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General characteristics

General characteristics

Psoriasis is a non infectious/contagious condition affecting the skin. It causes the skin to become dry, scaly, red in patches, inflamed and may be itchy or sore, with or without pustular outbreaks.

The areas affected are often symmetrical in pattern and common sites include the elbows, wrists, ears, around the nose, behind the knees, legs, feet, scalp, fingernails and lower back for example. The skin in psoriasis becomes scaly and flakes off its outer layer revealing red and sometimes bleeding areas of skin underneath. It can vary in severity from mildly irritating or embarrassing to  seriously debilitating. Depression is common in severe cases if the sufferer feels socially isolated.

It tends to be chronic, appearing and disappearing in response to certain stimuli such as stress, poor diet, cold and dry weather, exposure to chlorine or other chemicals, some medications, excessive alcohol, infections elsewhere in the body, high body fat, it tends to run in families and more recently, an autoimmune aspect of the condition has been suggested. Sometimes a form of rheumatoid like arthritis may occur in the joints near the affected skin. The condition can be very stubborn to treat but can certainly be controlled and relieved.

Healing objectives are to ensure that the eliminatory channels and organs (bowels, kidneys, lungs, liver) are functioning well and cleansing the blood properly. The immune system needs extra support, relaxation techniques should be adopted as well as dietary changes, herbal remedies and natural healing techniques that focus on feeding and strengthening the nervous system.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Many people find an improvement by adopting a wheat and refined carbohydrate free diet. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity is common in those who suffer with psoriasis.

Limit or avoid all sugary foods, refined salt, junk and processed foods. Eat instead plenty of whole grains, fresh oily fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds with very small amounts of organic meat and dairy produce (many people find that meat and dairy aggravate their psoriasis).

Make sure you drink enough water and eat enough plant based fibre daily to avoid constipation.

Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory oils such as omega 3 present in oily fish, eggs and seeds.

Limit your alcohol intake.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Anything that is naturally moisturising and soothing to the skin can be applied to relieve itching and lessen the redness and incidence of scaling. Honey, aloe vera gel, pure olive oil, almond oil, castor oil, glycerin, coconut oil, shea butter and the like can all help. Either mix a few together or use singly.

Turmeric is useful for its anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing properties. Use in powder form by adding a pinch to herbal teas or add to cooking.

Burdock root, dandelion root, yellow dock, gentian root, marshmallow root, blue flag, valerian root (for the nerves) and barberry root can be made into a formula using the tinctures. Use equal parts of all herbs and take a teaspoon in water 3 times daily.

Comfrey leaf compresses can soothe the skin and encourage healing.

Make a tea to wash and bathe the skin using walnut leaves, mullein leaves, comfrey leaves, chamomile flowers and cleavers.

A nutritious and cleansing tea made from equal parts of nettle, oatstraw, red clover, ribwort plantain, gotu kola and chickweed can be taken daily using a teaspoon of the mix per cup, 3 cups daily. Add any of the above skin wash herbs to this tea also.

Echinacea may help due to its 'blood cleansing' actions.

Figwort tincture can be added to formulas to cleanse the lymphatic system, along with other lymph cleansers such as cleavers, poke root and blue flag etc.

Slippery elm tea can also be helpful.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Relaxing in the sun whilst exposing the affected areas (without any sunscreen) of skin can be very effective in relieving an outbreak of psoriasis.

Try adding a few drops each of tea tree, lavender and pine essential oils to a bath for their immune enhancing effects.

Some people have had good results by rubbing the inner skin of a banana (organic if possible) on the affected skin areas. No idea why it would work but it certainly does for some.

Try taking a teaspoon of organic raw cider vinegar (with the 'mother') in a glass of water up to twice daily or washing the skin in dilute cider vinegar.

The ancient Ayurvedic healing technique of oil pulling can be tried.

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