In this volume of the International Standard Library of Chinese Medicine series, the authors of TCM Case Studies: Autoimmune Disease discuss the etiology and physiology of nine different autoimmune diseases, citing two to four cases in each study, with detailed analysis of herbal prescriptions used for each case.
Autoimmune disease refers to illnesses that occur when body tissues are attacked by their own immune system. Common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma, vasculitis, thrombocytopenic purpura, Graves’ disease, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and other diseases.
Western medicines for autoimmune diseases include corticosteroids and immunosuppresants. While controlling symptoms quickly, long-term use increases the risk of infection and reduced adrenal function, and can affect the bone marrow. As patients become aware of these side effects, they seek treatment with Chinese herbal medicinals. TCM therapies do more than relieve symptoms; they slow or reverse disease development, and mitigate damage by Western medications. The Chinese approach is to boost vital qi by addressing deficiencies of qi, blood, yin or yang; addressing exogenous pathogenic factors such as heat toxins; and clearing accumulations of phlegm, damp, or blood stasis.