Psoriasis Awareness Week

This week is National Psoriasis Awareness week and I have been posting about this condition on my Facebook page: as well as tweeting lifestyle tips and techniques on my Twitter account:

I would like to write about this condition in a bit more detail.  Herbal medicine is effective at managing psoriasis which is where skin completes its cycle in a few days instead of taking a month and therefore scales or plaques of skin occur usually around the elbows, ears, knees, legs, scalp and lower back.  The skin condition is usually symmetrical in appearance and can also affect finger nails causing them to be pitted and cracked.  Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition where the bodies inflammatory response doesn’t resolve naturally.  There is a hereditary link with 10-30% of family members having psoriasis, sufferers may have had an emotional event prior to psoriasis occurring and there is also a possible link to allergies or intolerances which may trigger a psoriasis outbreak.  Doctors do not know why people experience this skin condition.

Modern medicine approaches treatment by giving anti-inflammatories including steroids, as a herbalist this condition is approached in a radically different way treating each person individually as their events, symptoms and there effects on their life will be completely different despite the condition being the same.  A consultation investigates possible immunological issues as well as looks for links between the skin symptoms and events deep in the body.

Skin diseases can be seen as signals of inner toxicity and indicate the need to cleanse the body and assess which toxins may have been aggravating the situation.  If it is deemed that the immune system is a factor in psoriasis then the digestive system should be closely assessed and several elimination diets completed to determine which foods cause an inflammatory response in the person.

People who suffer with psoriasis may have low levels of the mineral bromine and should also look at their levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium and Zinc.  As a herbalist I can offer a quick and easy zinc test to determine if you are deficient.

There has been success reducing itching and redness of psoriasis by having regular oat baths.  Take a cup full of rolled oats and place in a muslin bag or an old pair of tights and when running your bath allow the water to run into the oats to create a sumptuous milky bath similar to Cleopatra’s in her day 🙂 When taking these baths on a regular basis the psoriasis can even reduce or clear up.

When looking at diet it would be worthwhile reducing (and even excluding) the levels of sugar, yeast containing foods and all refined carbohydrates as these usually aggravate psoriasis and contribute to inflammatory states.  Excluding dairy would also be worthwhile trialling for at least a month to see if the condition improves.  Introduce more oily fish, pumpkin seeds and apple cider vinegar to your diet.  Why not try dandelion root coffee – a bitter caffeine free drink which helps to support the body especially in cases of psoriasis?

Try to reduce the amount of fried food you consume, reduce sweets and pastries, sausages, alcohol, caffeine and foods containing artificial colours and preservatives.  A study found that psoriasis flare ups can be caused by artificially coloured or flavoured foods.

If you have any questions about this condition or how herbal medicine can help to support you in managing your psoriasis please do not hesitate to contact me on: