Living with psoriasis can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that produces scaly, raised, reddish patches that cover the entire scalp or other parts of the body. The cause is unknown; however, it’s believed to arise from a weakness in the immune system causing skin cells to proliferate too quickly.
Psoriasis commonly occurs on any skin surface on the body. It can be mild with barely noticeable, itchy patches or severe with thick, crusty lesions and intense itching leading to infections from scratching. Intense itching and scratching of the lesions on the scalp can accompany temporary hair loss. Hair generally grows back after the lesions are cleared.
Various natural supplements, alternative medicines, shampoos and dietary measures can help to reduce symptoms and alleviate the underlying problem.
Your diet affects not only how your body processes foods, but how well they move through your digestive tract and whether they make your immune system stronger or weaken it. A healthy diet should not be overlooked when working to heal psoriasis.
• Eat a wholesome diet filled with organic and whole foods. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Add fish oil or flaxseed, both high in omega 3 fatty acids; and get plenty of folic acid by eating foods high in folate, such as broccoli.
• Get lots of fiber in your diet to help your digestive tract remove toxins. Leave the skins on fruits, potatoes and other root vegetables for a high-fiber boost. Replace bread, flour, and other processed grains with whole grains to benefit from additional nutrients and fiber.
• Consume fermented foods that provide live, active cultures high in probiotics to help keep the colon clean and stimulate healthy digestion. These foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles with live cultures, kim chi. Read more about probiotics and the wide range of fermented foods available in this article: Superfoods loaded with probiotics deliver a variety of flavors and span seven food groups.
• Drink clean, fresh water mixed with the juice of half a lemon to flush toxins from the blood stream. Do this twice daily to help balance your body’s pH and keep yourself in a more alkaline state.
• Eat less meat and poultry if you have psoriasis and you’re over weight. Meat digestion produces purines which are broken down into uric acid. Excess uric acid creates acidosis and being overweight aggravates the problem. Acidosis fosters numerous health problems that can find their way to the skin through a weakened immune system, aggravating psoriasis of the scalp.
• Reduce the amount of animal fat you consume. The animal fat is deposited in the liver, where added toxins must be cleared, and whose effects may damage the skin and worsen psoriasis on the head and elsewhere. If you do eat foods containing large amounts of animal fats, make them free range, grass fed or organic to reduce the amount of toxins you’re feeding your liver.
• Use oregano essential oil to reduce psoriasis of the scalp. Oregano is known to possess potent anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Place 5-10 drops in the palm of your hands and rub on the scalp or other bodily areas that area affected. Do a test area first to check for allergies. Repeat this daily until you see the patches reduce in size and color. If the psoriatic patches are painful or the skin is broken, mix the oregano essential oil with a mild carrier oil like olive, coconut or almond oil to keep it from stinging your skin.
• Expeller-pressed, refined, organic coconut oil, is one of the healthy fats rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It’s also unscented. Gently apply a small amount on your scalp and skin to soften psoriatic patches, then wash out with a natural coconut oil shampoo. If you like the scent of coconut, use extra-virgin oil. Consuming coconut oil in foods is another way to boost your immune system and help your skin heal.
• Apply 100% Pure Unrefined Shea Butter to your hair and scalp nightly, washing it out in the morning. Shea butter is a natural healing agent for skin and has been known to help some people reduce psoriasis plaques.
Use homeopathic remedies to help resolve psoriasis on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. Psoriasis is not something you should self-treat. Consult a knowledgeable homeopathic practitioner.
One of the primary remedies for skin ailments, Sulfur is often used for the treatment of psoriasis. The person needing sulfur may have dry, itching, scaly patches on the scalp that may burn and feel worse after being scratched or washing the hair. Itching and pain are worse in the evening, especially in bed. Other psoriatic patches may appear on the body in skin folds and may become infected. The individual may feel irritable, depressed, be forgetful, and be aggravated in a warm room or by hot applications.
Psoriasis skin patches appear tough, leathery, cracked and sore. Itching is improved by scratching; and like Sulfur, the individual may scratch the patches until they bleed. Patches may ooze a honey-like glutinous fluid that dries on the skin and causes additional itching. Patches may appear on the neck and ears as well as the scalp and other bodily areas.
The person who needs Calcarea Carbonica may experience skin problems and psoriasis made worse during the winter. Psoriatic patches may ulcerate and are slow to heal. The person may be easily fatigued, chilly, feel sluggish, be overweight, and have cold, clammy hands and feet.
Psoriasis may appear in many places on the body, as well as on the scalp and may appear dry and stiff-looking. The person may have itching of the patches which is not improved by scratching, but is made better by warm applications or in a warm room. There may be a strong, unpleasant odor emitting from the skin and scalp. The person needing this remedy may be a man or woman with hormonal imbalances and circulatory problems.
Staphysagria is often needed by people who develop psoriasis after experiencing some kind of suppressed loss or grief. It is also useful for those who have psoriasis with suppressed anger. Although the plaques can appear anywhere on the body, the scalp is the predominant area. The individual may appear to be meek, mild-mannered and easily embarrassed along with having a strong sense of indignation and internal anger.
Petroleum is indicated for an individual whose symptoms are aggravated by emotional stress, especially during the winter. The skin is dry and cracked, especially on the finger tips and palms. Overall, the psoriatic patches on the scalp are extremely dry, itchy and flaky. Skin becomes easily infected looking leathery and tough. Use of topical products containing petroleum jelly or petrolatum are strongly discouraged.
Sources for this article include:
Materia Medica and Repertory, William Boericke, M.D., 1987
Synoptic Materia Medica I , Frans Vermeulen, 1992
Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, James Tyler Kent, 1987
(Photo Credit: Canadian Skin Patient Alliance)
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