At this Perth naturopathic clinic we see many cases of psoriasis, a skin condition that affects around four percent of the population. Although psoriasis is based on an inherited genetic tendency, natural treatment with homeopathy, and naturopathic approaches including herbal medicine and diet is successful in its management. Improvement is usually quick, and many cases will completely resolve, given a little time.
This requires skilful prescription of a series of homeopathic remedies and natural therapies that address all the predisposing trigger factors for psoriasis: poor digestion of proteins, problems with fatty acid metabolism, intestinal permeability and bowel flora imbalance, systemic toxicity and poor liver function. Stress and emotional disturbance are a key trigger factor for many individuals, and “constitutional” homeopathy that treats the person on all levels, including the mind and emotions, can help deal with that level. “Miasmic” remedies help heal the expression of the genetic level.
Last but not least, healthy dietary and lifestyle guidelines are provided, as psoriasis is even more directly linked with poor diet than most other skin conditions. In a state of perfect health, psoriasis will simply lie dormant.
From a medical point of view the cause of psoriasis is unknown, although it is thought to be an auto immune disorder. The underlying genetic component, when triggered leads to an overproduction of an excessive amount of skin cells. Whereas healthy skin is replaced on a monthly basis, in those affected with psoriasis the turnover of new skin occurs every three or four days. This leads to a build up of thickened, overlapping silvery skin plaques. Pitting of the nails occurs in some individuals. In many the joints are also involved, resulting in psoriatic arthritis.
As a holistic therapy, homeopathy views all skin conditions as having an internal origin. This is especially obvious in psoriasis. But more than that, the body uses the skin as a “safety valve” for internal problems. Homeopathy believes that the body has an intelligent, self-regulating mechanism that is historically called the “Vital Force”, or life energy, that connects and maintains the body as a whole: mentally, emotionally and physically.
At any point in time, symptoms produced by the body are the body’s “best attempt” to maintain health. The self-regulating intelligence will attempt to limit damage to deeper organs and to the mental state by keeping symptoms at a superficial level. The skin is the first area that symptoms appear. Therefore, to treat the skin, the inner problems need to be addressed. Attempts to suppress the symptoms, as with corticosteroids, can only worsen the condition in the long run. Please read the pages homeopathy explained and the pages on the treatment of eczema and dermatitis and treatment of acne for further discussion.
As always, the only way to properly treat and heal at that deeper level, where everything is connected, is to use the single homeopathic remedy that reflects the whole pattern of disturbance. That is what we call a constitutional remedy: a medicine that is specific to the patient, not to the name of the disease. It requires skill and experience; and in this Perth naturopathic clinic I have twenty six years experience at treating this common condition. When I started my practice, I thought of psoriasis as a difficult problem but I now find its management relatively easy.
Whereas the constitutional remedy is essential, a sequence of remedies over several months is often needed for psoriasis. To heal the problem in the gastro intestinal tract, as with other skin conditions, the protocols of Drs Bach and Paterson are often used. Where liver function needs to be addressed, there are remedies for that organ that could be individually prescribed.. The western herbal tradition has several remedies that are thought to act as blood and liver cleansers and that aid in detoxification. I use them mainly in low homeopathic potencies, and I find them particularly effective in some stubborn cases as an adjunct to the constitutional prescription. In women, hormonal factors may need to be dealt with. Education in stress management and meditation techniques may be important and sometimes sleep issues may need to be addressed in the short term by remedies that aid sleep patterns directly.
In this 2009 study of patients with psoriasis treated with homeopathy, marked improvements in symptoms and quality of life were noted.
Most individuals with psoriasis that I see have a poor diet, so some education may be necessary here. In general, a healthy diet with few processed foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables is important. However, otherwise healthy foods such as spices, chillies and acidic foods including tomatoes (and all nightshades) and citrus fruits and berries should be avoided. Alcohol should be kept to a minimum, especially during outbreaks. Junk foods, pastries and oily foods can trigger symptoms, as may caffeinated beverages such as coffee and cola drinks. Red meat should be kept to a minimum and replaced with a little free range chicken breast and especially fish such as deep sea salmon. Nuts such as almonds and macadamias and pumpkin seeds and avocados are especially useful. The normal vegetable oils used for cooking and on salads should be replaced by virgin olive oil or coconut oil. While diet byitself will not cure psoriasis, it is a good adjunct to the homeopathic treatment as applied at our Perth clinic.
One of the most important tips is adequate hydration: at least two to three litres of water daily. It is also important to keep the skin moist with water. Moisturising lotions and creams are only useful if applied onto damp skin and well rubbed in. Psoriasis will never be healed from the outside, but different natural ointments and creams are useful to relieve symptoms in some individuals, and we can advise you of the options. However, the only significant and lasting benefit can come from internal homeopathy skilfully applied.