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.
What Causes Psoriasis?
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.
Anything that weakens the immune system makes symptoms worse, and in people with autoimmune disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) or immunosuppressed people (e.g. transplant recipients, cancer sufferers undergoing chemo, HIV) psoriasis can be very severe.
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.
- 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).
Pharmaceutical medications can cause severe side effects for some users, so they're used for short periods of time. Because each of these drugs works to suppress your immune system, you may become more susceptible to other forms of illness when undergoing treatment for longer periods of time.
Let’s consider about the natural remedies for the psoriasis.
Topical Solution - Essential Oil For Psoriasis
1. Sea Buckthorn Oil
There is increasing evidence that omega-3 [linoleic] as well as omega-6 [ alpha-linolenic] polyunsaturated fatty acids play important roles in mediating and regulating inflammatory and immune responses within the body. It may also slow the skin aging process due to the high levels of Vitamins A, C, and E.
Sea Buckthorn has been used to treat skin disorders in Eastern medicine for centuries and is now being touted as a natural remedy in an effort to treat periodic psoriasis flare-ups. Sea Buckthorn oil may alleviate symptoms of eczema and psoriasis and promote tissue regeneration. According to the Rosacea Support Group, Sea Buckthorn oil contains palmitoleic acid (Omega-7), a component of skin. In addition, Sea Buckthorn oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and regeneration-promoting properties, and contains essential fatty acids and tocopherols - vital for maintaining healthy skin.
An ingredient of the oil, palmitoleic acid (Omega-7), is already considered a valuable topical agent in treating burns and healing wounds. Various researches suggests that this essential fatty acid can also nourish the skin when adequate quantities of sea buckthorn oil is consumed and that this is a useful method for treating systemic skin diseases, such as psoriasis, eczema and atopic dermatitis
Common triggers of psoriasis outbreak are dry skin, stress, infections and various medications. Because of its high levels of Vitamins A and E, essential fatty acids and flavonoids, research indicates that Sea Buckthorn oil may:
- regulate hormones, as well as normalizing sebaceous secretions, endocrine balance and other systems that can be affected by hormone imbalances
- act as an anti-inflammatory, nerve and vascular conditioner, and an anti-irritant
- be an anti-microbial (bacteria, yeast, fungus, other microbes)
Sea Buckthorn oil is already widely used alone or in various preparations topically applied for burns, scalds, ulcerations and infections. Sea Buckthorn oil has UV-blocking activity as well as emollient properties and it is an aid in promoting regeneration of tissues. Though there is no way to get rid of psoriasis, Sea Buckthorn oil may assist in avoiding annoying and painful outbreaks and help your body recover more quickly.
The purest form of Sea Buckthorn Oil products is from SeaBuckWonders. SeaBuckWonders uses 100% pure sea buckthorn from Tibet. The oil has the highest Omega-7 contect at 31-35% and is USDA certified organic. They offer the pure oil, encapsulated oil, and a full line of skin care products.
2. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a complex natural oil that contains over 140 active ingredients. It is a emollient, a substance that softens and moistens dry cracked skin. ts, and heals any lesions or scaling.
Neem also soothes the redness and irritation directly healing lesions through the steroid like effect of some of its ingredients without all the side effects. Neem oil generally enhances skin health and the natural immunity of your skin, which is one of the biggest factors in psoriasis. Neem oil is a powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial that helps to nourish the scalp, soften skin, soothe irritation and stimulate the immune system. Neem oil is an essential ingredient in traditional Indian hair treatments, adding shine along with scalp health.
Neem oil is strongly antibacterial, and cleans up any skin infections that may have developed because of cracked broken skin (due to dryness or scratching). When used regularly (by using a neem soap, neem shampoo, or neem lotion) neem also prevents any future skin infections that may aggravate or bring back psoriasis symptoms. (As a bonus neem oil also prevents insect bites, another trigger that can worsen symptoms. DEET, the synthetic chemical in insect repellents is a known skin irritant which would aggravate psoriasis symptoms.)
Neem leaf supports and stimulates the immune system; anything that strengthens your immune system helps with psoriasis. One research study showed that when people who used coal or pine tar treatment for psoriasis also took neem leaf extract internally, their psoriasis symptoms cleared up faster. Other research reports showed that nimbidin, one of the components found in neem seed oil, has anti-inflammatory properties comparable to standard drugs like phenylbutazone (non-steroid) or prednisolone (a steroid).
