Can psoriasis be treated with homeopathy?
Psoriasis is a chronic condition. You may have flare-ups, with clear periods in between. There’s no cure, but you can manage symptoms with treatment.
Medical treatments include topical steroids, topical retinoids, and oral or injected systemic drugs for severe or treatment-resistant psoriasis, among several others proven to be effective.
Some people with psoriasis may be curious about homeopathic treatments. These treatments are derived from minerals, plants, chemicals, and human and animal secretions and excretions, such as snake venom. They’re used as tinctures, or orally.
Homeopathic medicine is based on two theories. The first is “like cures like,” which means that an illness can be cured by a substance that causes similar symptoms in healthy people. The second is “law of minimum dose,” which means that the lower the dose, the more effective it is.
There’s no reliable evidence to support the use of homeopathic treatments for psoriasis.
Psoriasis homeopathic treatments
Some of the most commonly touted homeopathic treatments for psoriasis include those listed below. There’s no scientific evidence that any of them are effective at treating psoriasis or its symptoms.
Sepia is used by some people who practice homeopathy for widespread psoriasis and dry skin. However, there’s no scientific evidence that it’s an effective treatment.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that arsenicum benefits people with dry, scaly skin made worse by itching and better by applying heat. There’s no scientific evidence that it helps with psoriasis.
It’s also arsenic-based, so it can be dangerous if it contains more of the active ingredient than stated.
Graphites are used in homeopathy for people with long-term skin disorders and leathery, cracked skin. There’s only anecdotal evidence that it can help psoriasis symptoms.
There’s anecdotal evidence that sulfur reduces skin lesions and itching. Although using sulfur alone as a homeopathic treatment is unproven, it may be mixed with proven psoriasis treatments, such as coal tar or salicylic acid.
Anecdotally, petroleum helps people whose physical problems are made worse by stress. Ingesting petroleum, even in small amounts, can be very dangerous. But petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, can help seal moisture into your skin and reduce itching, flaking, and irritation.
Calcarea carbonica, which is made from shells, is used in homeopathy to treat many illnesses, particularly in people who are often cold and get tired easily.
Research shows that people with psoriasis have low levels of calcium in their blood, but there’s only anecdotal evidence supporting the use of calcarea carbonica for this condition.
An animal study has suggested that staphysagria may be anti-inflammatory, but there’s only anecdotal evidence of it being effective for people with psoriasis. It’s mostly used in homeopathy for scalp psoriasis.
Mercurius solubilis is a type of mercury, which is toxic to ingest or put on your skin. High exposures can even cause kidney failure, respiratory issues, and death. There’s no scientific evidence that mercurius solubilis is a safe or effective treatment for psoriasis.
Rhus toxicodendron is poison ivy. There’s mixed evidence that it helps with arthritis and, therefore, psoriatic arthritis. However, there’s only anecdotal evidence that it can help with other symptoms of psoriasis, under the theory “like cures like.”
Mezereum is a flowering shrub used in homeopathy for thick, crusty plaques. It’s poisonous to humans when ingested or put on the skin. There’s no scientific evidence that mezereum is a safe or effective treatment for psoriasis.
Potential side effects and precautions
Research hasn’t found much evidence for homeopathic medicine’s effectiveness for any health condition. There’s also not much research on the safety of homeopathy.
Neither the safety nor the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine is tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Homeopathy comes with several risks. First, some products may be labeled with incorrect amounts of active ingredients. Higher amounts of the active ingredient can cause side effects, allergic reactions, or drug interactions. Some substances used in homeopathic medicines are toxic at any dose.
Never use homeopathic medicine in place of a medication that your doctor prescribes. Tell your doctor about any medications you take, including homeopathy, and talk to your doctor about any changes in your symptoms or overall health.
Proven natural remedies for psoriasis
There are many treatments for psoriasis, both medical and natural. Some natural remedies may be able to relieve some of the symptoms of psoriasis, such as itching or redness. Potential natural and home treatments for psoriasis include:
- Turmeric: This is an anti-inflammatory that can reduce the severity of psoriasis lesions.
- Aloe vera: This soothes skin to reduce redness, scaling, itchiness, and inflammation.
- Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may reduce inflammation.
- Barberry/Oregon grape: This plant, also known as Mahonia aquifolium, reduces inflammation.
- Apple cider vinegar: This relieves itchiness. It’s mainly used on scalp psoriasis.
- Capsaicin: This may reduce itchiness, redness, inflammation, and scaling, but research is limited.
- Oats in an oat bath: They can relieve itchiness and redness.
- Tea tree oil: This may be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, but there are no studies that prove its effectiveness.
- Sunshine, in moderation: Ultraviolet rays from the sun slow skin cell turnover. This reduces scaling and inflammation. Think of sunlight as a form of light therapy.
- Salt bath: Adding Epsom or Dead Sea salts to your bath can reduce itching.
- Probiotics: Some types of probiotics may reduce inflammation from psoriasis.
- Indigo naturalis: This plant reduces inflammation.
Before trying any treatment, be sure to talk to a doctor to see if it’s safe for you.
When to see a doctor
While over-the-counter remedies may help your psoriasis symptoms, a doctor can help diagnose and treat you properly.
Additionally, you may need to see a doctor after trying any homeopathic treatment, particularly if you have a bad reaction.
When to see a doctor for psoriasis
See a doctor if:
- you have any signs of psoriasis, such as dry, red, and scaly skin
- your psoriasis is painful
- you have trouble doing normal activities
- you’re having joint problems, such as pain or swelling
- your symptoms aren’t improving with treatment
When to see a doctor after trying homeopathy
Homeopathy can be dangerous. Some homeopathic treatments may have much more of their active ingredient than they say they do, and many of those ingredients can be toxic. If you try a homeopathic treatment, be on the lookout for signs of an allergic reaction or poisoning.
Signs of an allergic reaction include:
- congested nose
- itchy, water eyes
- swollen tongue or lips
See a doctor immediately if you have any of the following signs of a serious allergic reaction:
- throat swelling
- trouble breathing
- blue skin or lips
- losing consciousness
Signs of poisoning, which is ingesting a substance harmful to your body, include:
- nausea or vomiting
- redness around your mouth rash
- trouble breathing
- drooling or foaming at the mouth
- changes in your pupil size
There’s only anecdotal evidence that homeopathic treatments are effective for psoriasis or any other condition. Some homeopathic treatments can even be dangerous. Talk to a doctor about all treatments you try or are interested in trying, including homeopathy.
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