A chronic, inflammatory, non-contagious condition of the skin, psoriasis is marked by red, thick, scaly patches usually appearing on the knees, scalp, ears, elbows, feet, soles, back of the hands, palms, buttocks, and genitals. Since it is an autoimmune disorder, excessive growth of skin cells on the affected areas causes dry, itchy patches that can often be painful. There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis, with various herbal home remedies to try.
Natural remedies for psoriasis
Olive oil: Massaging the psoriasis-affected areas, including the scalp and elbows, with warm olive oil several times a day helps in providing relief from plaque psoriasis.
Mix 1 cup of olive oil with 1 drop of oregano oil and 2 drops of calendula oil and apply over the affected skin to minimize scaling and flaking.
Coconut oil: In addition to having moisturizing effects, it can also reduce the scaly patches. Apply virgin coconut oil thrice a day on the affected areas.
Having 2 tablespoons of the oil daily is also beneficial for the skin condition.
Apple cider vinegar: Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water, mix well, and drink it twice a day to get relief.
As an alternative method, you can dip a small piece of cloth in a mixture of one part of apple cider vinegar and 3 parts of lukewarm water and place it over the affected regions for 1 minute.
Oatmeal: The skin hydrating properties of oatmeal has a soothing effect on the skin, providing relief from the inflammatory condition. Fill the bathtub with warm water and add 1 cup of powdered oatmeal. Immerse your body in the water for about 15-20 minutes whenever there is an outbreak, followed by a bath. Gently pat dry the affected areas and apply a moisturizer.
Make an oat bag with two handfuls of oat flakes wrapped in a muslin cloth. Keep the bag in a bathtub and fill it with running hot water. Add cold water to cool it down so it is comfortable for you, and squeeze the bag until the water appears milky. Dip your body in the bathwater for 10 minutes and cleanse the dry, scaly patches with the oatmeal bag. After drying the skin, use a moisturizer. Do not forget to dispose of the bag after its use.
Chamomile: Boil 1 teaspoon of chamomile tea in 1 cup of water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and dip a cloth in it for applying on the affected regions. The anti-inflammatory effects of chamomile are believed to lessen the symptoms.
Turmeric: The therapeutic herb can relieve the symptoms of psoriasis owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is believed that the curcumin in turmeric lowers the levels of phosphorylase kinase, preventing the unnecessary growth of skin cells. Prepare a paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of turmeric with adequate water. After smearing it on the affected regions, cover with gauze and go to bed. Wash it off with warm water. Repeat the procedure on a daily basis until the symptoms reduce.
Drinking a glass of milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder for several weeks is useful for the skin problem.
A cup of turmeric tea consumed on a regular basis also provides effective results.
Note: Avoid the use of turmeric if you have a gallbladder disorder, blood clotting condition, or taking medications for diabetes.
Aloe vera: The anti-inflammatory activity of aloe vera has positive effects on the affected skin. Apply the gel of aloe vera extracted from its leaf on the red patches and leave it in this way for a while. Follow the remedy for a couple of weeks thrice a day until you see improvement.
Licorice: The glycyrrhizin in licorice is helpful for minimizing redness and itchiness. Add two teaspoons of dried licorice root to 6 cups of water and boil. Simmer for 40 minutes and strain the mixture. Soak a small cloth in the infusion and gently dab it on the patches at regular intervals every day.
Place a few licorice roots in a jar, fill it with olive oil and cover with the lid. You can either heat the jar on a low flame for several hours or keep it away for 4 to 6 weeks. After straining the oil, apply it on the psoriasis-affected areas with a cotton ball or a dry cloth twice or thrice a day to get positive results.
Using licorice cream or gel two times a day is good for the inflamed skin.
Garlic: It has anti-inflammatory effects that curb the activity of lipoxygenase, reducing psoriasis flare-ups. Crush two or three garlic cloves and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before consumption. Mix it with milk if you dislike the taste.
Combine garlic oil and aloe vera gel in equal amounts and apply it on the areas covered with scaly patches. Rinse it off after 15 minutes.
Cloves and Pepper: Prepare a paste of pepper and cloves and smear it to the dry, itchy scalp. Wash it off with cold water after 5 to 10 minutes.
How to relieve psoriasis with home remedies
Glycerin: The glycerol in glycerin is effective in improving the condition of the skin. Applying glycerin on the scaly patches twice or thrice a day can show good results.
Cold compress: Make an ice pack using a dry cloth or towel and a few ice cubes. Place it on the affected skin for 8-10 minutes at frequent intervals whenever there is a flare-up. Use of cold pack or cold water is an effective remedy for scalp psoriasis as well.
Baking soda: Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small amount water to prepare a paste and apply it on the areas affected by inverse psoriasis on a regular basis.
Add 1/3 cup of baking powder in 16 cups (1 gallon) of water. Soak a clean, dry cloth in the mixture, and squeeze it before applying on the dry, flaky skin. Repeat the method daily to get effective results.
Epsom salt: It is a potent remedy for reducing scaling and irritation of the skin. Pour 2 cups of Epsom salt in bath water and soak yourself for about 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry the skin and moisturize it properly. Follow the procedure 2 or 3 times a day until the plaques reduce.
Petroleum jelly: Moisturizing the affected skin with petroleum jelly after a bath is an effective remedy for inverse psoriasis.
Dead Sea salt: Soak yourself in a bath water mixed with Dead Sea salt for 15 minutes for relieving the discomfort.
How to get rid of scalp psoriasis
Neem oil: Its anti-inflammatory properties come from the presence of nimbidin that aids in minimizing inflammation, redness, and itching. Applying warm neem oil on the affected scalp for a fortnight can provide effective results.
Tea tree oil: Dilute 1 part of tea tree oil with 10 parts of olive oil and smear the affected areas with a cotton ball. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with a regular shampoo and rinse the psoriasis-affected scalp. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash off.
Edible oils: Use a vegetable oil, like olive or coconut oil to massage the affected scalp and wrap a towel soaked in hot water around your head. After 20 minutes, blow dry the hair. Wear a shower cap before going to bed. Wash the hair with a good shampoo and then comb gently.
Rice water: Boil some rice and collect the water in a clean container after straining. Wash the affected scalp with the rice water after a bath and leave it on for 5 minutes. After rinsing it off, exposing the scalp to morning sunlight might be beneficial for the condition.
Other treatment options
In severe cases, use of over the counter topical preparations of salicylic acid, coal tar, retinoid, corticosteroid, retinoid, and vitamin D available in the form of creams, gels, and lotions on the affected areas, including nails, legs, feet, and hands might aid in relieving the symptoms. Taking supplements of fish oil and beta-carotene is also good for improving the condition of the skin.
Besides using mild soaps and cleansing creams for the affected skin, shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, phenol, lactic acid, or urea are considered to be effective for reducing scalp psoriasis.
How to prevent psoriasis flare-up
- Avoid scratching the affected areas or picking the scaly patches.
- Take bath regularly using mild skin products and avoid scrubbing the skin harshly.
- Keep the skin well moisturized by applying a good skin moisturizing cream or lotion as well as using a humidifier at home particularly on a dry or cold day.
- Take occasional sunbath by exposing the affected skin to the sun rays for a short duration, preferably 20 minutes and not more, only but after applying a sunscreen.
- Keep a track of foods causing an outbreak so that they can be avoided, as in some cases consumption of dairy products, alcohol, meat, citrus fruits, and gluten-rich foods may worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.
- Discontinue or change the medications that trigger flare-ups after consulting a physician as certain prescribed drugs like quinidine, lithium, propranolol and other beta-blockers, as well as over-the-counter medications have been found to cause an outbreak in some people.
- Maintain a healthy weight by doing some exercises and following a healthy diet comprising of legumes, grains, soy, nuts, fish, vegetables, and fruits.
- Make a note of any cosmetic and hair products, including perfumes and dyes that give rise to the symptoms for avoiding their use.
- Use a narrow-toothed comb to avoid unnecessary pressure on the affected scalp.
- Wear cotton or linen clothes that are soft on the skin to avoid flare-ups.
- Wear gloves while working with your hands to protect the affected nails.
- Practice some stress-relieving methods to reduce anxiety and tension.
Make sure you get in touch with a doctor if your skin does not respond well to these home remedies.