Complementary Medicine - Cam
About This Condition
See the signs and seek relief from psoriasis, a common condition affecting the skin and often the nails. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Psoriasis is a common, poorly understood condition that affects primarily the skin but may also affect nails. A related condition, psoriatic arthritis, affects joints.
The fact that some people with psoriasis improve while taking prescription drugs that interfere with the immune system suggests that the disease might result from a derangement of the immune system. A dermatologist should be consulted to confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis.
The hallmark symptom of psoriasis is well-defined, red patches of skin covered by a silvery, flaky surface that has pinpoint spots of bleeding underneath if scraped. The patches typically appear during periodic flare-ups and are in the same area on both sides of the body. In some people with psoriasis, the fingernails and toenails may have white-colored pits, lengthwise ridges down the nail, or yellowish spots, or may be thickened or may separate at the cut end.
A preliminary trial treated 61 psoriasis patients with acupuncture that did not respond to conventional medical therapies. After an average of nine acupuncture treatments, 30 (49%) of the patients demonstrated almost complete clearance of the lesions, and 14 (23%) of the patients experienced a resolution for two-thirds of lesions.1 A controlled trial of 56 patients with psoriasis found, however, that acupuncture and “fake” acupuncture resulted in similar, modest effects.2 More controlled trials are necessary to determine the usefulness of acupuncture in the treatment of psoriasis.
Stress reduction has been shown to accelerate healing of psoriatic plaques in a blinded trial.3 Thirty-seven people with psoriasis about to undergo light therapy were randomly assigned to receive either topical ultraviolet light treatment alone or in combination with a mindfulness meditation -based stress reduction technique guided by audiotape. Those who received the stress-reduction intervention showed resolution of their psoriasis significantly faster than those who did not.
Hypnosis and suggestion have been shown in some cases to have a positive effect on psoriasis, further supporting the role of stress in the disorder.4 In one case report, 75% resolution of psoriasis resulted from using a hypnotic sensory-imagery technique.5 Hypnosis may be especially useful for psoriasis that appears to be activated by stress.
The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
1. Liao, SJ. Acupuncture treatment for psoriasis: a retrospective case report. Acupunct Electrother Res 1992;17:195–208.
2. Jerner B, Skogh M, Vahlquist A. A controlled trial of acupuncture in psoriasis: no convincing effect. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 1997;77:154–6.
3. Kabat-Zinn J, Wheeler E, Light T, et al. Influence of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosom Med 1998;60:625–32.
4. Shenefelt PD. Hypnosis in dermatology. Arch Dermatol 2000;136:393–9.
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9. Michäelsson G, Gerdén B, Hagforsen E, et al. Psoriasis patients with antibodies to gliadin can be improved by a gluten-free diet. Br J Dermatol 2000;142:44–51.
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12. Ellis CN, Berberian B, Sulica VI, et al. A double-blind evaluation of topical capsaicin in pruritic psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1993;29:438–42.
13. Ameen M, Russell-Jones R. Fumaric acid esters: an alternative systemic treatment for psoriasis. Clin Experiment Dermatol 1999;24:361–4.
14. Mrowietz U, Christophers E, Altmeyer P. Treatment of severe psoriasis with fumaric acid esters: scientific background and guidelines for therapeutic use. Br J Dermatol 1999;141:424–9.
15. Kolbach DN, Nieboer C. Fumaric acid therapy in psoriasis: results and side effects of 2 years of treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol 1992;27:769–71.
16. Altmeyer PJ, Matthes U, Pawlak F, et al. Antipsoriatic effect of fumaric acid derivatives. J Am Acad Dermatol 1994;30:977–81.
17. Nugteren-Huying WM, van der Schroeff JG, Hermans J, Suurmond D. Fumaric acid therapy for psoriasis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990;22:311–2.
18. Nieboer C, de Hoop D, Langendijk PN, et al. Fumaric acid therapy in psoriasis: a double-blind comparison between fumaric acid compound therapy and monotherapy with dimethylfumaric acid ester. Dermatologica 1990;181:33–7.
19. Mrowietz U, Christophers E, Altmeyer P. Treatment of psoriasis with fumaric acid esters: results of a prospective multicentre study. German Multicentre Study. Br J Dermatol 1998;138:456–60.
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21. Syed TA, Ahmed SA, Holt AH, et al. Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: A placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Tropical Med Inter Health 1996;1:505–9.
22. Bittiner SB, Tucker WFG, Cartwright I, Bleehen SS. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil in psoriasis. Lancet 1988;i:378–80.
23. Kojima T, Terano T, Tanabe E, et al. Long-term administration of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid provides improvement of psoriasis. Dermatologica 1991;182:225–30.
24. Kojima T, Ternao T, Tanabe E, et al. Effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid on psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1989;21:150–1.
25. Soyland E, Funk J, Rajka G, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with very-long-chain n-3 fatty acids in patients with psoriasis. N Engl J Med 1993;328:1812–6.
26. Dewsbury CE, Graham P, Darley CR. Topical eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the treatment of psoriasis. Br J Dermatol 1989;120:581–4.
27. Mayser P, Mrowietz U, Arenberger P, et al. W-3 Fatty acid-based lipid infusion in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998;38:539–47.
28. Ashley JM, Lowe NJ, Borok ME, Alfin-Slater RB. Fish oil supplementation results in decreased hypertriglyceridemia in patients with psoriasis undergoing etretinate or acitretin therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1988;19:76–82.
29. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. Mahonia aquifolium in patients with psoriasis vulgaris—an intraindividual study. Phytomed 1996;3:231–5.
30. Galle K, Müller-Jakic B, Proebstle A, et al. Analytical and pharmacological studies on Mahonia aquifolium. Phytomed 1994;1:59–62.
31. Hoffman D. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1988, 23–4 [review].
32. Bone K. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs. Warwick, Queensland, Australia: Phytotherapy Press, 1996, 103–7.
33. Oster KA. A cardiologist considers psoriasis Cutis 1977;20:39–40,45.
34. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. Mahonia aquifolium in patients with psoriasis vulgaris—an intraindividual study. Phytomed 1996;3:231–5.
35. Galle K, Müller-Jakic B, Proebstle A, et al. Analytical and pharmacological studies on Mahonia aquifolium. Phytomed 1994;1:59–62.
Last Review: 02-05-2013
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.
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