A NEW APPROACH TO AUTOIMMUNITY SLE CASE STUDY
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June, 2004 by Alex Strande
Traditional Naturopathy is a healing art of assisting a person in recovering from ill health and maintaining well-being through enhancement and support of the body's inherent healing capacity using natural means. It emphasizes that the body can heal itself if it is appropriately encouraged to do so. To facilitate complete recovery, the underlying cause must be addressed. Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving physical, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors. The Traditional Naturopath must treat the whole person. The Traditional Naturopath must be a catalyst for healthful change and motivate the patient to assume responsibility for his or her own health. Disease is the result of abuse in the form of lifestyle habits, faulty nutritional patterns, and environmental factors. The key postulates of Traditional Naturopathic medicine are: do no harm, build health rather than fight disease, practice prevention and change when necessary.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease. The human body is made of tiny building blocks called cells. One group of cells are called immune cells. These are the cells that normally fight off infection and germs. Another type of cell is the melanocyte. These are the cells that produce pigment molecules which give the skin its color. Vitiligo occurs when the immune cells start attacking and killing the melanocytes. As the melanocytes die, the skin turns white because it no longer has melanocytes making pigment or color. No one knows why the immune cells attack and kill the melanocytes in patients with vitiligo. In rare instances, vitiligo may affect eye, hair, and gum color. Although the exact cause is unknown, vitiligo is sometimes set off by severe stress. Vitiligo has been associated with certain diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, alopecia areata, and halo nevi. It has also been noted that vitiligo has a tendency to run in families.
Vitiligo is spontaneous depigmentation of skin resulting in white patches from loss of pigment. Any part of the body may be affected. The white spots vary in size and location and usually both sides of the body are similarly affected. Common sites affected include:
* Bony surfaces - back of hands and fingers, elbows and knees.
* Around body orifices - around the eyes, mouth and nose.
* Body folds - armpits and groins.
* Others areas - legs, wrists, nipples and genitalia.
* Vitiligo may also develop over an area of injury such as a cut or burn.
* Hair within the affected patch may be white too.
From a medical perspective, vitiligo is an incurable condition of unknown causation. The loss of normal skin color is traced to the disappearance of the skin's melanocytes which produce pigment. Current theories regarding the disappearance of melanocytes focus primarily on autoimmune reactions and possible genetic predisposition. In other words, the body's immune system may attack the pigment producing cells by mistake. Vitiligo can occur at any stage in life and is not contagious.
Standard medical therapy for vitiligo consists mainly at disguising the condition and protecting against sunburn with sunscreen. Corticosteroid creams, psoralen photochemotherapy (PUVA), and camouflage cosmetics are the most frequently used treatments. Counseling may be helpful in dealing with the social stigma issues associated with skin disease.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE
Edgar Cayce gave several readings for individuals who complained of "white spots" on their bodies. Some of these individuals were diagnosed as having vitiligo while others simply asked Edgar Cayce
about the white spots. For example, in reading 464-2, while the term vitiligo was not mentioned, a simple description of the condition and equally clear explanation by Edgar Cayce traced the problem to poor eliminations:
(Q) What causes the large white spots on my hands and forearms?
(A) Poor elimination. (464-2)
Systemic problems were noted which involved poor assimilations, poor eliminations, poor circulation, and psychological stresses. Among the recommendation for improving eliminations, a diet consisting of little or no meats and increased green vegetables was suggested. Laxatives, as needed, to assist with eliminations through the alimentary canal were advised. From a pathological standpoint, liver dysfunction was mentioned as a causative factor. Liver involvement was consistently noted in readings for persons with vitiligo.
For example, reading 779-25 also linked poor eliminations and inadequate liver functioning to white spots on the body:
(Q) What causes white spots on the skin back of hands and wrists?
(A) The poor circulation. Hence the need for stimulating the activities through the whole of the alimentary canal, and especially stirring up the liver, - through the use of the [castor] Oil Packs and the Olive Oil as an eliminant.
If necessary, if there is a feeling of too great a fullness in the abdominal area, use a light enema. (779-25)
Castor oil packs and olive oil taken orally were suggested to stimulate the liver and cleanse the alimentary canal. Enemas to cleanse the bowel were suggested. Proper diet was emphasized - again little of the meats which would consist of fish, fowl or lamb; no pork or beef; no fried foods. Keeping a proper acid/alkaline balance was emphasized. Maintaining a positive attitude about the healing process was encouraged in this case, as was the case in most of the readings for individuals with vitiligo:
(Q) What about the mental condition?
(A) Keep this constructive. Of course, this can always be changed by the attitude of the body. Keep it in a constructive and creative attitude, and remember that the spiritual influences rising to the greater dependence of the body upon Creative Energies will make for attitudes that are constructive. Keep in that way and manner. (779-25)
The importance of having a proper mental attitude was also emphasized in the case of Ms. 3338. The background information for her reading notes: "Since a child I have large white spots to come on my skin, which now are on my entire body. Since they come on my face and arms it it very embarrassing for me. The doctors say this is called Vitiligo and is a depigmentation of the skin and there is no cure for me. I feel there must be some cure, some cause. Please help me if you can."
The fact that this was a long-standing condition suggests that time and patience will be required for a positive outcome:
Yes, here we have a condition that is hard to combat; the lacking in chemical processes of the body glandular forces, that causes the pigment in the outer skin or epidermis to have varied colors - or white splotches, that even at times become a bit scaly if not kept attended to with certain ointments.
These as we find may be aided, but it will require long periods and systematic activities, not only in the diet, but also in the general habits of the body.
For, it is a glandular disturbance and deals with the abilities of the body to produce reproduction of cellular force in the skin, or the superficial circulation.
These as we find, of course, are indications that there are also spots upon the liver. (3338-1)
Thus, the liver is again implicated in the pathological process. The liver is the largest gland in the body, secreting and excreting hundreds of chemicals. This vital organ is often linked to skin conditions in the Cayce readings. Treatment recommendations for this woman focused heavily on the glandular system, especially the liver. Atomidine, a medicine containing iodine, was prescribed to purify the glandular system. A tonic containing ragweed and lactated pepsin was recommended to stimulate the liver and cleanse the alimentary canal:
This should make for the activity of the liver, and act much as a powerful cathartic, but after at least three doses, do have a full, high colonic
irrigation to cleanse the colon clear. It may be necessary for two colonics
within two weeks. (3338-1)
In addition to the medicines for stimulating the liver and purifying the glands, colonic irrigation, a diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, and a simple full-body massage were suggested.
Ragweed was also included in a tonic recommended for a man with vitilgo. In the background information provided by Mr. 236, this man noted: "I have a trouble for which the doctors say medical Science
knows of nothing to do. They call it vitiligo or 'white skin.' A few white spots started on my neck about three years ago. These have gotten large now and others have started coming on my arms and hands."
Edgar Cayce's explanation of the condition described problems with the liver and kidneys. These key organs are essential for the eliminations of wastes from the body. In this case, inadequate functioning of the liver and kidneys, "leaves those particles in the blood stream that, finding their way into the lymphatic circulation, present this effect in the outer portion of the body." Thus, basically, the problem is again one of poor eliminations. Toxins that should be eliminated by the liver and kidneys through the alimentary canal or urine end up in the skin (another channel of eliminations through perspiration) producing the characteristic white spots of vitiligo.
In addition to a cleansing diet, and high enemas, the specific tonic in this case contained ragweed, sassafras root, calisaya, and tolu. The ingredients of this herbal tonic were recommended in many readings to stimulate the activity of the liver and kidneys and improve systemic eliminations.
EDGAR CAYCE'S THERAPEUTIC MODEL
Here are the basic therapies recommended for the treatment of vitiligo based on the Edgar Cayce readings:
1. STIMULATING THE LIVER: Hot castor oil packs applied over the liver area followed by olive oil taken orally are intended to stimulate the liver and improve eliminations through the alimenatry canal. Tincture of ragweed is also recommended to stimulate the liver.
2. DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is recommended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
3. INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily, colonic irrigations (preferably) or enemas, and cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. As mentioned above, castor oil packs across the abdomen will also tend to assist with internal cleansing.
4. MEDICINE CONTAINING IODINE: Atomidine (taken in cycles) is suggested to purify the glandular system. CAUTION: ATOMIDINE SHOULD ONLY BE TAKEN UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A PHYSICIAN.
5. ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are frequently discussed the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (ideal) for being healed.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health Database.