Q and A: Treating Chronic Vasculitis with Herbs

Health professionals answer readers' questions about herbs to treat joint pain, stomach cramps and hives.

| November/December 1997

 In every issue of Herbs for Health, professionals from a variety of health-care fields ­answer your questions about using medicinal herbs. Medical doctor Robert Rountree and herbalist Daniel Gagnon responded for this issue. 


I am a thirty-three-year-old male with a chronic condition called hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis. My symptoms are debilitating joint pain, hives, and, on occasion, stomach distress. I’ve been on prednisone and methotrexate for more than a year without a great deal of success. 

On the natural front, I’ve been taking glucosamine sulfate, fish oils, and vitamin and mineral supplements which seem to give me relief; however, because my condition has been so unpredictable, it’s hard to tell what’s working. I do know, however, that I want and need to reduce the pharmaceutical medicines because of the side effects. 

Over the past year I’ve also tried turmeric, bromelain, and high doses of vitamin C with no real success. Is there something that may offer me relief from the swelling and/or hives? What is good for a vascular condition?
E. B.
Received via email

Several herbs may help ease your joint pain, hives, and stomach distress. Fresh nettle, in liquid herbal extract form or freeze-dried capsules, alleviates and prevents the discharge of inflammatory compounds that cause swelling as well as hives. The supplement quercetin works well in tandem with fresh nettle to stabilize cells that secrete inflammatory compounds. Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) oil or its ground seed taken on a daily basis with meals will further calm inflammation. Avoid fried foods, foods made with hydrogenated fats, and meat. Green leafy and other vegetables, as well as whole grains, should be a major portion of the diet. Other useful herbs to take include butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus), which has an anti-­inflammatory effect on blood vessels; licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) which supports the adrenal gland while taking prednisone and methotrexate; and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), which offers support for distressed stomach tissues.
—Daniel Gagnon

Daniel Gagnon is a medical herbalist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, vice chairman of the American Herbal Products Association, and owner of an herbal retail store in Santa Fe.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds