Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Overview:

SLE is an autoimmune disorder affecting the connective tissue throughout the body. It can damage tissues anywhere in the body, but has the highest prevalence of damage towards the heart, kidneys, liver, blood vessels, joints, skin, lungs, and nervous tissues.



It is most common in women of non-European desent between the ages of 15 and 35. 

There is a definite genetic predisposition for SLE. It is most common in women (90%), especially of Afro-Carribean descent. Other causes or triggers include: 

  • Drug and chemical aggrevation
  • Infectious agents
  • Cigarettes
  • UV Radiation

+ Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus (DILE)

There is a long list of drugs known to induce lupus erythematosus. Generally, once these drugs have been discontinued, symptoms will recede.

  • Hydralazine
  • Procainamide
  • Isoniazid

+ Other Causitive Factors

Heavy Metal Exposure




Organic Pollutants


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+ Autoantibodies

Involves the production of a large number of antibodies against self antigens like erythrocytes, lymphocytes, platelets, nucleic acids, coagulation proteins, or phospholipids.

Th1 cytokines include interleukin IL-2, IFN-y, and TNF-a. They are involved with cellular immunity, cytotoxicity, delayed-type hypersensitivity and stimulation of monocytes [1].

TH2 cytokines include IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13. These are responsible for [1].

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Weight Loss

Lymphadenopathy (Mild)




Fibromyalgia-Like Symptoms

Skin Rash Exacerbated by Exposure To UV Light


Poor Concentration




breathlessness (Pulmonary Finrosis)



Diagnostic Considerations:

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Therapeutic Aims:

1. Eliminate Exposure To Allergens

Including food allergies.

2. Reduce Inflammation

  • Antioxidants (Vitis vinefera)
  • Antinflammatories (Curcuma longa, Boswellia serrata, Filipendula ulmaria, Salix alba, Rehmannia glutinosa, Bupleurum falcatum)
  • PAF Inhibitors(Ginkgo biloba)
  • Antioxidants(Vitis vinefera, Pinus pinasta)
  • Nutritional (Fish Oil)

3. Improve Male Sex Hormone Production

  • DHEA

4. Manage Pain

  • Analgesics(Corydalis cava, Eschscholtzia californica)

5. Modulate Immune Response

  • Immunosuppressants(Hemidesmus indicus, Rehmannia glutinosa)
  • Immunomodulators(Astragalus membranaceus, Echinaceae purpurea, Picorrhiza kurroa, Ganoderma lucidum, Lendinula edodes)

6. Support Cognitive Function

  • Nootropics(Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monieri, Centella asiatica, Camellia sinensis)

7. Improve Gut Health

  • Bitters(Achillea millefolium, Taraxicum officinale, Cynara scolymus)
  • Antinflammatories(Curcuma longa, Boswellia serrata, Calendula officinalis)
  • Nutritional Support(Probiotics)

8. Support Cardiovascular Function

  • Circulatory Stimulants(Ginkgo biloba, Zingiber officinale)

9.Encourage Connective Tissue Repair


  • Connective Tissue Tonics(Centella asiatica, Vitis vinefera, Pinus pinasta)

10. Improve Stress Response & Reduce Fatigue

  • Adaptogens(Panax quinquefolius, Withania somnifera, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Astragalus membranaceus, Centella asiatica)
  • Excercise(Yoga, Tai Chi)

11. Manage Mood & Sleep

  • Thymoleptics(Melissa officinalis, Turnera diffusa)
  • Nervine Trophorestoratives(Avena sativa)
  • Anxiolytics(Piper methysticum, Valeriana officinalis)
  • Nervine Relaxants(Scutellaria lateriflora, Passiflora incarnata, Valeriana edulis, Piper methysticum)
  • Antidepressants(Hypericum perforatum)

Differential Diagnosis:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome


Consider other autoimmune conditions.


Herbs For SLE:

  • Zingiber officinalis
  • Taraxacum officinale
  • Rumex crispus
  • Echinacea spp.
  • Allium sativum
  • Boswellia serrata
  • Curcuma longa
  • Echinacea spp.
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Harpagphytum procumbens
  • G. glabra
  • Hemidesmus indicus
  • Rehmannia glutinosa
  • Salix spp. 

Nutritional Considerations:

  • B vitamins
  • Glutamine (GIT)
  • Vitamin E
  • MSM
  • Se, C, D
  • Probiotics
  • EFAs
  • Zn
  • Bromelain, Quercetin
  • Mg
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Green-Lipped Mussel
  • SAMe

Dietary Considerations For Systemic Lupus Erythematosis:

  • Eliminate allergenic foods

  • Avoid caffeine

  • Reduce red meat (Saturated fatty acids)

  • EFA

  • Garlic


Lifestyle Considerations:

  • Stop smoking
  • Stress management
  • Acupuncture
  • Avoid Sun exposure
  • Exercise
  • Cold pack


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated March 2018

Recent Blog Posts:


  1. Mosmann TR, Sad S. The expanding universe of T-cell subsets: Th1,
    Th2 and more. Immunol Today 1996; 17: 138 ± 146.