Are there any safe and effective alternative treatment options for my psoriasis?
It's unclear whether any alternative treatments — those used in place of traditional medical care — are definitively effective at treating psoriasis symptoms. But some alternative treatments are considered generally safe and may help ease itching and scaling in some people.
These alternative treatments include the following:
- Aloe extract cream may reduce redness, scaling, itching and inflammation. You might need to use the cream several times a day for a month or more to see any improvement in your symptoms.
- Fish oil supplements might help reduce inflammation associated with psoriasis, but study results are mixed. Taking 3 grams or less of fish oil daily is generally thought to be safe.
- Oregon grape, also known as barberry, applied to the skin could reduce inflammation and ease mild to moderate psoriasis symptoms.
- Indigo naturalis, also called qing dai, applied to the skin may ease symptoms of moderate plaque psoriasis. The dark blue indigo dye may stain clothing or bedding. Beware of counterfeit dyes.
- Curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, has been studied in patients with psoriasis. Curcumin, along with your medication treatment, may improve symptoms of moderate to severe psoriasis. Side effects include stomach upset and hot flashes.
These treatments would be most appropriate for those with plaque disease. They aren't appropriate for those who have pustules, arthritis, or psoriasis that covers the entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn (erythrodermic psoriasis).
Talk with your doctor if you're considering these or other dietary supplements or alternative therapies. He or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of specific alternative therapies and ensure that they don't interfere with your other medical treatments.
Jan. 03, 2019
- Gamret AC, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies for psoriasis: A systematic review. JAMA Dermatology. 2018;154:1330.
- Fish oil. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Dec. 26, 2018.
- Aloe. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Dec. 26, 2018.
- Oregon grape. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Dec. 26, 2018.
- Herbal remedies for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/herbal-remedies. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., Dec. 24, 2018.