Exploring Chinese Herbal Medicine

I went to see the Chinese herbalist that my sister’s Chinese friend recommended armed with my list of ingredients that compose langchuangding, an herbal formula used in lupus study that I came across online during one of my many Prednisone-induced sleepless nights of looking for answers.

The herb group took a formula called Langchuangding as well as prednisone. Langchuangding was similar to the previously reported formula, with 18g rehmannia, 12 g ophiopogon, 9g ching-hao, 30g isatis leaf, 30g oldenlandia, 12g red peony, 10g moutan, 30g lithospermum, and 9g campsis, decocted in water, taken two divided doses, morning and at night.

Chinese Herbs

One of the objectives of the study was to measure blood levels of neopterin, a substance metabolized from the nucleic acid guanosine. It is produced from macrophages stimulated by ?-interferon and released by activated T-lymphocytes. The neopterin level can sensitively reflect an activated state of the cell mediated immune system, which can be widely employed for monitoring autoimmune diseases, transplantation immune rejection, tumors, and acute or chronic infectious ailments. This study revealed that the serum neopterin level of SLE patients was distinctly higher than that of the healthy control group (655 vs. 265 µg/liter), as had been shown in other evaluations, supporting the view that activation of the cellular immune system was involved in the SLE flare-ups. The addition of Chinese herbs to the treatment helped lower neopterin levels (to 354 µg/liter), as well as reducing erythrocyte sedimentation rate, complement C3 levels, and symptoms of facial erythema and oral ulceration. Similarly, it was shown that the immunostimulant soluble blood component interleukin-2R (sIL-2R) is elevated in patients with lupus, and declines during periods of remission and upon treatment with the Chinese herb formula.

In conclusion, Chinese medicine appears to be suitable as an adjunct to modern medical therapies when used for a period of about 3 months, a course of therapy that is to be repeated if necessary. While earlier Chinese reports suggested that Chinese herbs alone could function reasonably well as a treatment for lupus (5), this approach appears to have been largely abandoned, at least for the more serious cases seen in Chinese hospitals. For mild cases of lupus, using Chinese herbs as a sole remedy may be a reasonable choice, so long as modern medications are added in the event of a worsening syndrome. It is important that the treatment be sufficiently effective so as to minimize the chance of damage to the internal organs.

The herbalist said I needed to see the doctor in order to find the right dosage because each person is different and that I can’t just take a recipe from the internet and think it would work for me. Dammit. Defeated yet again. Good thing I have an appointment with Dr. Zhang on Saturday. He’ll give me the right dosage.

Langchuang stands for SLE, ding in Chinese means heal this disease.


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