Chinese Medicine Worked For Me

Herbal King Magazine Articles

Health Magazine of April 1999 – Page 44

In June 1986, Helen Hale developed a measles-like rash all over her body, a temperature of 104° and swollen glands. Her temperature raged for seven days. Then Helen found she couldn’t walk because her knees were so painful. After three months of misdiagnoses, Helen’s GP, Dr Fred Allenby, diagnosed lupus, which was confirmed by tests at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

‘Systemic lupus tends to affect an organ, in my case my lungs, she says. ‘I had such bad chest infections I was on a nebuliser. Mum gave me physiotherapy every morning and night to clear mucus from my lungs. It was torture and didn’t always work. I was also on antibiotics because steroids destroy your immune system.’

‘At the height of my lupus I was taking 60mg of steroids a day and it didn’t drop below 5mg over the next ten years. I had to work part-time as I was always exhausted and, eventually, my boyfriend and I drifted apart. By 1996, the steroids had weakened my bones and I was getting osteoporosis. I had reached the end of my tether, when a girl at work told me Chinese medicine might be worth a try.’

‘My GP was supportive as long as I still had check-ups with him. I went to a Chinese practitioner Dr Gao with an open mind, not expecting much.’ Dr Gao took Helen’s pulses and told her she had trouble with her chest, lungs and swollen ankles. He gave her bagged herbs for making tea.

‘It tasted disgusting but I persevered. After four weeks I came off the nebuliser and didn’t need any antibiotics for my chest infections. And after ten months I came off the steroids and I haven’t had to take any since then!’

‘I still didn’t have much energy, though, so my friend Renee Tanner gave me weekly reflexology sessions – I was bounding with energy afterwards and I now go once a fortnight.’

‘When I had my six-monthly check-up in December 97 I still had lupus but the levels had gone down so much that they could not believe I wasn’t taking steroids or antibiotics. The hospital has also been in touch with Dr Gao to see if they can work together. Life is great again. I’ve increased my work hours, and have a social life and boyfriends. Dr Gao has given me back my life.’

How The Therapy Works

‘Chinese medicine considers what a person’s whole system is doing’ says Dr Duo Gao.

‘When I make a diagnosis I check the pulses – right wrist for the lungs and digestive system and left for the heart, liver and kidneys – look at skin colour and eyes, and listen to the symptoms.’

‘I treated Helen for her infections first, then to regulate her immune system, and finally to improve her lung function. I took Helen off steroids gradually – as long as she took them her immune system would stay suppressed. I used honey-mixed radix astralgi membra, a root used for treating lupus and for dealing with fluid retention, and herba houttuyniae cordatae, a grass which is good for coughs and lung infections. Helen’s improvement is dramatic and I hope she will be able to stop taking the herbal tea soon. There is no cure for lupus – even when her symptoms have stopped she will need monitoring for a few more years.’