What is Psoriasis?
Does living with psoriatic skin condition concern you? Do you remain depressed with the way your skin looks when it flares up? The continuous urge to scratch your skin may worsen psoriasis which needs immediate medical attention. But what if you can prevent this situation from happening without having to use any of those expensive conventional medicine approaches?
Living with psoriasis can be tough, and its treatment is not a matter of a day or two. Psoriasis is a common, chronic, genetic, systemic inflammatory disorder that is characterized by signs and symptoms like elevated itchy plaques of raised red skin covered with thick silvery scales. Psoriasis is usually found on the elbows, knees, and scalp but can often influence the legs, trunk, and nails. Psoriasis could be seen on any area of the skin. Psoriasis isn’t an infection and therefore isn’t infectious. Touching the skin and then touching someone else won’t transmit psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, characterized by abnormal growth of skin cells that constitutes to piling up of the underlying skin cells.
Psoriasis is well known for its recurrence; this is because treatments through modern and conventional approaches offer only symptomatic relief from psoriasis and are associated with serious side effects like liver failure, bone marrow depletion, and kidney failure. However, naturopathy treatment for psoriasis is found to be effective in the successful remission of Psoriasis with negligible side effects. Treating psoriasis naturally provides patients with an option to explore multiple natural remedies for psoriasis that ranges from dandruff solution, phototherapy to phytotherapy which is for internal and external use to nutritional therapy.
Naturopathic medicine treatment for Psoriasis
Naturopathy believes in treating a patient’s condition through dietary modification, manipulation of dietary fats, and the use of antioxidants and proteolytic enzymes. Some of these therapies that can help in treating psoriasis are :
a) Mud packs of clay- Mud packs of clay are rich sources of essential minerals that have a variety of effects when used on the skin, especially in conditions like Psoriasis. These are known to exert thermal, mechanical, and chemical effects on the skin by increasing the skin permeability, and improving microcirculation in the skin. Application of mud packs of clay reduces the thickness of the upper layers of the epidermis like stratum corneum and stratum lucidum and inhibits the aggregation of inflammatory mediators.
b) Balneotherapy- The therapy involves usage of medicated mineral waters, medical peloids and natural gasses for therapeutic purposes. Balneotherapy has a positive clinical effect in psoriatic patients where it is found to significantly reduce inflammation and promote increased differentiation of keratinocytes. It also soothes the skin and prevents it from excessive itching caused by psoriasis.
c) Seawater- Seawater is highly rich in minerals like magnesium, strontium, sodium, potassium, and selenium. All these constituents benefit the skin in psoriasis by exerting anti-inflammatory properties. It is 100% natural with no side effects and used as a cosmetic agent in many cosmetic preparations. Swimming in seawater or applying this water on your skin can slough off dead skin and improves the appearance of psoriasis.
d) Epsom salt bath – Epsom salt which is also known as magnesium sulfate is a constituent made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Epsom salt is generally used topically in a water bath to enhance the softening of the skin and exfoliation. It relieves muscle tension and acts as an astringent and promotes keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation.
e) Vitamin E consumption- It’s an important ingredient that constitutes an important part of almost all cosmetics. It’s known to possess anti-aging effects and protects the skin from various deleterious effects through its antitumorigenic and photoprotective properties. The antioxidant property of Vitamin E for psoriasis reduces oxidative stress and protects the skin cells from damage in various skin conditions like psoriasis.
f) Sunbathe- Research suggests that the ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun can help treat various symptoms of psoriasis. The UV rays exert its immunosuppressive effects, in autoimmune conditions like psoriasis. It slows down the rapid rate of skin growth and shedding in psoriatic skin conditions. Thus, easing the inflammation and minimizing the scaling of the skin in people suffering from mild to moderate psoriasis.
g) Lecithin benefits for psoriasis: Psoriatic patients are often encountered with Issues related to fat metabolism which may result in serum lipid abnormalities, aggravating symptoms of psoriasis-like inflammation, parakeratosis, and congestion of skin cells. Lecithin is a phospholipid and its Supplementation may prevent permanent loss of lipids.
h) Dietary modification: Anti-inflammatory foods like Vegetables, Seeds, Fruits, Nuts & Grains can help maintain good skin and alleviate psoriasis-related flare-ups. A diet such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and flax seeds, probiotics, oils that are good for the heart. Supplements like vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and selenium have all been known to show desired effects in treating psoriasis.
i) Herbal treatment- Some of the popular natural remedies that are proven to be effective in psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are mentioned below: These therapies can be used alone or in combination with other therapies.
– Aloe Vera
An ancient traditional medicine that has a plethora of benefits in treating various skin conditions. The active constituents of Aloe Vera contribute keratolytic effect and have reported its efficacy in the desquamation of psoriatic plaques. It also soothes and calms the flare-ups and relieves a patient from severe itching and inflammation during psoriasis.
– Chamomile – It is used as a therapeutic tradition for a long period of time in treating various gastrointestinal ailments.
– Quercetin an active constituent of Chamomile is used in the treatment of Psoriasis by exerting its anti-inflammatory activity through the inhibition of lipoxygenase. Quercetin can penetrate the skin properly and relieves pain and itching associated with psoriasis. It has also been found that paste of dry leaves applied externally in scalp psoriasis can relieve from itching.
– Nigella sativa – it has a wide spectrum of activities including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-helminthic. The seeds of Nigella sativa are used traditionally for psoriasis where its external application is proved to be effective in treating eruptions of the skin, general pain, and eruption of patches.
Studies in naturpathic medicine for psoriasis
1. Effect of the Dead Sea climatotherapy for psoriasis on quality of life..
A total of 119 patients suffering from psoriasis Vulgaris and psoriatic arthritis participated in the study, where they were determined to understand the effect of the Dead Sea climatotherapy on the quality of life parameters.
The patient’s quality of life parameters was assessed through a set of questionnaires at different time points: the day of arrival, the day of departure, and 3 and 6 months after the end of treatment.
The results showed significant improvement in the quality of life scores between the time of arrival to the time of departure and to 3 months after the end of the 6 months treatment. It has been found that bathing in the dead sea which is rich in minerals and salts may induce an anti-proliferative effect and promotes psychological soothing in patients suffering from psoriasis Vulgaris and psoriatic arthritis.
2. Is There a Place for Local Natural Treatment of Psoriasis? .
A double-blind controlled study, carried out in 2248 patients with both mild to moderate cases of psoriasis was assessed to understand the efficacy of a mixture in an ointment form of propolis (50%) and aloe vera (3%) against a placebo group. The duration of the study was carried out from 2012 to 2015.
In Group 1 who received propolis (50%) and aloe vera (3%) in the form of ointment to be applied topically for 12 weeks showed clear symptoms of psoriasis in 64.4% (excellent response), good response in 22.2%, and weak response in 5.6% and no response in 7.7%. Also, histology also demonstrated a marked reduction in hyperkeratosis and acanthosis.
In Group 2 (placebo group) no significant improvement was observed after 12 weeks of treatment.
Psoriasis is a multifactorial disorder that requires a systematic approach that is based on Nutritional strategies. Naturopathic medicine for psoriasis involves an adequate interaction between nutrition and supplementation that might act synergistically to reduce psoriasis severity and consequently, improve the quality of life for psoriasis. Most complementary and alternative therapies like naturopathic medicine are safe to use. Much evidence supporting naturopathic therapies for the psoriatic disease is anecdotal. Studies with longer follow up and the larger sample size is required to further determine the magnitude of various long term effects of naturopathic medicine on psoriasis.