend for Lupus
- 5 drops Frankincense EO
- 3 drops Geranium EO
- 4 drops Tangerine EO
- 2 drops Peppermint EO
- 2 drops Sweet Marjoram EO
- Distilled water
Nothing works wonders for lupus like a nice diffusion blend. Add in the essential oils drop by drop into your diffuser and diffuse through the day or night as usual. The inhalation blend should help your body from both the inside and outside as well.
4 Home Remedies For Lupus
1. Anti-Inflammatory Diets
Research shows that a healthy and unprocessed diet is crucial for managing lupus since it helps control inflammation and reduces other health risks. The best foods for lupus include:
- Organic and unprocessed foods that reduce exposure to synthetic additives and pesticides
- Raw vegetables for promoting an alkaline body
- Wild-caught fish for more omega 3 fatty acids
- High antioxidant foods such as leafy greens, onions, asparagus, berries, avocado, and garlic
- Bone broth for reducing autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms associated with lupus
That said, there are also certain foods that should be avoided by lupus patients at all costs. These include gluten, saturated fats, added sugar, certain legumes, high-sodium foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
According to recent studies, regular exercise is crucial to treating lupus for a broad range of reasons. Physical activity lowers stress levels, makes your lungs and heart stronger, reduces joint pain and risk of complications, strengthens bones, improves quality of sleep, enhances range of motion, and much more. So try some brisk walking, tai chi, yoga, swimming, aerobics, cycling and other forms of exercise.
3. Stress Reduction and Enough Sleep
It’s a well-known fact that psychological and emotional stress can set of lupus and increase flare-ups by encouraging inflammatory responses. There are many ways to manage stress such as meditation, breathing techniques, yoga, prayer, support groups and many more. Similarly, getting enough sleep and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule will also help keep your body systems in balance.
4. Protecting and healing your Skin
As we already established, lupus can cause a wide range of dermatological issues such as skin rashes, lesions, peeling, itchiness and red skin that all seem to worsen with exposure to sunlight. To protect your skin, avoid direct sunlight during peak hours and ensure you wear no toxic sunscreen with an SPF of 50 and above. Similarly, use a humidifier in your home to keep your skin moist and avoid perfumes, antiperspirants, scented lotions and chemical-laden make-up. Want to go all-natural, Olivia’s has the range for you.
The Final Word
There you have it readers – everything you need to know about lupus and how to keep the condition in check. With this information, at least now you know what to expect and can make a more informed, educated decision on which treatment route to take. However, it’s important to remember that lupus can be serious and even life-threatening at times. So the best thing is to seek treatment as early as possible to avoid further deterioration of your tissues and organs.
Conventional medicine may be a pain due to the side effects, but we also can’t turn a blind eye to the millions of people that the drugs are helping. So don’t ditch your prescription yet; it’s an integral part of your treatment. However, supplementing it with essential oils will not only help with the symptoms of lupus, but also offer relief for the side effects that come with lupus medication. That’s all for now; I wish you all the best in your journey to overcoming Lupus and living a full, free and healthy life.