Sjogren’s Syndrome Natural Treatment: Acupuncture, Herbs and Diet
Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic and systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. It primarily affects moisture-producing glands and tissues, resulting in decreased saliva and tear production. This can lead to dryness in the eyes, mouth, nose, skin, upper respiratory tract, and vagina. It is usually associated with other autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and primary biliary cholangitis.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a serious disease that affects 0.1 to 4% of people in the United States, and most patients are women over 40. Males also suffer from this disease, but it can be underdiagnosed. The two most common symptoms are dry eyes and mouth. Still, tooth decay, persistent dry cough, and recurring oral thrush can also be present. The progression is usually slow, with symptoms varying in type and intensity from mild to moderate and severe. The progression of Sjogren’s disease is often unpredictable.
Although Sjogren’s treatment is only symptomatic, permanent treatment for this condition is non-existent. However, it is manageable with eye drops, chewing gums, and various medications if diagnosed early. Also, there are some natural ways to treat Sjogren’s syndrome, which include acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, supplements, and nutrition.
Can Acupuncture Help Sjogren’s Syndrome: Try Makari Wellness
Makari Wellness combines ancient wisdom with modern methods to treat Sjögren’s syndrome. With over 15 years of experience, we use acupuncture ophthalmology to treat eye and mouth dryness and improve the lives of people suffering from Sjogrens syndrome disease.
Michael Woodworth, a leading TCM practitioner, provides appropriate Sjögren’s syndrome diet and herbal supplements, alongside successful acupuncture treatments.
We also proudly offer customized telemedicine consultations, including dietary and herbal recommendations to improve overall health and resistance. Do not hesitate to try alternative treatments at Makari Wellness, so feel free to book an appointment at (888) 871-8889.
What is Sjogrens Syndrome?
It is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily targets salivary glands (in the mouth) and lacrimal glands (in the eyes) but also affects some other parts of the body. All of this causes dryness of the mouth, eyes, and other tissues in the body.
There are two forms of the disease:
- Primary form: Patients have this form if they do not have another autoimmune disease.
- Secondary form: If patients have this form, they have accompanied autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, scleroderma, etc.
Symptoms of Sjogrens Syndrome
In addition to extremely dry mouth and eyes, Sjögren’s syndrome warning signs may include:
- Dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing
- Abnormal sense of taste
- Enlarged salivary glands
- Tooth decay
- Dry, itchy skin or rashes
- Blurry vision
- Dryness of the nose
- Eyelid irritation (blepharitis)
- Vaginal dryness
- Bowel irritation
- Trouble concentrating
- Heartburn or GERD
- Numbness or tingling of some body parts
- Joint pain and fybromialgia
Some people may develop complications, which may include an increased risk of some cancer types called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung, liver, and kidney problems, vision problems, thyroid gland abnormalities, problems with circulatory and nervous systems, like vasculitis.
Sjogrens Syndrome Causes
Sjogrens syndrome is caused by an abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system. The blood cells that need to protect the body from infections start to attack their own tissues, causing damage and inflammation.
Is Sjogren’s hereditary?
Well, the exact cause of the inappropriate immune system reaction is unknown. Still, it is presumed that a person probably inherits the risk from one or both parents. Then the patient is exposed to some type of environmental trigger (viral or bacterial infection), so it is probably a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors responsible for this type of autoimmune eye disease.
RELATED EYE CONDITIONS AND NATURAL TREATMENTS:
- Acupuncture – How Does the Powerful Combination of Ancient Wisdom and Modern Methods Work?
- Essential Benefits of Acupuncture for Dry Eyes
- All About Myopia Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Treatment
- A Comprehensive Guide to Inflammation Treatment & Causes
- Uveitis Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Alternative Treatment
Treatment for Sjogrens Syndrome
The conventional treatment of Sjogren’s can be divided into three areas:
- The treatment of the dry mouth, eyes, and nose are usually done with artificial tears in the form of eye drops. Many different solutions are available, with ointment during the night that provides moisture. Saliva stimulation with sugar-free candies or lozenges will ease mouth dryness. Sipping water throughout the day is also helpful. Nasal blockage is solved with saline nasal sprays.
- The treatment of the problems that can make the condition less responsive to other therapies, like an oral yeast infection, eyelid irritation, and acid reflux. Yeast infection is treated with anti-fungal medications, while acid reflux is treated with various antacids or proton pump inhibitors. Gently washing the skin of eyelids can relieve eyelid irritation.
