Herbs have a long history in the treatment of skin conditions. Recent review studies suggest that certain herbs can help with the symptoms of psoriasis. In this article, we look at the effectiveness and side effects of herbs and other plant treatments for psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that causes red, scaly patches of skin to develop, often on the elbows, knees, or scalp.
There is no cure for psoriasis, though treatments and natural remedies can help people to manage their symptoms. Many herbs have the potential to reduce inflammation or slow down skin cell growth, which can help with psoriasis symptoms.
This article will discuss the herbal remedies that currently have the most robust evidence base as treatments for psoriasis.
1. Mahonia aquifolium
Mahonia aquifolium is a flowering plant that comes from the mahonia shrub. It is also known as Oregon grape. This herb has a history of use in treating inflammatory conditions, including psoriasis.
Mahonia aquifolium contains berberine, which may help to suppress some of the inflammation that psoriasis causes.
The plant also has antiproliferative effects, meaning it can slow down the growth of skin cells. This ability helps with psoriasis because the condition causes the skin cells to divide too rapidly, which leads to scaly skin and plaques.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), Mahonia aquifolium has one of the strongest evidence bases of all herbal remedies for treating psoriasis.
Several systematic reviews, including two published in 2015 and 2017, agree that Mahonia aquifolium can help to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.
People can buy Mahonia aquifolium oil, cream, or tincture where it is in alcohol.
Always dilute essential oils before use. People can also apply topical creams directly to the areas of the skin that psoriasis affects.
Health stores and online stores sell Mahonia aquifolium essential oils, tinctures, and creams.
2. Indigo naturalis
Indigo naturalis, also known as qing dai, is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that people use for treating skin conditions. Manufacturers extract it from a variety of different plants, including Baphicacanthus cusia.
Recent clinical trials suggest that the treatment can help with psoriasis, and a systematic review from 2015 found that, along with Mahonia aquifolium, indigo naturalis was an effective herbal remedy for psoriasis.
A study from 2017 gave 24 people with moderate psoriasis either indigo naturalis or a placebo for 8 weeks. After the trial, people in the psoriasis group had significantly fewer symptoms than those in the placebo group.
They also had lower levels of interleukin-17 (IL-17), which is a marker of inflammation in people with psoriasis.
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