Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)



* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Sarcoid of Boeck
  • Schaumann's disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

My friend has been diagnosed with Boeck's sarcoidosis. What is it? What can be done and how does it work? What natural therapy can be used?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the development and growth of tiny lumps of cells called granulomas. If these tiny granulomas grow and clump together in an organ, they can affect how the organ works, leading to the symptoms of sarcoidosis. The granulomas can be found in almost any part of the body, but occur more commonly in the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, and liver. Although no one is sure what causes sarcoidosis, it is thought by most scientists to be a disorder of the immune system. The course of the disease varies from person to person. It often goes away on its own, but in some people symptoms of sarcoidosis may last a lifetime. For those who need treatment, anti-inflammatory medications and immunosuppressants can help.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 4/5/2016

What causes sarcoidosis?

No one yet knows what causes sarcoidosis. It is thought by most scientists to be a disorder of the immune system, where the body's natural defense system malfunctions. Some physicians believe that sarcoidosis may result from a respiratory infection caused by a virus. Others suspect that exposure to toxins or allergens in the environment is to blame.[4][3] It's also possible that some people have a genetic predisposition to developing sarcoidosis, which, when combined with an environmental trigger, produces the disease.[5][3] Studies are ongoing to investigate the genetic and environmental components of this disease.[4][5]


Last updated: 4/6/2016

What are the signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis?

Many people who have sarcoidosis don't have symptoms. Others may feel like they are coming down with the flu or a respiratory infection. While almost any body part or system can be affected, the lungs are most commonly involved.[1][4][3]

If granulomas form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath (dyspnea), a cough that won't go away, and chest pain. Some people feel very tired, uneasy, or depressed. Night sweats and weight loss are also common.[1][4]     

Sarcoidosis can also cause the following: [1][4][3]

  •   Skin rashes, ulcers or discoloration
  •   Joint stiffness or pain
  •   Enlarged lymph nodes
  •   Enlarged liver or spleen
  •   Vision problems, eye dryness or irritation
  •   Headaches, seizures, or weakness on one side of the face
  •   Aches and pains in the muscles and bones
  •   Abnormal heart beats
  •   Kidney stones
Last updated: 4/6/2016

What treatment is available for sarcoidosis?

The treatment of sarcoidosis depends on [1][4][6]

  • the symptoms present
  • the severity of the symptoms
  • whether any vital organs (e.g., your lungs, eyes, heart, or brain) are affected
  • how the organ is affected.

Some organs must be treated, regardless of your symptoms. Others may not need to be treated. Usually, if a patient doesn't have symptoms, he or she doesn't need treatment, and probably will recover in time. [1][4][6]

Currently, the drug that is most commonly used to treat sarcoidosis is prednisone.  When a patient's condition gets worse when taking prednisone or when the side effects of prednisone are severe in the patient, a doctor may prescribe other drugs. Most of these other drugs reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system. These other drugs include: hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), methotrexate, azathioprine (Imuran), and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).[1][4][6] Researchers continue to look for new and better treatments for sarcoidosis. Anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs and antibiotics are currently being studied.[1]

More detailed information about the treatment of sarcoidosis can be found at the following links:

Last updated: 4/6/2016

Is there any information about alternative therapies for sarcoidosis?

You can find relevant journal articles on alternative therapies for sarcoidosis through a service called PubMed, a searchable database of biomedical journal articles. Although not all of the articles are available for free online, most articles listed in PubMed have a summary available. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library or your local library for interlibrary loan. You can also order articles online through the publisher’s Web site. Using sarcoidosis AND alternative medicine as your search term should locate articles. To narrow your search, click on the filters on the left side of the screenbox and specify your criteria for locating more relevant articles.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.

Last updated: 10/11/2013

Is there an institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that may be able to provide information about alternative therapies for sarcoidosis?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).  The NCCIH, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not genrally considered part of conventional medicine. We recommend you or your friend contact them directly to learn more.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
Toll-free: 888-644-6226
TTY: 866-464-3615
Web site:

Last updated: 4/6/2016

Other Names for this Disease
  • Sarcoid of Boeck
  • Schaumann's disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.