Read on to learn which foods, oils, and health practices can help you find natural relief for your symptoms.
If you have psoriasis (PsO), you’ve likely tried many different treatments, varying from traditional prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to natural methods.
Each person’s PsO responds differently to each treatment, but many people living with PsO find natural treatments, or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, to be effective.
Here are 10 natural, or CAM, therapies to try for your PsO.
Phototherapy involves exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays for a short period of time, usually several days per week. This is a well-recognized treatment that works by slowing the overgrowth of the cells that form PsO plaques.
While this is often done through special phototherapy booths, you can also get natural exposure to UV rays, simply by spending 10–20 minutes outdoors during daylight hours. This is a well-tolerated, convenient, and free natural treatment option for PsO.
However, it’s important to limit the time spent in the sun as sunburns can make PsO plaques worse or even cause new ones to develop. Exposure to UV rays may also increase the risk of skin cancer.
As a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach (TCM), Indigo Naturalis, also known as Qing Dai, has been used topically to treat PsO for centuries.
According to TCM, it works by clearing heat, detoxifying the blood, eliminating spots, reducing fire, and calming panic.
Although more research is needed, this 2022 review indicates that Indigo Naturalis has been shown to slow the overgrowth of skin cells, improving symptoms in Psoriasis. This review also recommends topical applications of this product over systemic options, like oral capsules.
Indigo Naturalis is available in a variety of topical products, which can be found at your local brick-and-mortar store as well as online retailers.
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also benefit PsO.
For example, anthocyanin, the compound that’s responsible for red, purple, and blue colors in fruits and vegetables, has anti-inflammatory properties, radiation protection, and antioxidant effects, which may help manage your PsO.
This 2015 study found that delphinidin (a type of anthocyanin) therapy suppressed inflammation and induced epidermal differentiation while also inhibiting the release of psoriatic-associated inflammatory proteins.
Consuming the plant-based compound EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), has also shown anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant effects. In this 2016 study, EGCG not only improved the skin in mice with PsO, but also improved their overall immune function.
EGCG can be found in green, white, oolong, and black teas as well as cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, cherries, pears, peaches, apples, and avocados.
Aloe vera gel, found on the inside of the desert plant’s long, pointy leaves, is both an emollient and moisturizer that can help skin wounds in many ways, including soothing pain, itching, and inflammation.
Although more research is needed in PsO patients, these documented properties are often used to support the benefit of aloe vera in the treatment of PsO.
The gel from the aloe leaves can be safely and effectively applied topically on the skin, directly from the plant, and it can also be found in many skin and beauty products.
When applied topically, coconut oil has been shown to improve blood flow, promote wound healing through faster skin regrowth, and provide a protective barrier for the skin. Additionally, skin treated with coconut oil has less inflammation after exposure to UV radiation.
The beneficial use of coconut oil specifically for PsO skin plaques has not been scientifically proven. However, it’s a well-known effective moisturizer and the dryness of PsO plaques typically responds well to moisturizing products. Coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil.
Coconut oil is well tolerated with virtually no side effects. It’s easy to use, relatively low cost, available at most grocery stores, and can be found in many lotions and beauty products.
A comprehensive review of multiple studies showed that omega-3 supplementation improved people’s PsO symptoms in 12 out of 15 trials. This is an accessible, low cost, and well-tolerated option for naturally managing your PsO.
Omega-3 can be supplemented with a myriad of over-the-counter products or consumed in a variety of food sources.
Animal-based sources for omega-3 include:
Vegetable-based alternatives to fish oil for omega-3 include:
A 2019 research review has shown that Turmeric (curcumin) can slow keratinocyte proliferation (excessive skin overgrowth) and reduce the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines (cells the immune system sends out to fight inflammation), which are both found in PsO.
The same review discusses results that indicate both topical and oral administrations of Curcumin as potentially effective treatments for PsO.
Consider asking your doctor if curcumin gels or capsules would be a good alternative treatment for your condition.
Probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium infantis, may help reduce the inflammatory impact of PsO.
Probiotics can sometimes cause changes in stool, such as constipation or diarrhea, but this may be a welcomed side effect depending on your bowel movement patterns.
B. Infantis probiotics are available in tablets, capsules, powders, and some foods. These foods include:
It’s very accessible and low cost, but sometimes these products have a relatively short shelf-life (yogurt expires in 1–3 weeks from the purchase date) and usually require refrigeration.
Meditation is completely free and can be practiced by anyone interested in starting.
According to TCM, PsO is a blood stasis syndrome and acupuncture may help promote blood circulation.
A 2021 study showed that acupuncture had beneficial effects in the treatment of PsO plaques by alleviating skin inflammation and excessive thickening of skin lesions.
There are many natural and alternative treatments available for PsO, and most of them are included in the umbrella of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies.
Additionally, many are low cost and have minimal side effects.
Consider asking your medical professional about whether any of these options might be good for you.
Medically reviewed on October 10, 2023
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author