People with psoriasis (psoriasis) usually feel helpless at the mercy of their suffering and try to live with the disease without despair. Conventional methods of treatment can only alleviate or temporarily contain, but not cure, the symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis is considered a chronic disease in school medicine. However, those who think and live holistically can significantly improve their skin appearance, prevent unpleasant side effects and actively contribute to recovery.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis, also known as psoriasis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It is one of the so-called autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own tissue-in this case the skin cells. As a result, the formation of new skin cells increases not only at a rapid rate, but also in strong excess.
Normally, a healthy epidermis takes about 4 weeks to renew itself. In psoriasis skin, this process takes place within 3 to 4 days.
This process, which is far too fast, means that no normal layer can form.
Instead, the dandruff areas typical of psoriasis skin are created. Most of the time they are localized, but the psoriasis can also spread large on the skin.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Among the common symptoms of psoriasis is the formation of silvery white, dry dandruff (psoriasis vulgaris) as well as yellowish crust formation (psoriasis exsudativa), which is caused by strong inflammatory processes.
Much less often, however, blisters filled with pus occur, which mainly manifest themselves on the inner surfaces of the hands and feet (psoriasis pustulosa).
In very rare cases, large-scale inflammation can thicken the entire body’s skin, making it increasingly inelastic and eventually predominantly tearing in the joint areas, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, etc. – which then becomes psoriatic Erythroderma.
Psoriasis vulgaris is the most famous form
Psoriasis vulgaris is the most common form of psoriasis. It is characterized by sharp and irregularly limited, reddish plaques of the skin, which are covered with silver-white scales.
The scalp, the back area of the ears, the elbows and knees as well as the crease are particularly affected by the dandruff formation.
In the course of psoriasis vulgaris, nail psoriasis develops in many patients. It changes both the shape and colour of the nails and can ultimately completely destroy the nail, so that it detaches from the nail bed.
Another condition commonly found as a result of long-lasting psoriasis vulgaris is psoriatic arthritis.
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis (short form PsA) is a disease of the rheumatic form and is also one of the autoimmune diseases.
However, unlike psoriasis, it is not the skin cells but the joints that are attacked by persistent inflammatory processes.
First, the inner skin of the joints is affected and later the cartilage.
In most cases, inflammation occurs in the area of the finger and toe joints. In general, however, almost all joints may be affected by psoriatic arthritis.
The joint areas are reddened, swell and hurt. If the inflammation persists over a long period of time, the joints can become increasingly stiffened and thus lead to significant movement restrictions.
What is the cause of psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis can develop as a result of a pre-existing psoriasis disorder. Before it erupts, however, many years can pass.
Although genetic disposition is likely to be a prerequisite for this type of disease, other factors, so-called trigger factors, need to be added before it finally breaks out.
These include bacterial infectious diseases, the use of certain medications (e.g. special blood pressure sinkers, rheumacitants, etc.), persistent psychological stress, unhealthy diet, environmental toxins or severe obesity.
In obese people, belly fat poses a particular danger, as inflammatory messengers are produced there, which can constantly ignite new inflammatory processes on the joints.
What side effects does the psoriasis therapy of conventional medicine have?
In school medicine therapy, psoriasis is usually treated with external applications. Among other things, salicylic acid supplements, preserved ointments and glucocorticoids (cortisone) are used.
These combat the symptoms of the disease, but not its causes. In addition, these drugs have some serious side effects.
Salicylic acid, for example, is used to detach the scales. In addition, it has an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Unfortunately, however, it is also potentially tissue damaging and has harmful effects with permanent use.
Tar ointments inhibit excessive cell division, have anti-inflammatory effects and relieve itching. However, with prolonged use, they are told a carcinogenic (carcinogenic) effect, so long-term or permanent use should be avoided.
Especially common in psoriasis therapy cortisone is prescribed in the form of ointments, medications or injections-completely notwithstanding the many possible side effects.
Water retention, blood pressure increase, blood glucose increase, immunodeficiency, osteoporosis, obesity or Cushing’s syndrome (full moon face, bulking, brittle skin vessels) are known reactions in a longer-term high-dose cortisone application.
Does PUVA therapy help with psoriasis?
PUVA therapy is a light therapy that is mainly used for large-scale psoriasis. Here, the diseased areas of the skin are treated with UV-A rays.
The P stands for a drug called psolars, which makes the skin more sensitive to light and is taken by the patient before treatment.
Since psolars in many cases cause nausea and vomiting, it is also offered to bathe in a psoral solution, as an alternative to taking it.
PUVA therapy counteracts inflammatory processes, inhibits the overactivity of the immune system and thus reduces the excessive division of skin cells. As a result, in some cases, there is a decrease in complaints.
