Autoimmune Disease: What We Do and Don’t Know and How Western Medical Herbalists can Help (Report)
Introduction In an ideal world the human immune system detects exogenous and endogenous pathogens as well as cancer cells, distinguishes them from the organism’s normal cells and tissues, and strives constantly to keep errant cells in check. When the immune system detects an invading, infected or abnormal cell, it responds with inflammation then highly specialised cells in the humoral and cell mediated systems work in concert to delete them. However at many stages along the way things can go awry, for example the immune system can turn on the body’s own tissues and autoimmune disease can develop, most commonly in a step wise pattern. There is much we know about the precipitating, causative and sustaining factors in this process, and there is much we don’t know. By gathering understanding of some important moments in an individual’s history the Western medical herbalist can look through the doorways that led to the development of autoimmune disease (AD) and thereby work holistically with the patient to improve their quality of life.