Herbs and natural remedies
The use of natural treatment options can be effective for some when used in conjunction with traditional treatment options.
NPF suggest that you talk with your doctor before taking any herbal remedies to avoid dangerous interactions with your medications. Also, you should not take some herbal remedies if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or mood disorders. Stop usage and consult your doctor immediately if you experience side effects.Here are some of the more popular natural remedies that may help with your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
According to some research, aloe vera has been shown to help reduce redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. Look for creams containing 0.5% aloe. The aloe plant gel can be applied to the skin up to three times a day.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used to help relieve scalp itch from psoriasis. Stick with organic apple cider vinegar (which can be found at most grocery stores) and apply it to your scalp several times a week. Diluting the vinegar with water on a one-to-on ratio can help if you experience any burning sensation. Further, rinsing the skin once the solution has dried can help prevent irritation. Avoid using vinegar if you have open wounds, or if your skin is cracked or bleeding.
Capsaicin is the ingredient in chili peppers that make them spicy. When added to creams and ointments, capsaicin can block nerve endings that transmit pain. Capsaicin may also help to reduce inflammation, redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. However, more research is needed to assess its long-term benefits and safety. Some people may feel a burning sensation where capsaicin ointment is applied.
Dead Sea salts
One possible remedy for removing scales and easing itching associated with psoriasis is to add Dead Sea or Epsom salts to your warm (not hot) bath water and soaking in it for about 15 minutes. To avoid dry skin, apply moisturizer after bathing.
While there is no scientific evidence to support the use of oats to relieve symptoms associated with psoriasis, some individuals have reported a reduction in itch and redness when an oat paste or bath is applied to the skin.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, native to Australia, is believed to have antiseptic qualities and can be applied to the skin. Some people find using shampoos with tea tree oil helps relieve their scalp psoriasis. However, there are no scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of tea tree oil on psoriasis. Use tea tree oil with care as some are allergic to it.
Turmeric has been frequently studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can alter gene expression. Research has found turmeric's ability to alter TNF cytokine expression, which can help in minimizing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares for some. You can take turmeric concentrated in pill or supplement form. It is also a main ingredient in many foods, including curries.
Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape)
Mahonia is a powerful antimicrobial herb that plays a role in immune response. Applying a cream containing 10% mahonia is effective in treating mild to moderate psoriasis. Because it is in the alkaloid family, mahonia should only be used topical unless under physician supervision.
To learn more about botanical medicine or natural approaches to psoriasis, contact NPF's Patient Navigation Center. Patient navigators can help you find a licensed naturopathic physician in your area who understands conditions related to the immune system, like psoriasis.