Common Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 2 to 3 percent of the population worldwide.1 It is a disorder that affects skin cell growth. Skin cells, or keratinocytes, replicate much faster than usual. These then pile up, thickening the skin in these spots. They appear as red, raised patches and often are covered in silver ‘scales.’2
Alternative treatments for psoriasis
Though there are many drugs available to treat psoriasis, many people do not feel satisfied with their treatment. Psoriasis is also not well understood by researchers. Because of this, alternative treatments can be very helpful. One survey found that almost 50 percent of those living with psoriasis tried alternative medicine.3
Recent research has focused on testing some of these alternative therapies to see which are most effective. The goal is to create an integrative approach. Integrative medicine mixes conventional remedies like prescriptions with alternative therapies. There is a wide variety of alternative psoriasis treatments, from mineral baths to ointments to supplements.3
Balneotherapy, or bath therapy, is an ancient technique that is still used today. This technique includes bathing in natural or man-made mineral water pools. This usually includes time in the sun and a relaxing environment.3
The Dead Sea is a body of water in the Middle East with high mineral content. It is thought to be helpful for skin conditions like psoriasis. One study looked at the results of a 4 week-long Dead Sea treatment. People living with psoriasis reported significant improvement in both their symptoms and their quality of life.3
To recreate this at home, mix baking soda into your bathwater. Studies have shown that this treatment is both effective and risk-free.3
Fish oil contains large amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. It can be found in supplements or in cold water fish like salmon or sardines. Studies show that it has anti-inflammatory properties and may be helpful for disorders like psoriasis.
Multiple studies have been done to look at omega 3s and different forms of psoriasis. One study showed significant improvement for guttate psoriasis. However, this effect was not seen in all psoriasis forms. More research is needed to understand omega 3’s role in psoriasis treatment.3
Indigo naturalis is a Chinese herb that has been used for psoriasis and other skin conditions. It can be mixed into an ointment and applied to the skin. Studies show that it helps skin cell growth and may be anti-inflammatory.
Research showed symptom improvement when indigo was used for plaque and nail psoriasis. However, this research is still very early. More studies need to be performed to better understand indigo.3
Curcumin is a substance found in the spice turmeric. Historically, turmeric has been applied to the skin or taken as a supplement for dermatological disorders. Research has shown that it is anti-inflammatory and acts as an anti-oxidant.
One study showed that turmeric supplements significantly improved moderate psoriasis. The dose used in the study was quite high. They recommend using turmeric supplements as it would be difficult to eat the same amount.3
A common treatment for psoriasis is clobetasol propionate. This is a topical steroid that is anti-inflammatory and reduces itch.5 Honey is a common household item that also reduces inflammation and can promote skin healing. It has been found to be effective to treat psoriasis scales.
Researchers were interested to see if mixing honey and clobetasol would be more effective than one product alone. They found that mixing honey with a smaller amount of steroids was just as effective as the original dose of steroids. Decreasing steroid use is important as steroids can have many side effects.2
Current research shows that these therapies are safe and effective. More research must be done to understand them further and to learn how to best combine them with conventional treatment.
It is possible that some of these treatments may affect drugs that you are already using. Before trying any of these remedies, talk to your doctor.4
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