Q and A: Home Remedies for Psoriasis

Even if your case of psoriasis has a genetic origin, you may be able to mitigate your irritation with herbs such as yellow dock, stinging nettle and burdock root.

| May/June 1997

In every issue of Herbs for Health, professionals from a variety of health-care fields answer your questions about using medicinal herbs. Herbalist Chanchal Cabrera and medical doctor D. Paul Barney responded for this issue


I am fifty-three and have severe psoriasis, which first ­started about five years ago. I was first treated with topical creams and then with baths and UBV treatments. After three months, I was all cleared. Unfortunately, it’s back, and worse than ever. My dermatologist won’t let me take any more UBV treatments because of the risk of skin cancer, and I don’t want to start using the topical ointments and creams anymore because of the side effects. Is there an answer for me using natural herbs?
C. R.
Depew, New York

Psoriasis, a flaky, itchy skin condition, is due to various causes. If it is genetic (often associated with a ­family history of rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease), no herb or any other treatment is going to make a lasting improvement. Other cases of psoriasis are due to food allergies, especially to dairy and wheat, and most cases are aggra­vated by stress.

Even if yours is the ge­netic type, it is still worth addressing possible food allergies. I suggest undergoing proper allergy testing with an alternative medical practitioner using Vega or some other diagnostic method. Do not use the skin-prick testing as it is only about 40 percent accurate for food allergies. Simply avoiding wheat, dairy products, refined sugars, and coffee may make a great deal of difference.

It is often useful to undergo a good cleansing and detoxification program when beginning treatment for psoriasis. This is best done under the supervision of a qualified herbalist, and you should be prepared for a slight worsening of the symptoms as stored toxins get moved out of the body.

Herbs used to treat psoriasis include: blue flag (Iris versicolor), burdock (Arctium lappa), yellow dock (Rumex spp.), and celandine (Chelidonium majus) for liver support; stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and red clover (Trifolium pratense) to cleanse and detoxify blood; cleavers (Galium aparine) for lymphatic support; and the topical use of gotu kola (Centella asiatica) and marigold (Calendula officinalis) to heal the skin.
—Chanchal Cabrera

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