An ointment, jar of menthol rub, and a bar of african black soap against a yellow background. Alternative treatments.

Alternative Medicine for Psoriasis: Does They Actually Work?

"Before taking any herbal remedy for your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, talk with your doctor." We all know this infamous phrase.

But what if your current doctor doesn't believe in alternative medicine, and you feel like you exhausted all the options?

Turning to the internet

This is when I started searching for some information online. I searched various psoriasis-related websites and read a ton of posts on psoriasis-related groups on Facebook.

Some ideas proposed on social media channels were, delicately speaking, strange. Starting from throwing acid on your skin, through taking a bath in mouthwash liquid, to burning the skin with liquid nitrogen.

Vicks VapoRub

The first logical and harmless product I found that became an internet sensation was Vicks VapoRub. Yes, you read correctly. I remembered that cream from childhood when my mom used to put it on my lungs when I had a cough.

Technically speaking this cream has nothing to do with psoriasis or any skin related disease. Upon quick research, I found out that it contains a substance that helps and enhances cooling. It also has a soothing effect and some people have experienced reduction in scaling as well.

All this information made a lot of sense to me. The menthol in it cools down the itch and thymol even stops the growth of skin cells, as it was used to stop bacteria growth in ancient Egypt mummies preservation.

However, my skin redness and flakes didn't disappear, so I began searching for another product.

Black African soap

Black African Soap was the next popular remedy according to internet resources. People said their skin got way better and stopped itching, so it sounded promising.

The soap appeared to be made in Africa and containing no chemicals, but coconut oil, shea butter, charcoal, and virgin kernel oil. What can possibly go wrong?

I gave it a shot and used it for a few months. While my healthy skin became incredibly smooth and soft, the redness wasn't gone and the flakes didn't stop either.

Yiganerjing Cream

Another product is called Yiganerjing, and it’s a Chinese Herbal Cream (CHC) claiming to treat everything from psoriasis and eczema to deep wounds. Literally everyone said it does miracles and it only costs around $2-3 per tube if you order online.

Great, right? But, there was one 'but' hiding in the "etc" listed on the ingredients list on a leaflet. The majority of the listed plant species appeared to be anti-inflammatory properties in Chinese medicine, but after listing 10 of them the company decided to include a magical word "etc" in order not to give away their secret.

As a result, nobody really knows what's hiding in this magic cream. It could as well contain steroid that some people can't take and no one would know about it. I tried it and it really cleared me completely within 3 days, but when I stopped using half of my plaques came back.

So why does it work? Is it due to the mysterious 'unicorn' ingredient or 'seven swords'? Whatever it was got lost in translation from Chinese. I'd be careful with such medicine again.

It's important to do your research

From my experience, none of the above actually helped me to improve my psoriasis long-term. Some of the home remedies might work for one person, but it doesn't mean it will for you.

And while it doesn't hurt to try them, do the research beforehand in regards to some ingredients, so you won't cause more harm than good to your skin!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.