More Advice for Scleroderma
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Monika
Posted on: July 12, 2004

I live in New Zealand but I belong to India. Just few months back I learned that I have scleroderma. For the past 3 years I was told that I have Raynaud’s but I was told by doctors here that it is chill blains. Now when I visited a doctor in India he told me that I have scleroderma. Since then I have started yoga (breathing exercises) and I feel positive but at times I am shaken. I stay positive in front of everyone, but I am getting weak at times. I believe in God and keep looking for something on the net and I got your advice. Could you please advise me if I can start this treatment on my own or do I need to consult doctor? Is anything that I can do more than this? I have been feeling that something is wrong with my body for last 6 months or so. My skin color became tan and red, my skin is hard on face, neck and hands & I always have cold hands. I feel pain in my right knee sometimes. My internal organs are functioning properly as several tests were taken by doctors, but my ANA is positive.

Your advice will be of great help for me.

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes the skin to thicken, and can cause damage to internal organs. Hardening of the skin on the hands can affect the blood vessels, causing Raynaud’s, so most people with scleroderma also have Raynaud’s. Given the serious nature of the condition, it is important that you continue to seek medical attention.

It is safe for you to work on your own with the dietary recommendations for scleroderma, but I highly recommend that you work with a trained, experienced natural practitioner such as a medical or clinical herbalist, a qualified Ayurvedic doctor or a naturopath, who will recommend herbs specific to your individual condition watch your progress and make changes as necessary. It is always preferable for your natural practitioner(s) to work with your medical doctor.

It is important to support your immune system in all ways: a diet high in with fresh fruit and vegetables, avoidance of sugar, refined grains and processed foods; vitamin supplements B complex, A, C and E; ensuring that you get sufficient sleep, and avoiding stress. Physical exercise, yoga, tai chi and relaxation exercises can help to reduce stress and to improve sleep.

In addition to the recommendations on our web site (www.richters.com, choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then enter "scleroderma" for the search), Thomas Bartram, in "Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available at Richters) lists supplemental zinc, and the herbs black cohosh (helps to regulate the nervous system, dilates blood vessels and is anti-inflammatory), licorice (anti-inflammatory and adrenal supportive), prickly ash bark (supports blood circulation to the extremities like the head, hands and feet) and boldo (liver support). Topically, he lists castor oil packs and Epsom salts soaks.

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