Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Mike
Posted on: March 31, 2002

My wife has been diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Part of her treatment involves Prednisone to reduce swelling of the lymph nodes in the lungs, and Xanax for anxiety. Is there any herbal treatment for this condition?

Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease that may affect the lymph glands, lungs, liver, eyes, skin and less often, the spleen, bones, joints, heart and nervous system.

The cause is generally unknown, but it has been triggered by prescription drugs including antibiotics and the birth control pill.

Although sarcoidosis must be treated in liaison with a medical doctor, it is worth looking for a natural practitioner who has experience with this disease, can assess your wife and recommend a diet and herbs to support her. Every individual has specific needs.

Thomas Bartram, in “Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine”, (available at Richters) suggest using herbs that help to detoxify by supporting the lymphatic glands and blood cleansing (e.g. Red Clover tea, Gotu Kola, Thuja).

Reaseach has shown melatonin helpful in sarcoidosis. St. John’s wort promotes natural melatonin production. St. John’s wort should not be taken with anti-anxiety drugs. A natural practitioner, in consultation with your wife’s doctor, can wean her off xanax, replacing it with St. John’s wort.

Other herbalists have had good results in sarcoidosis by using herbs to treat inflammation and remove mucous from the lungs. Licorice root and the Ginsengs have a steroid-like anti-inflammatory action by supporting the adrenal glands. Turmeric root is antiinflammatory and supports the lungs and the liver. Licorice and Elecampane are useful herbs for removing mucus from the lungs.

Other practitioners suggest a dairy free diet (dairy products are mucus forming and also cause many immune-related disorders), a vegetarian diet (meat is inflammatory), and attention to the digestive system. If it is possible that your wife’s sarcoidosis was triggered by an antibiotic, or if she has any digestive problems, support for the digestive system is a top priority.

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. You can create a healthy balance of healing and anti-inflammatory oils by adding to the diet freshly ground flax seed, flax oil or hemp seed oil (these oils must be fresh and kept refrigerated), increasing oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) decreasing meat, and eliminating margarine, shortening and oils other than extra virgin olive oil.

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