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Psoriasis is characterized by dry, itchy, flaky patches of skin. These patches, often known as plaques, can appear anywhere on the body, but are often on the elbows, knees, and middle of the body. Psoriasis is likely an autoimmune condition, meaning that the immune system mistakenly identifies healthy cells in the body as foreign and attacks them, causing destruction of tissues. Treatment aims to lessen the symptoms by fighting inflammation and preventing infection. Topical creams are often used, which can contain ingredients like cortisone. In severe cases, conventional doctors recommend medications that suppress the immune system. These medications can have serious side effects and affect your whole body, not just your skin. Suppressing your immune system can expose you to harmful pathogens and put your body at risk. Fortunately, natural plant extracts can often be very effective at managing psoriasis. Try some of these psoriasis home remedies as safe alternatives.
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Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) grows wild in Europe, North America, and South America. The roots and wood of this plant have been used in folk medicine to treat skin conditions for years. It contains alkaloids, such as berberine, that combat the inflammatory response, and studies have shown that these alkaloids can inhibit the over-proliferation of skin cells called keratinocytes , which is a hallmark of psoriasis.[1,2]
In human studies, the results in patients with psoriasis treated with Oregon grape are exceptional. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found that topical application of Oregon grape in a formulation called Reliéva significantly improved signs and symptoms of mild-to-moderate psoriasis Application of creams containing this natural plant extract can reduce the redness and thickness of plaques, along with other symptoms and it can be as effective as a commonly used conventional topical cream.
Topical Oregon grape is safe and effective.[2,3] Side effects occur in less than 1% of subjects and are minor (rash, burning sensation upon application, and clothing stain). Visit your local natural grocery store to find a cream containing Oregon grape. Look for the latin name, Mahonia aquifolium in brands like Reliéva.
Daily use of Aloe vera on psoriasis patches can also greatly improve symptoms. Researchers have found that it is safe and at least as effective as a prescription cream called triamcinolone acetonid.
Keeping your own aloe plant is a great way to have pure, all-natural aloe, free of additives or preservatives, whenever you need aloe vera for rash care. Cut off a small part of a leaf and rub the gel-like insides over affected areas of your skin. Or, you can purchase aloe vera, often incorporated into creams or gels, at a natural grocery store. Make sure to read the labels and check for all-natural ingredients. Try applying a topical solution of this medicinal plant to your skin daily.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are useful supplements to take orally as a home treatment for psoriasis. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce swelling and pain, which may be just one of the reasons they are effective. In most cases, fish oil supplements (containing these beneficial fatty acids) significantly improve psoriasis in the test subjects.
One study that found beneficial results used 640 mg of both EPA and DHA. Fish oil supplements often come with around 1000 mg total omega-3s, which should be sufficient.
Share Your Experience With Psoriasis Home Remedies
Do you know of any other psoriasis home remedies that work especially well for you? Have any of these treatment options brought you relief? Share your tips for keeping your skin healthy and symptom-free in the comments section below.
Originally published in 2014, this post has been updated.