- Treating fatigue, poor concentration, and fibromyalgia. Treatment of fatigue usually includes attention to exercise, a healthy diet, and adequately controlling the symptoms of dry mouth and eye that can interfere with sleep. Fibromyalgia is treated mostly with anticonvulsants and antidepressants and sometimes with NSAIDs.
Natural Treatment for Sjogrens Syndrome
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as an ancient system of health and wellness, can be extremely helpful in treating Sjogrens syndrome. The main idea behind the TCM is to keep the body in balance by manipulating the flow of Qi (Chee) – a body’s vital energy that flows along the pathways called meridians. Using various modalities, TCM addresses health problems and stimulates the body’s own healing mechanisms. While western medicine aims at treating the disease, the TCM looks at a patient’s entire well-being.
When the body is out of balance, then the disease occurs. The TCM practitioner uses touch, smell, hearing, voice, and pulse diagnosis to discover the source of an unbalanced health condition and which meridians are affected. Using the five-element theory based on the five basic elements in the world (wood, fire, earth, water, and metal), the practitioner can create a healing plan that will address the patient’s condition and may include acupuncture, herbs, foods for healing, and lifestyle changes.
Acupuncture for Sjogren’s Syndrome
Acupuncture as a primary TCM modality is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, metallic, solid needles at strategic points of the body called acupuncture points. Needle insertion is done at various depths, depending on the condition. Stimulating the qi and blood circulation can relieve the symptoms of dry eyes and mouth, commonly associated with the disease.
Some of the most common acupuncture points used for Sjogren’s eyes are:
- Hegu or LI-4 to clear heat, reinforce immune function and reduce inflammation.
- Pishu or BL-20 and Shenshu or BL-23 are used to regulate the spleen and kidney.
- Zusanli or ST-36 regulates the spleen and stomach, frees the meridians and collaterals, and invigorates blood.
- Sanyinjiao or SP-6 and Taixi or KI-3 are selected to downbear fire, nourish yin, and tonify the kidneys and liver.
Acupuncture for Sjogren’s syndrome dry mouth include the following acupoints:
- Lianquan or CV-23 promotes the secretion of saliva.
- Jinjin or EX-HN12 and Yuye or EX-HN13 are selected to downbear fire, nourish yin, and engender liquid.
For the nose dryness:
- Yingxiang or LI-20 is introduced to engender liquid.
Herbs for Sjogren’s Syndrome
Chinese herbalist will use herbs that are combined in a mix according to the specific therapeutic properties. They usually come from different roots, leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, and barks of various plants. These carefully selected plants are dispensed in the form of traditional tea, liquid extract, capsule, granule, or powder. The most common formula prescribed is Du Tong Luo Shen Jin Tang, and it includes the following herbs:
- Bai Hua She She Cao (15g) – clear heat and eliminate toxins.
- E Zhu (15g) – break blood and move Qi.
- Sheng Huang Qi (30g) – tonifies the spleen, lung Qi, and raises yang Qi.
- Dang Gui (9g) – enriches blood circulation and modulates the immune system.
- Bai Shao (12g) – treat inflammatory disorders.
- Sheng Gan Cao (6g) – reduce burning, distending, and painful sensations in the throat.
When fighting any autoimmune disease, a healthy diet is a must. Sjogrens syndrome diet includes well-balanced meals rich in lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit. The best diet for Sjogren’s syndrome is the one that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from an organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil that fights dry eyes. For oral yeast infection, the best natural remedy is cinnamon oil which shows amazing anti-candida properties. Also, raw honey is helpful in combination with vitamin C.
Using a humidifier with your favorite essential oil for dry throat has proven beneficial. It also improves sleep quality and reduces fatigue.
You can fight dry mouth by sipping water or beef bone broth. It increases salivary flow by increasing local blood flow. For dental health, practicing coconut oil pulling each day will detoxify your mouth, prevent tooth decay, and reduce inflammation.
Foods to avoid with Sjögren’s syndrome usually include red meat, processed food, fried food, sugars and sweets, alcohol, soda, gluten, etc. The best advice is to avoid dry food and add vegetables and fruit high in moisture to your diet. Still, some foods affect people differently, so if your symptoms worsen after consuming specific food, try to avoid it.
Sjogrens Syndrome Prognosis
The overall prognosis of the Sjogrens can vary from a mild course to a fairly significant one. Research suggests that patients with a secondary form of the disease tend to have milder disease than those with primary disease. Early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important to prevent major organ damage. In this case, acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy are proven beneficial in relieving symptoms of the disease.