Psoriasis, a common skin condition, occurs when rough, dry and dead skin cells build up and form a raised, reddened area covered with silvery scales. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, more than 6 million people in the United States suffer from some type of psoriasis. Traditional treatments consist of topical anti-inflammatory creams such as corticosteroids, but individuals looking for a more natural approach may choose herbal remedies.
Some herbs have been proven effective for the treatment of psoriasis, while others are prescribed purely on anecdotal evidence. Even if they cannot cure the condition, home remedies for psoriasis may provide relief from symptoms. Always see a doctor regularly until your symptoms are under control, however.
According to the Mayo Clinic, aloe gel is one of the best psoriasis treatment home remedies. The substance may reduce itchiness, redness, scaling and inflammation, though it may take several applications per day for a month or more before you notice results. Aloe contains anti-inflammatory agents and magnesium lactate, both of which help control itching caused by psoriasis. Apply aloe vera gel, harvested fresh from the aloe plant for the best results, directly to the affected areas of skin.
If fresh aloe gel is not available, use a commercially packaged gel containing minimal additives. Pure aloe gel works best. Always avoid products that contain synthetic dyes and fragrances, as these may irritate psoriasis-prone skin.
Oregon grape, an effective home remedy for psoriasis, has been clinically proven to work. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that symptoms improved significantly or completely disappeared in psoriasis patients treated with 10 percent Oregon grape cream after 12 weeks. Use a cream containing 10 percent Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium). Apply the cream directly to your skin at least once per day for the best results.
You can typically find creams containing this botanical substance in natural health stores, or order it online from a reputable retailer. As with all natural remedies, this treatment takes time to yield results. Stick with it and you should see results within 3 to 4 months, depending on the severity of the condition.
Coleus forskohlii, an herb in the mint family used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, has been used historically as a psoriasis home remedy and for treating various other inflammatory skin conditions. Though scientific evidence is lacking to prove the herb’s efficacy, in her book “Smart Medicine for Healthier Living,” Janet Zand suggests that this herb slows the high rate of cell division that characterizes the development of psoriasis. Take 50 to 100 milligrams of Coleus forskohlii supplements two to three times per day for relief from psoriasis. Continue the treatment for a few months, preferably in conjunction with an external remedy.
Soaking in an herbal bath is one of the best home remedies for psoriasis treatment, especially for immediate relief from symptoms. A long bath softens scaly patches and soothes itching, but it can also dry the skin afterward. For the best results, sit in a tub of warm water for about 10 minutes, allowing the skin to become thoroughly soaked. Add a few spoonfuls of avocado or olive oil to the water to soothe and moisturize the skin about five minutes before getting out. If desired, you can also add 5 to 10 drops peppermint essential oil, or a small cheesecloth or muslin bag filled with dried peppermint or other anti-inflammatory herbs.
Apply capsaicin cream to the affected area several times per day for relief from psoriasis symptoms. The Mayo Clinic suggests that the cream may reduce the severity of the condition when used on a regular basis. You may feel a burning sensation at first, but this typically subsides after a few applications. Always wash your hands after handling capsaicin, which is an extract of chili peppers, to avoid rubbing the substance into your eyes. You can purchase capsaicin cream from drugstores and health food stores, or order online from a reputable retailer.
If necessary, you can make your own capsaicin cream for psoriasis by combining 2 tbsp. habanero chili powder with two cups canola or vegetable oil, heating over low heat for 15 minutes while stirring every 15 minutes, and then adding 1 1/4 ounces beeswax and heating until melted. Pour the mixture into a storage jar, label with the contents and use as needed. When not in use, store the cream in cool, dark place out of direct sunlight.