Psoriasis is among the most common and most difficult to control of all skin diseases, affecting about 2 percent of the population. It affects men and women equally, and usually appears between the ages of fifteen and thirty. It generally follows a chronic course of acute flare-ups alternating with periods of remission. Home remedies psoriasis can bring instant relief.
The word psoriasis is derived from the Greek psora, which means "to itch." Salmon-red bumps with a silvery scale appear on the skin, get bigger, and grow together to form large plaques. Lesions of psoriasis vary in size from fractions of an inch in diameter to large plaques covering most of the body and requiring hospitalization. Places on the body most commonly affected by psoriasis include the
elbows, knees, scalp, and sacral areas. The nails are involved in about one-half of cases, with pitting, breaking, thickening under the nail, or thickening of the nail itself. In addition, between 10 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, which can be quite painful.
Because of the chronic, difficult nature of psoriasis, professional help is needed in all but the least severe cases.
There appear to be many reasons why some people develop psoriasis and others do not. It has a tendency to be inherited—about one-third of those who have it have another family member with psoriasis. Several studies have documented the relationship between specific stresses and the start and flare-ups of psoriasis. Almost half of all people with psoriasis report that a specific stressful event occurred within one month before the first episode of psoriasis.
List of Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Herbal liver tonics, together with tissue and blood cleansers, or alteratives, form the most important initial part of herbal treatment for psoriasis. Slightly less important are nerve tonics, or nervines, which soothe the nerves and lessen the itching of psoriasis.
Applying aloe vera gel to the lesions can help. Dr. Andrew Weil reported that 83 percent of psoriasis patients who applied aloe-vera cream three times a day for up to four weeks noted an improvement. Dr. Weil recommends using pure aloe vera gel instead of an aloe vera cream that contains other ingredients.
Apple-cider vinegar diluted in water can be used to temporarily help relieve itching and scaling. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar can also be diluted in three to four times as much lukewarm water and poured over the head, rubbed in, left for one minute, and then rinsed out. Or you can add 1/2 cup of cider vinegar to a tubful of bath water to help restore acidity to the skin.
Banana peel is a key ingredient in Exorex. This is a lotion concocted from coal tar and a specific essential fatty acid from banana peel that is associated with the immune system. Reportedly, the idea was derived from Zulu folklore, in which banana peels have been used for a variety of skin ailments for years.
Burdock root can help improve flare-ups of psoriasis. Take 20 to 40 drops of tincture three times a day.
Chamomile is widely used in Europe for treating psoriasis. It contains anti-inflammatory flavonoid compounds. If you have ragweed allergies, however, do not use chamomile, as it is a member of the ragweed family.
Castor oil is particularly helpful when left overnight on thick, small, well-circumscribed lesions. If cold-pressed castor oil is mixed with baking soda, it has been found to greatly improve thick, scaly heel skin, as long as the skin isn't cracked.
Cayenne pepper has anti-inflammatory properties and helps with healing. Two clinical trials reviewed in the November 1998 issue of Archives of Dermatology reported that 0.025 percent capsaicin cream, made from hot peppers, works to reduce the redness and scaling in psoriasis. Capsaicin cream is available over the counter as Capzasin-P or Zostrix. It should be used over a six-week period. Care should be taken not to apply it to broken skin.
Common figwort helps to clear psoriatic plaques. The recommended dose is 2 milliliters of tincture, taken twice a day.
Dandelion tincture is useful for stimulating bile flow and clearing toxins out of the system. It is frequently combined with yellow dock (see below) for this purpose. The recommended dose is 30 to 60 drops twice a day.