Use Herbs To Treat Psoriasis and High Blood Pressure

In most cases, herbal treatments greatly improve psoriasis.

| September/October 2002


Are there any known herbal cures for psoriasis? Are there herbs used for helping to clear up the lesions that appear on the skin? Any information would be deeply appreciated.
L. B.
via e-mail

Keville responds: In many cases, herbal treatments can greatly improve psoriasis and sometimes make it disappear altogether. This skin condition causes cells to grow too quickly, producing reddish lesions and silvery scales that pile up and flake off. Itching and bleeding are common. Psoriasis can come and go, and just when you think you have it under control, there it is again! The longer you’ve had it, the longer it may take to clear up, so have patience.

For an external treatment, use a salve or cream that contains skin-healing herbs such as calendula (Calendula officinalis) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) with essential oils of tea tree and lavender. Apply the salve twice daily directly on the psoriasis. Another good idea is to wash with herbal cleansers designed for dry skin instead of soap, which can irritate and dry the skin more. In addition, exposing the area to direct sunlight (or a long-wave ultraviolet light lamp) is very effective in treating psoriasis.

Correcting abnormal liver function is important in the treatment of psoriasis. One of the liver’s many jobs is to filter and detoxify the blood, and when that’s not happening efficiently, the result can manifest itself on the skin. Even if you’re not sure you need to treat your liver, you might as well—it will only make you healthier. Some liver herbs favored by herbalists to treat psoriasis include burdock (Arctium lappa) and milk thistle (Silybum marianum). There may also be a connection with your immune system and especially to food allergies. You can treat both your liver and immune system with bupleurum root (Bupleurum chinensis) and pau d’arco bark (Tabebuia spp.).

Stress usually worsens psoriasis, but taking relaxing herbs such as valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and kava (Piper methysticum) will help increase overall relaxation. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis), taken internally, help reduce skin inflammation. Of particular benefit are the omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish and flaxseed oil. Maintaining optimal bowel health by consuming a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables is also very important in persons with psoriasis.

Khalsa responds: As common as this disease is, most patients are not very satisfied with the medical management of their disease. But the good news is that natural methods can be quite successful.

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