Experiments and reports from patients with psoriasis suggest that taking neem leaf orally combined with a topical neem oil treatment (like baths, soap, lotion or salve) can be at least as effective as cortisone in treating psoriasis with none of the nasty side effects. TheraNeem Naturals sells a line of shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, organic neem capsules, and pure neem oil. The topical products are paraben, sulfate and gluten free.
3. Coal and Pine Tar Products
The Federal Drug Administration has approved coal and pine tar products for the treatment of mild psoriasis. Coal and pine tar products work to treat psoriasis by slowing the growth of skin cells, improving the affected skin's appearance, eliminating inflammation and reducing scaling.
Before using coal or pine tar, be sure to test it on a small patch of skin. If your skin becomes red, moisturize the psoriasis area before you use again. Coal and pine tar also can cause skin to become more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use sunscreen and limit your sun exposure when using this treatment.
Grandpa Brands Company has been making a pure, pine tar soap since 1878. The product line also includes shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
4. Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid, an over-the-counter medication that can be obtained without a doctor's prescription, is a Federal Drug Administration approved treatment for cases of mild psoriasis.
Salicylic acid is a keratoolytic, a substance that causes the outer layer of skin to peel away. It works to treat a variety of skin conditions; in the case of psoriasis, salicylic acid causes scales to soften and fall away more easily.When using salicylic acid to treat mild psoriasis, use in moderation. Strong salicylic acids can lead to skin irritation or hair loss if applied too frequently.
Home Health Inc offers a medicated scalp and body wash as well as a cream with 2% salicylic acid along with moisturizing oils without artificial colors, preservatives or parabens.
5. Emu Oil
Emu Oil may help to reduce symptoms of psoriasis due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Emu Oil brings relief from the pain and discomfort of psoriasis and can also help reduce the appearance of psoriasis by calming redness, promoting smoother skin and reducing the amount of plaque that can build up on your skin.
Emu oil is almost 100% triglyceride lipid, a type of fatty compound that is also abundant in human skin lipids. Since emu and human lipids are almost identical, the absorption rate of emu oil into human skin is 99.9% Emu oil is high in oleic acid which increases its ability to carry compounds through the skin to reduce skin inflammation and psoriasis symptoms from the inside out. The most effective treatment for psoriasis is to use a combination of topical and internal applications.
Thunder Ridge Emu products are safe, non-toxic and do not contain additives or preservatives. Emu Oil is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, so it’s excellent for psoriasis where the skin is most likely to be irritated which can lead to infection. Thunder Ridge's unique all-natural feed program is a customized blend of grains and minerals. Thunder Ridge uses no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones or animal proteins.
Emu oil is beneficial because it contains 22 essential fatty acids, including Omega 3, 6, and 9. These components accelerate healing of burns, stiff and swollen joints, chronic skin conditions, muscle pain and more. The Omega 3's have anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant properties as well as other important health benefits. They reduce inflammation and can provide protection against cardiovascular disease, arthritis, skin conditions, depression and other mood-related disorders.
Other Do-it-Home Remedies
- Apple cider vinegar is alkaline and will help reduce the inflammation. Rinsing your scalp with cool water that has an cup of organic apple cider vinegar added will help soothe itching. Dynamic Health Labs makes a pure, organic apple cider vinegar. Use a sulphate-free shampoo to wash your hair.
- When washing, make sure you use cool water, as hot water can irritate and dry the skin. Organic shampoos that contain wheat germ or jojoba oil are also soothing and nourishing.
- Organic chamomile tea is another ideal hair rinse as it is calming to both skin and and spirit and has been used for centuries as a stress-relieving beverage.
- Use organic essential oils as a salve for the areas on your scalp affected by psoriasis. You can make an oil mixture by blending one teaspoon of the following ingredients together: neem oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil and add them to an oil base made of three teaspoons of olive, almond, wheat germ or coconut oil and gently massage on the irritated areas.
- 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.
Dietary supplements to take internally
Consider basic essential nutrients like vitamins, proteins, minerals; herbal supplements and other natural substances like garlic , ginseng, fish oil and enzymes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Green drinks and detoxifying herbal teas may be the right choice for cleansing power.
Herbal Formulas(Blend) PsoriasEase could be better alternative for the improvement in the Psoriatic conditions.
Traditional herbal formulas 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.
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. 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)
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.