Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that triggers inflammation and excessive production of skin cells, which accumulate in thickened, itchy patches. Many conventional psoriasis treatments exist, including tar shampoos, topical steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and injected biologic medications. But there are also some natural treatments for psoriasis that I recommend you try first.
- Olives contain a number of water-soluble constituents, including a polyphenol called hydroxytyrosol. This compound, which is one of the most potent known antioxidants, turns out to be a boon for people with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Hydroxytyrosol’s ability to provide psoriasis relief was discovered by accident when researchers were examining the effects of olive polyphenols on blood fats and inflammatory markers linked to heart health. A handful of the study subjects happened to have psoriasis, and after taking the olive extract (Olivenol) for a couple of months, their skin unexpectedly improved—in some cases, dramatically. One 71-year-old gentleman, who had such severe psoriasis that he was taking heavy-duty drugs, experienced complete resolution of 80 percent of his psoriatic lesions!
- Another natural treatment for psoriasis comes from whey, a dairy byproduct used primarily as a protein supplement. We’ve known for years that whey contains a number of growth factors and other bioactive proteins that modulate immune function. One of these proteins, XP-828L, has been studied for its effects on psoriasis. When 84 patients with mild-to-moderate disease took 5–10 grams of a whey protein supplement (BioDERM) daily, more than one-fifth of them had improvements after eight weeks, and nearly a third had significant improvements after 16 weeks.
- An anti-inflammatory diet consisting of plenty of vegetables and omega-3–rich fish is another effective way to treat psoriasis naturally. You should also go easy on meat, vegetable oils, and processed foods that contain pro-inflammatory fats. Additionally, I recommend eating more turmeric. This culinary spice contains curcumin, which curbs inflammation and is a useful adjunct therapy. (Curcumin and fish oil are also available in supplement form.)
- Spend some time in the sun. People with psoriasis frequently have low blood levels of vitamin D, and UVB light therapy, which boosts production of this vitamin, helps relieve symptoms. Vitamin D supplements and creams (Donovex) are also helpful.
- Other topicals with clinically proven benefits include gels containing either aloe vera or one percent curcumin.
- A good daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is also essential, especially if you’re taking psoriasis drugs, some of which cause nutritional deficiencies.
To date, there’s no sure cure for psoriasis, but these natural treatments are well studied, effective for many people, and far safer than drugs.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have any psoriasis treatment tips you’d like to share?