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Autoimmune diseases include various conditions in which your immune system attacks healthy cells because it is unable to differentiate them from harmful foreign entities like bacteria.
The exact cause of this problem is still unknown. At times, the problem is triggered when a micro-organism or drug alters the behavior of immune cells.
When these cells produce more cells, they collectively attack your healthy cells, causing an autoimmune disease.
Sometimes, the disease takes root in a particular organ. For instance, your immune system may attack your thyroid, which is usually diagnosed as Grave’s disease.
If it attacks your gastrointestinal tract, you may be diagnosed with a disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Other times, the disease attacks a particular protein found throughout your body. When this happens, you may be diagnosed with a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
Inflammation is a huge, and often highly uncomfortable, side effect of these autoimmune diseases.
A conversation often skipped in the management of such diseases is natural home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for autoimmune diseases.
Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin that suppresses inflammation-boosting enzymes in autoimmune diseases like arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In a 2005 study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 5 patients with Crohn’s disease and 5 patients with ulcerative colitis consumed pure curcumin doses.
Colitis patients showed reduced dependence on medication. Crohn’s disease patients showed reduced intensity of the disease.
The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger can also help in dealing with autoimmune diseases. It helps reduce inflammation which is a common problem in autoimmune diseases.
A 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology reports that virgin coconut oil is especially high in anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
This makes it a highly effective treatment for inflammatory autoimmune diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and spondylitis.
A 2008 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology notes that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients report excessive fungus buildup in their digestive tracts that further causes inflammation.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that fights this inflammatory and disease-promoting bacteria buildup in these diseases. Furthermore, coconut oil contains fatty acids that promote metabolism in patients with Hashimoto thyroid.
Aloe vera contains lupeol and salicylic acid that have an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect, as well as certain chemical compounds, such as fatty acids that have an anti-inflammatory effect in arthritis, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Autoimmune Diseases and Rheumatology.
Furthermore, aloe vera helps regulate metabolism. Hence, it may prove effective in Grave’s disease and Hashimoto thyroid.
Note: Since increased consumption of aloe vera can upset the gut, it is important to consult your doctor to determine the quantity of aloe juice you can consume daily.
Pineapple contains a class of enzymes called bromelain that has terrific anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2005 study published in Clinical Immunology, two patients of ulcerative colitis whose disease had remained largely unaffected by conventional medical therapies reported remission when they consumed a daily dose of pure bromelain.
The bromelain found in pineapples also provided relief in other inflammatory autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and spinal spondylitis.
Note: If you have stomach ulcers and or take blood-thinners (aspirin, warfarin and others), avoid consuming pineapple or pure bromelain extract as it could interact with these drugs.
Fish oil contains essential fatty acids with anti-inflammatory benefits. It alleviates joint pain and stiffness and even reduces dependency on medication in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
A 2000 study published in The Journal of Rheumatology notes that daily fish-oil supplementation reduced symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Spinal spondylitis patients can also benefit from it. A 2006 study published in Surgical Neurology declared fish oil a safe anti-inflammatory treatment for neck and back pain.
The use of fish oil also has anti-inflammatory benefits in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, although it does not maintain their remission, according to a 2014 study published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases. It may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort in Crohn’s disease patients.
Cayenne pepper contains a pain-relieving substance called capsaicin.
When you consume cayenne pepper or apply it topically, the capsaicin inhibits the activity of a chemical in your body responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.
For this reason, cayenne pepper is effective for rheumatoid arthritis and spinal spondylitis pain. It also improves overall blood circulation that further lubricates the stiff back and joints.
Note: Although it is anti-inflammatory, capsaicin increases intestine permeability and makes it easier for bacteria to enter the gut, making its consumption harmful for those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial for autoimmune diseases. It contains vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) that helps reduce swelling and inflammation. The calcium, manganese, potassium and phosphorus in it further eases joint pain.
Apple cider vinegar also accelerates metabolism, thereby proving beneficial for people with Grave’s disease.
Although it is popularly used as a remedy for diabetes and high blood pressure, cinnamon is also good in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
A 2015 study published in Food and Function notes that Sri Lankan cinnamon is one of the most potent varieties, and regular cinnamon is an effective anti-inflammatory remedy in the treatment of chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Furthermore, cinnamon contains powerful antibacterial properties that suppress the activity of the excess bacteria that line the gut in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients, which promotes the disease and exacerbates inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory properties of oregano oil also make it an important treatment for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and spondylitis.
Note: Because of its highly potent nature, consult your doctor before adopting any oregano-based health regimes.