Normally our skin renews itself in 28-30 days, but in people with psoriasis, skin production is accelerated. New skin accumulates faster than old skin is shed, forming thickened patches of raised, silvery scales over the skin, called plaques, which are often itchy.
People with psoriasis experience cycles of flare-ups and remission. Attacks are related to times of stress, illness, surgery, cuts, certain viral and bacterial infections, sunburn, faulty fat assimilation, and food allergies! Previous vaccinations seem to be a causative factor for some people. Certain drugs also cause flare-ups. Conventional medical treatment may include steroid ointment, which can help suppress symptoms, but its long-term use can damage and thin the connective tissue of the skin.
The naturopathic approach, as with any health condition, is to find the root cause of the problem. In many years of working with clients who have psoriasis, alongside various contributing factors, I have frequently noted the phenomenon of leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut is where disruption to the intestine lining allows toxins, yeast, and other waste material to enter the bloodstream, provoking an undesirable immune system response.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. A consultation with a naturopathic practitioner will take into account the individual’s constitution before developing a programme that can support the sufferer’s overall health. This may include recommending an elimination diet in order to identify any specific foods that provoke an allergic response, providing nutritional advice, tailor-making a bowel cleansing formula (essential to a long-term health strategy), and building a healthy gut.
Tips for Psoriasis Sufferers
- Eliminate all junk food from your diet. Avoid processed food, white flour, sugar, and citrus fruit.
- Milk, cheese, eggs, meat and poultry contain arachidonic acid, which causes psoriasis lesions to turn red and swell, so you could reduce these for a two-month trial, or at least cut them out when you are having a flare-up.
- Focus on eating a diet high in raw food with plenty of vegetables, non-citrus fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, as Vitamins A, B complex, and D, plus calcium, magnesium and zinc are all important in reducing symptoms.
- Eat organic food to reduce your overall toxic burden.
- Take some flaxseed oil and/or sesame oil, or primrose oil every day. These contain a chemical, which tends to reduce psoriasis.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Since stress can aggravate it, try to develop a calm, cheerful outlook on life.
- Exposure to regular, safe amounts of sunlight helps.
- Swimming in the ocean is helpful, or put sea salt or a few handfuls of oatmeal into a warm bath to relieve itching.
- Creams containing capsicum can reduce both scaling and redness.
- Licorice contains glycyrrhetenic acid which studies have shown works better than hydrocortisone in treating both psoriasis and eczema. Apply it directly as a cream from your herbalist.
- A naturopathic herbalist can also mix you an appropriate combination of milk thistle seed, dandelion root, and yellow dock, which, taken as a tea, can work fantastically well in helping to reverse psoriasis.
*Image of “legs” via Bigstock