Psoriasis and Natural Remedies
PSORIASIS: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder of skin with the symptoms of itching, crack, redness, soreness and bleeding. It usually causes discomfort and pain in the skin. It may appear anywhere in the body, but most commonly in the surfaces of scalp, the backs of wrists, the buttocks, the elbows and the knees. Sometimes, the nails are also affected with Psoriasis. There may be seen thickened areas with silvery scales, often in the scalps, elbows, knees and lower back. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition of skin as it has no permanent cure. Only a symptomatic relief can be done and severity can be lessening to some extent. It can often be completely cleared for periods of months or even years. It is not contagious but a lifelong skin disease.
Both male and female are equally prone to this disease. Researches show that the signs and symptoms mostly happen to appear between 15 and 35 years of age. There are different types of psoriasis conditions based on the severity and locations of the inflammation. These all types of psoriasis, whichever mild or severe, can impinge on the lifestyle and quality of life both physically and emotionally. The cause of the psoriasis is not known, however it is supposed to be due to abnormality in the functioning of white cells (T-cells) which cause inflammation and the immune response in the skin. It can also be triggered by any skin infections, like strep throat, or by medicines (ß-Blockers, lithium, etc). The overgrowth of Candida albicans and other bacterial byproducts are supposed to exacerbate the condition. The other causes may include genetic, poor liver function, stress, sunburn,
illness and infection, hormonal changes, poor diet, etc. As the data shows, more than 4.5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with psoriasis and approximately 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. An estimated 20% have moderate to severe psoriasis(Ref: American Academy of Dermatology). Stress, anxiety and loneliness may happen for the people who are living with psoriasis.
Types of Psoriasis:
There are many forms of Psoriasis. They are differentiated on the basis of severity, location, duration, shape & size, and pattern of the scales. Among them, ‘Plaque Psoriasis’ occurs commonly. Here are some other common types of psoriasis and their site of inflammation.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR PSORIASIS
- Psoriasis in the scalp, elbows, knees, legs, arms, genitals, nails, palms, and soles.
- Inverse Psoriasis in the armpit, under the breasts, in the skin folds around the groin, buttocks, and genitals.
- Guttate Psoriasis in the children and young adults which usually starts after a sore throat with small, red, scaly spots in the skin.
- Pustular Psoriasis, characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin and localized to certain areas like hands and feet.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis, often affecting most of the body surfaces, characterized by periodic and widespread fiery redness of the skin.
The treatment of psoriasis involves the reduction and management of inflammation, controlling the shedding of the skin and hence improving the quality of life. Moisturizing creams and lotions may help controlling itching and loosening scales. Sometimes dietary supplements can make feeling of recovering. The other treatment strategies involve variety of medications and therapies, such as Vitamins, Balneotherapy, Herbal Treatment, Goeckerman Treatment, Light Therapy, Coal Tar, Anthralin, UV Light B, Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, and Biological agents (Alefacept, Etanercept, Efalizumab, etc). Let’s consider about the natural remedies for the psoriasis.
There are some diet regimens (which help to eliminate toxins through the bowels and the urinary tracts, rather than through the skin) which have been tried by people with psoriasis over the years with varying results. These include the turkey diet, the low protein diet, the starvation diet and the rice diet.
Dietary supplements mean to contain basic essential nutrients like vitamins, proteins, minerals; herbal supplements and other natural substances like garlic , ginseng, fish oil and enzymes. Vitamins like Vitamin D can be useful for the localized psoriasis and can be used as supplements. Higher dose may be required in the case of psoriasis. Retinoids, in the form of creams, and oral medications may be useful for the localized psoriasis. It is not safe to use Retinoids for the women who are either pregnant or who intend to become pregnant. It may result birth defects.
Studies have shown that dietary supplement with fish oil could improve psoriasis as it alters immune reactivity. One of the Studies reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (September 1993) has suggested that fish oil supplementation may help patients with psoriasis who are receiving long-term retinoid treatment by reducing their risk of atherosclerosis, a disease that “clogs” the arteries with fatty plaques.
Similarly Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has shown the characteristic of inhibiting T-Cell activation. One of the possible causes of psoriasis is due to abnormality in the function of T-cell. Hence, milk thistle products can be an alternative remedy for the psoriasis. It improves liver detoxification and reduces cellular proliferation. Oregano Oil, commonly used as spices for baking and cooking, having antibacterial and antifungal properties, may be helpful in the infections coupled with psoriasis. Shark Cartilage extract, known to have anti-inflammatory properties may alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. Turmeric is one of popular names in the traditional Chinese medication. It is also kind of spice used in cooking. It has property to relieve the swelling, inflammation and pain associated with psoriasis. People with gallstones or bile duct problems should not take turmeric.
Light therapy is another alternative remedy for psoriasis. Natural sunlight has advantageous effects on psoriasis. One should not get enough sun exposure; it can cause psoriasis to flare up and worsen. Sunlight and water are natural therapies which can help improve the conditions in psoriasis. Water is useful in softening psoriasis lesions.
Herbal remedies could be better alternative for the improvement in the Psoriatic conditions. Patient should be cautious while taking herbal remedies as if in the other remedies. Some of the herbal remedies are unsafe to use during pregnancy. Green drinks and detoxifying herbal teas may be the right choice for cleansing power.
Regular physical exercise may help to soothe psoriatic conditions.
Chinese herbs most commonly used in the treatment of psoriasis*:
Chinese herbs are most commonly used for the treatment of psoriasis. They are found to help to restore the balanced state of the body to allow psoriasis to resolve. Most of these herbs have beneficial properties like anti-inflammatory, and anti-infective.
Some common names include:
Rehmannia glutinosa (dried root) (Chinese foxglove)
- Angelica sinensis (root) (Chinese Angelica)
- Salvia miltiorrhiza (root) (Red rooted Sage)
- Dictamnus dasycarpus (root cortex) (Chinese Dittany)
- Smilax glabra (underground stem) (Glabrous greenbrier)
- Oldenlandia diffusa (whole plant) (Spreading yedyotis)
- Lithospermum erythrorhizon (root) (Amebia euchroma)
- Paeonia lactiflora (root) (Peony)
- Carthamus tinctorius (flower) (Safflower)
- Glycyrrhiza uralensis (root) (Liquorice/Licorice)
PsoriasEase is a time-honored formula contains 12 different kind of herbs. It has detoxifying, blood cleansing and regulating, antipyretic, skin nurturing properties. In China, this product was clinically applied in psoriasis of blood-heat type(which means you need detox your blood). It will be a good internal blood cleansing formula when using essential oil (tea tree, lavender, oregano oil) externally.
* Review Article on ”Use of common Chinese herbs in the treatment of psoriasis” by T. W. Tse., Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 28, 2003.