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    Home Disease A to Z Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

    Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Raktadhika Vata Rakta)

    रक्ते शोफोऽति-रुक्तोदस्ताम्रश्चिमिचिमायते।

    Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) - Causes, Symptoms, and Ayurvedic Treatment

    Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease with a wide range of clinical presentations resulting from its effect on multiple organ systems. There are four main types of lupus: neonatal, discoid, drug-induced, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the type that affects the majority of patients. Patients with lupus experience a loss of self-tolerance as a result of abnormal immunological function and the production of autoantibodies, which lead to the formation of immune complexes that may adversely affect healthy tissue. SLE is a chronic disease that affects various organ systems, primarily as a consequence of the formation and deposition of autoantibodies and immune complexes, leading to eventual organ damage.


    Due to the close similarity of its symptoms, this disease is compared to Raktadhika Vata Rakta. Vata Rakta is considered to be the finest illustration of Avarana (obstruction) Vyadhi. Right from its etiopathogenesis to its complications, the illness follows the characteristic presentation of Avarana. Due to indulgence in aahara (food) and vihara (lifestyle) that causes the vitiation of Vata dosha and Rakta dhatu, there occurs marga avarodha of vata by dushita Rakta. This leads to further vitiation of Vata dosha which in turn vitiates Rakta dhatu furthermore to result in the lakshana utpatti of Vatarakta.

    Causes of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    As SLE is an autoimmune disorder, normal variations (polymorphisms) in many genes can affect the risk of developing SLE, and in most cases, multiple genetic factors are thought to be involved. In rare cases, SLE is caused by mutations in single genes. Sex hormones and a variety of environmental factors including viral infections, diet, stress, chemical exposures, and sunlight are also thought to play a role in triggering this complex disorder.

    Ayurvedic Reference of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    • General signs and symptoms observed in SLE include fever, fatigue, and weight loss. The skin, musculoskeletal system, and pulmonary system are primarily affected.
    • SLE patients who report symptoms involving the skin most commonly have a red rash on the nose and cheeks following exposure to the sun. This “butterfly” rash is identified in a significant number of SLE patients at some point during the disease course.
    • Patients experiencing photosensitivity reactions also report skin rashes on other areas of the body that were exposed to the sun. 
    • Other symptoms associated with skin manifestations include alopecia, Reynaud’s phenomenon, and sores in the mouth or nose. 
    • Musculoskeletal involvement includes arthralgias, myalgias, and/or arthritis. Arthritis can affect any minor or major joints, commonly presenting as painful, stiff joints accompanied by either occasional or persistent inflammation.
    • Patients with pulmonary symptoms report painful breathing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Pleural effusion and pulmonary hypertension.
    • SLE also affects the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, renal, and hematological systems, as well as the central nervous system (CNS). Cardiovascular effects often include pericarditis, myocarditis, endocarditis, and coronary artery disease.
    • SLE patients with CNS manifestations may experience headaches, depression, anxiety, seizures, stroke, or cognitive impairment.
    • Renal involvement in SLE typically results in diminished kidney function, which may result in elevated serum creatinine levels and proteinuria.

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    Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine & Surgery
    Master’s in Health Administration

    Diet Management in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    Do’s (Pathya) in SLE

    • Cereals like old barley, wheat, nivara (a type of wild rice), Shali as well as Shastika (type of rice) should be included in diet.
    • Mamsarasa of Vishikara (gallinaceous) and Pratuda (peckers) birds.
    • Harit Shaka (green leafy vegetables) like Kakamachi (Solanum nigrum), Masura (Lens esculanta), Mudga (Psoralea radiatus), Shatavari (Asparagus recimosus) sizzled with Ghrita and Mamsarasa.

    Don’ts (Apathya) in SLE

    • Meats, seafood, alcohol intake.
    • Sleep during day time, exposure to heat or sunlight
    • Exercise, coitus.
    • Intake of Katu (pungent), Ushna (hot), and Abhisyandi foods.
    • Excessive intake of Amla and Lavana Rasa pradhana food.

    Yoga Therapy for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    The deep breathing techniques and postures in yoga are proved to be useful in SLE


    Postures include:-

    • Pashchimottanasana 
    • Ardha Matsyendrasana 
    • Setubandhasana 
    • Suptaudarakarshanasana  
    • Ardha Pavanamukthasana 
    • Bhujangasana 
    • Ardha Shalabhasana

    Pranayama include:-


    • Kapalbhati
    • Nadishodhana Pranayama
    • Bhastrika Pranayama
    • Bhramari


    Ayurvedic Treatment for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    As we are incorporating SLE under Raktadhika Vatarakta due to its similarity in the exhibition of clinical features, it has to be treated with, Virechana (purgation), Ghrita ksheera pana (intake of medicated ghee or milk), Seka (pouring of medicated decoctions over body), Vasti (medicated enema) and Sheeta nirvapana (application of pastes for cooling). 

    Internal Medicines for SLE

    • Arogyavardhini Vati
    • Gokshuradi Guggulu 
    • Kaishore Guggulu 
    • Amruthadi Guggulu
    • Punarnavadi Guggulu 
    • Simhanada Guggulu
    • Dashamoola Kwatha
    • Manjishtadi Kwatha
    • Guluchyadi Kwatha
    • Amrutadi / Amruttotara Kwatha
    • Rasnerandadi Kwatha

    • Rasnapanchakam kwatha
    • Rasna Saptaka Kwatha
    • Guggulu Tiktakam Ghrita
    • Guduchyadi Ghrita
    • Satavari Ghrita
    • Sukumaraka Ghrita
    • Jeevaniya Ghrita
    • Bhallataka Ghritam
    • Chyavana Prasa
    • Vardhamana Pippali

    External Therapies for SLE

    • Avagahana (Tub Fomentation)
    • Lepa (Anointment) – Madhuchista, Dashanga, Tagaradi, Prapoundarikadi / Sata doutha Ghrita, Krishna Tila 
    • Upanaha (Poultice) – Tila pinda upanaha 
    • Seka (Irrigation of medicated liquids)
    • Dhara – Dasamoola ksheeradhara
    • Abhyanga (Massage) – Pinda thaila, Madhuyashtyadi, Bala and Dhanvantara thaila Guducyadi thaila, Narayana thaila, Kottam chukkadi thaila and chinchyadi thaila

    Purificatory Therapies

    • Vamana (Emesis Therapy)
    • Virechna (Purgation Therapy)
    • Vasthi (Enema Therapy) 

    Single Herbs Used in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
    • Saribha (Hemidesmus indicus)
    • Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)
    • Shilajit (Asphaltum)
    • Bhallataka (Semecarpus anacardium)

    • Erandamoola (Ricinus Communis)
    • Patola (Trichosanthes dioica)
    • Sunti (Zingiber officinale)

    Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta, Ayurvedic Allergist

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: What is SLE?

    Answer: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common type of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels.

    Question: What are the causes of SLE?

    Answer: The causes of SLE are unknown, but are believed to be linked to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors.

    Question: What is the Ayurvedic treatment for SLE?

    Answer: Treatment aims at producing healthier Rakta dhatu and in the presence of Agni, and thus improves the Vyadhikshamatva of the individual. 


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