Treatment of Psoriasis with Natural Remedies

by Savvas Ioannides N.D.

Psoriasis is an inherited chronic, inflammatory and hyperproliferative disease of the skin, scalp nails and joints.  It affects 0.1% to 8% of the population. In Scandinavia alone, 7%-8% of the people suffer from psoriasis, that is 2 million people and 2% in the UK that is more than 1 million people. It usually occurs in adolescence (16-22 years) and late adulthood (57-60 years) but it may happen at any age even in infancy. It presents with red scaly lesions usually on the scalp, knee and elbows that might cause discomfort and itching.

Psoriasis-knees

Causes

The aetiology of psoriasis still remains unknown, however genetic predisposition is evident. Other possible causes include:

  • Defects in cellular proliferation and reduced cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) leading to increased skin susceptibility to chronic plaque formation.
  • Digestive factors such as incomplete protein digestion leading to increased levels of undigested amino acids in the bowel which, when exposed to intestinal flora, form toxic polyamines, which have been shown to reduce cAMP production.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Other factors such as alcohol, skin trauma, sunburn, β-haemolytic streptococcal infection, gluten, viral infection and certain medications such as β-adrenergic blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, lithium and other might exacerbate psoriasis.

Naturopathic Therapeutic Considerations

Naturopathic treatment of psoriasis focuses on the various causes and triggers of the disease with the exception of the genetic factor. Reducing the frequency and severity of psoriasis by targeting specific causes will indeed improve patient’s well being and quality of life and reduce suffering.

Nutrition

Nutrition is focused on dietary changes to:

  1. Eliminate aggravating foods.
  2. Increase foods that help gastrointestinal and liver function.
  3. Increase specific nutrients, which have therapeutic activity such as anti-inflammation, antioxidation and healing.

There are many nutritional supplements that might be indicated depending on patient’s compliance to the nutritional plan, deficiencies or want to achieve a therapeutic effect by using a higher dose than the one in foods.

Vitamin A, C, D, E, Folic acid, B12, Selenium, Zinc Omega 3 fatty acids and quercetin are all indicated in psoriasis but not all of those are needed to be taken at one time.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal categories include anti-inflammatory, vulnerary (healing), immune, hepatic, digestive, anti-anxiety, depurative and adaptogenic (stress modulators).

Arctium lappa (Burdock)

Burdock is a depurative, that is blood cleansing, and has been traditionally prescribed for chronic skin diseases such as for eczema especially when dry and scaly. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It should be administered initially in low doses and gradually increasing the dosage so that no healing crisis and worsening of the symptoms occur due to drastic toxic elimination.

Berberis aquifolium (Oregon Grape)

Oregon Grape is also a depurative and anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial and antipsoriatic. Clinical trials have confirmed that Oregon Grape ointment was found to improve cellular cutaneous immune mechanisms and reduce keratinocyte hyperproliferation. I usually use Oregon Grape internally and externally as an ointment.

Smilax spp. (Sarsaparilla)

The root of Sarsaparilla is traditionally used as a blood purifier and alterative. It is a gentle circulatory stimulant and slightly increases testosterone. It is indicated for psoriasis, rheumatic conditions and joint pain and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola)

Gotu Kola is also healing, depurative and anti-inflammatory and is used for skin inflammation and ulcers.

Lifestyle

  • Stress management, meditation and other stress reduction strategies have shown to increase the rate of resolution of psoriatic lesions.
  • Elimination of alcohol; alcohol increases histamine levels.
  • Sunlight exposure.
Advertisements

About Naturopathy by Savvas Ioannides
Savvas Ioannides is a Naturopathic, Herbal and GAPS Diet practitioner who studied at Nature Care College in Sydney. Savvas uses holistic and natural therapies including Herbal remedies and Nutrition to boost your vitality and help you achieve optimum levels of health.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: