psoriasis

Turmeric contains plenty of medicinal values in it and is used to treat many health ailments. When it comes to skin disorders or diseases, turmeric is very effective and is used since ancient times. It has the ability to skin severe conditions like psoriasis too.

About Turmeric

Turmeric is a flowering herbal plant which produces rhizomes. It belongs to the ginger family and is native to Asia. It is widely grown in India wherever watering facilities are available, particularly where river water flows. The rhizomes or roots are recovered from the plant, boiled in water and dried.

Initially turmeric was used for their color as dyes. Later on, its use in culinary and preparation of medicines increased. When people started understanding the importance of medicinal values in it, the usage of turmeric became significant. It is used in various foods for its flavor and color. It provides a number of medicinal properties when consumed internally and applied topically.

Curcumin, the chemical compound present in turmeric, is known to be used in native medicines like Ayurveda and Sidha. In fact, most of the native medicine branches like Siddha, Unani and Chinese traditional medicines have been liberally using turmeric. It has been in use since ancient times by our ancestors to cure various health disorders.

Traditional medicine practitioners have been recommending the root and its products to cure hernia, vomiting, burns caused by fire, phlegm, accumulation of fluids, headache, running nose, swellings and chronic wounds. It is even used to cure insect bites, jaundice and stranguary. Health disorders including eye problems are cured by its products.

While many benefits are derived by the use of turmeric, this article is devoted to explain its usefulness in treating psoriasis.

What is Psoriasis and its types?

Psoriasis is an auto immune non-contagious skin disorder. There are five different types of psoriasis disorder, they are: plaque, inverse, erythrodermic, pustular and guttate. Among these types, plaque psoriasis which is also known as psoriasis vulgaris is the most common type that is found in majority of patients.

  • Plaque psoriasis is characterized by the presence of red patches with white scalp on the surface. This type of disorder generally affects scalp, navel region, shins and back of the forearms.
  • Inverse type of psoriasis forms as red patches in the skin folds.
  • When such red patches are wide spread it is called erythrodermic type, which also develops from other types of the disorder.
  • Pustular type is where the disorder is in form of small blisters filled with white pus.
  • Guttate type is where the damage (lesions) caused to the skin are drop-shaped.

It is estimated that about 90 percent of psoriasis cases are affected by plaque type. In most of the cases of psoriasis, fingernails and toenails are also affected apart from the skin. There may be color change or pits in the nails in severe conditions.

The cause of the disorder is mainly genetic but aggravated by environmental factors.

Symptoms of psoriasis

Some of the symptoms of the disorder are mentioned below.

  • Dry skin with cracks
  • Red patches
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Itching of the skin
  • Bleeding skin
  • Stiffness
  • Swellings in the joints

Western medicine consider the disease as incurable but can be only treated to manage the severity of the problem. However traditional medicine system practiced in India, China and some Asian countries, claim to cure the disease particularly with the use of turmeric.

turmeric to treat psoriasis

Turmeric for Psoriasis

The herb contains Curcumin, a chemical compound which plays a significant role in providing many medicinal benefits. Turmeric and its products, are both used internally and externally in the treatment of psoriasis.

One of the common practice in treating turmeric was to use it in the form of dry powder or paste, it is added to water or milk and consumed. Likewise, you can consume the herbal tea prepared with the turmeric powder.

Psoriasis being a skin disorder is primarily treated by external applications.

Controls inflammation

Curcumin present in turmeric is anti-inflammatory by nature and controls/ cures inflammation. Inflammation is one of the symptoms observed in psoriasis and it increases according to the severity. It inhibits the activity of certain proteins that cause inflammation of the skin.

Heals cracks

Turmeric protects the skin from cracking in addition to healing the cracks already developed on the skin due to psoriasis. It protects the skin by healing wounds caused by scratchy skin in addition to regenerating the dead skin cells. Dermatologists have recently started to recommend the use of turmeric and products based on turmeric for external application. The psychological relief provided by turmeric in psoriasis patient is all the more important for it removes the burning sensation of the skin at once. (1)

Anti-bacterial

Curcumin present in turmeric is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. Since people suffering from psoriasis are more prone to infections of the skin, the antibacterial property in it provides relief by preventing infections. Being a natural antimicrobial agent, turmeric prevents deterioration of the skin condition due to itching and cracks.

Treats autoimmune disease

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. Turmeric, with the Curcumin present in it, has the potential in curing the autoimmune diseases. Inflammation caused to the skin due to auto immune responses are cured by turmeric.

Prevents cancer

Anti-oxidant property present in turmeric is an added boon. It helps in controlling the oxidation process. Since oxidation produces free radicals that are harmful and are cancer causing cells, by preventing such oxidation, turmeric is also helpful in preventing cancer. There are reports which suggest that turmeric has the potential to cure certain types of cancer too.

Helps to reduce the spread

Even though turmeric is used with other herbs in treating psoriasis, it is observed that treatment of the disorder with turmeric alone provides much better relief and ultimate cure. Rapid skin cell growth associated with psoriasis is prevented by the use of turmeric. This particular phenomena helps in preventing the spread of infections in the skin caused by psoriasis.

No side effects

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disorder which is cured by regular consumption of turmeric. The added advantage is that consumption of turmeric do not produce any side effects and is safe to consume for a longer duration, extending up to even three months period.

Helps to improve skin appearance

The foremost concern of the person affected by psoriasis is the modified appearance of the skin. Such appearance, not only causes concern about the physical health but also put psychological pressure. Here turmeric comes in handy. Application of turmeric paste on the affected part of the skin, makes the appearance of the skin less uncomfortable. It also cures the disorder over a period of time.

Reduces scars

The therapeutic properties of turmeric removes the scar caused due to scratching on the skin. It prevents the spreading of the fungus, clears the pus formed in the boils and red patches appearing on the skin. Turmeric provides a comprehensive relief by curing the skin disorder and make the skin glow with smooth surface.

In addition to using turmeric powder, paste or tea to cure the disorder, there are many other combinations that are put to use in the treatment of psoriasis. Use of turmeric in regular diet can be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis in addition to tropical application of turmeric and its products.

Studies are being conducted in other parts of the world on the benefits of turmeric particularly in the treatment of psoriasis. Concrete findings are yet to emerge.

You can read and follow the recipe which explains the use of turmeric to treat psoriasis effectively.

Some of the combinations with turmeric (2) used in the treatment of psoriasis are:

  • Add a pinch of black pepper powder with turmeric tea. This will facilitate absorption of Curcumin from turmeric into the body. A decoction of one teaspoon of turmeric powder with equal quantity of black pepper powder can also be consumed to cure psoriasis.
  • You can mix turmeric paste with neem leaf paste to provide relief. Since neem also has anti-fungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, they work in combination to cure the disorder. Neem, by itself is capable of protecting the skin from a number of disorders and combining it with turmeric, is all the more beneficial.
  • External application of turmeric paste made with either coconut oil or olive oil, helps to smoothen the skin, remove the red patches and provide relief from inflammation. Particularly, pus headed boils are quickly cured by this paste. Scars caused by such boils are also faded on application of the paste over a period of time.
  • In combination with butter, turmeric powder has the potential to reduce pain due to psoriatic arthritis. It also removes the red patches and cracks in the skin.
  • You can add small quantity of turmeric powder to raw aloe Vera gel and used as a lotion or cream on the affected parts of the skin. It helps to remove the thickness on the skin besides softening and removing the fungus formed on the skin due to psoriasis.
  • Massaging with turmeric oil all over the body including the affected parts prevents spreading of the disorder and cures the disorder eventually. Retaining the oil on the skin after massage overnight without washing and continuing the process for a few weeks provide significant relief.

As a word of caution..

Please note that all types of treatments for psoriasis with the use of turmeric or in combination with other herbal products, have to be continued for a significant period of time in order to control and cure the disease. No instant remedy is possible as in the case of any skin disorder. You need to be cautious while consuming turmeric during pregnancy, as it might cause vaginal bleeding by stimulating the uterus. Similarly blood sugar level may further go down in diabetic patients who are already on medication to balance their blood sugar levels.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.