As psoriatics we could use the occasional glimmer of hope and I am delighted to share a review of alternative natural topical therapies for psoriasis that has shown some optimistic results for safer control of our pesky skin condition. My most favourite outcome of this research is the trial of curcumin gel and here’s why.
Firstly, clinical trials by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and National Institute for Health Research, (London) showed curcumin gel’s astoundingly successful results.
Secondly, this outcome sounded so good that I tried it myself for 6 weeks on my own occasional psoriasis, and it worked like a charm to reduce my lesions.
Curcumin gel yielded 90% resolution of plaques in 50% of psoriasis patients tested, within 2-6 weeks
The remainder of the study subjects showed 50 to 85% improvement. Curcumin was found to be twice as effective as calcipotriol cream (which generally takes three months to exert its full effect). The mechanism of curcumin is as a selective phosphorylase kinase inhibitor, thereby reducing inflammation.
Why we need to seek natural alternatives to the lotions and creams prescribed for psoriasis
This same clinical trial showed no evidence of coal tar’s effectiveness in treating psoriasis despite it being commonly prescribed for psoriasis. (E.J. Samarasekera EJ, Sawyer L, Wonderling D, Tucker R, Smith CH; Topical therapies for the treatment of plaque psoriasis: systematic review and network meta-analyses). Psoriasis patients are also warned to remain vigilant for potential local and systemic negative after effects associated with corticosteroids, also regularly prescribed for psoriasis.
Make your own curcumin paste to treat psoriasis
This is the recipe and instructions for the curcumin paste that I have tested on my own psoriasis, with some outstanding results. I have combined turmeric with aloe vera gel and finely ground pepper. The following list is a breakdown of the ingredients that have worked extremely well for me and also in the clinical trials that I have researched and described. I have included information about the role of each ingredient and some suggestions about how you can source these compounds.
Turmeric – Contains the anti-inflammatory curcumin that is needed to treat the psoriasis. Please use organic turmeric root, either bought or harvested yourself. You will need to peel the root and finely grate it, them simmer in filtered water to break it down. Continue simmering until the volume of water is reduced. Allow to cool before adding the aloe vera. Alternatively, you may prefer to use ground organic turmeric powder.
Ground black pepper – improves the bioavailability of the curcumin, in simpler terms, helps it to assimilate into our skin.
Aloe vera gel – provides the gel that carries the curcumin. A controlled trial of Aloe vera extract in 60 patients for 4-12 months demonstrated a significant clearing of psoriatic plaques. Aloe vera plants can be grown and stems harvested and peeled for use, or alternatively you can buy aloe vera gel in health food stores.
Mix equal parts turmeric and aloe vera. Pepper is optional so keep a close watch on any reactions on your skin if you are going to use it. If you choose to use pepper, then add one part pepper to every 20 parts turmeric.
The gel will keep in a refrigerator for 2 weeks. Be sure to clean the jar and use clean, sterilised applicators each use. Use 3 times daily on your psoriasis lesions. Freeze a portion if you think you have too much to use within two weeks.
Best wishes for shrinking patches
Traub T, Marshall K, Psoriasis – Pathophysiology, Conventional, and Alternative Approaches to Treatment. Altern Med Rev 2007;12(4):319-330