This sounds convincing at first, if one would disregard the side effects of this therapy.
What side effects does PUVA therapy have?
In PUVA therapy, for example, there is a staking tendency to sunburn. Even the closed eyes (!) are massively endangered in the absence of protection by appropriate glasses. Acute conjunctivitis or lens displacement as well as a degenerative change in the retina are possible consequences.
In addition, the therapy can cause pigment displacement, overpigmentation, thickening of the skin as well as actinic keratosis (an early form of skin cancer). With higher UV-A doses, the risk of cancer increases exponentially.
What are the possible causes of psoriasis?
As always in the world of autoimmune diseases, conventional medicine is not known for any specific causes in psoriasis. One assumes various factors, which in their entirety could eventually have a disease-causing effect.
From a naturopathic point of view, the following aspects may be among the causes of psoriasis:
Weak or overloaded immune system
Psoriasis is – as mentioned above – an autoimmune disease, that is, an immune system problem. Consequently, the congestion of the immune system is a major cause of psoriasis.
The immune system has the task of protecting the body from pollutants of any kind. Thus, the defense system against pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) proceeds as rigorously as it does against poisons or other foreign bodies.
The immune system has its headquarters in the intestines, because that’s where it has the most work to do. The intestine is finally confronted with all the pollutants that have entered the body in some way.
The more pollutants have accumulated in the intestine, the more intense the immune system is required.
If additionally pathogens appear or if there are allergic reactions or external injuries to the skin, then the immune system is pushed to its limits. It is overwhelmed, weakened and can no longer do justice to its many tasks.
Now it can happen that the overwhelmed immune cells suddenly become overactive and start attacking even the body’s own tissues, which can lead to permanent inflammation in the affected areas.
It is believed that there is some genetic predisposition to psoriasis among those affected. Nevertheless, the actual onset of the disease requires other factors. These include, first and foremost, the aforementioned overwhelmed immune system as well as a sick gut environment.
Sick intestinal environment
A healthy intestinal mucosa prevents pollutants or incompletely digested particles from entering the bloodstream. The prerequisite for this, however, is a really intact intestinal mucosa.
However, large amounts of toxins, pollutants and harmful bacteria in the intestine produce a toxic intestinal environment that corrodes the intestinal mucosa. As a result, it becomes porous, so that more toxins and undigested food components enter the bloodstream. One speaks of the so-called leaky gut syndrome ( “leaking intestines “).
This in turn leads to violent reactions of the immune system. Inflammatinflammatory and allergic reactions occur. A scientific study was able to confirm that in psoriasis patients, microscopic injuries to the intestinal mucosa often occurred, caused by inflammatory processes in the gut. This was the case for patients with psoriasis vulgaris as well as those with psoriasis Arthtritis.
Disturbed intestinal flora
The poisonous intestinal environment described above is an optimal habitat for pathogenic bacteria, fungi or parasites.
In contrast, the beneficial bacteria in this milieu are difficult to survive. There is an overpopulation of the intestine with harmful bacteria. The resulting intestinal flora disorder (also called dysbacteria or dysbiosis) is considered a trigger for many different diseases.
To the same extent that pathogenic intestinal inhabitants multiply, the number of health-promoting gut bacteria decreases. This also means that the latter can no longer produce sufficient amounts of short-chain fatty acids, which serve as food for the intestinal mucosa cells. A deficiency of these fatty acids can lead to the degeneration of the intestinal mucosa, as a result of which the leaky gut syndrome described above can develop all the better.
The toxic excretions of the intestinal fungi (e.g. Candida albicans) are particularly dangerous for the intestinal mucosa, because they attack the mucosa and destroy the tissue. In this way, too, the intestinal mucosa becomes permeable to substances that should not enter the blood in any way.
As early as 1986, a first scientific study was able to prove the concrete link between an existing psoriasis and an extremely disturbed intestinal flora.
This study examined stool samples from patients with seborrheic scalp eczema, as well as a psoriasis of the scalp. The result showed that all patients had a highly pathological gut flora, dominated mainly by pathogenic yeast fungs.
Many people suffer from chronic acidification (disturbance of the acid-base household) due to an unhealthy lifestyle and diet, which can promote numerous diseases.
An acid accumulation, like toxins, has a corrosive effect-on both the mucous membranes and the joints. Inflammatory processes arise, which can constantly trigger recurrent relapses with latent psoriasis.
Acids are usually excreted via the urine as quickly as possible, but the discharge capacity of the kidneys is limited. In the case of chronic acidification, the amount of acidity produced is so large that the kidneys are overwhelmed. In this situation, the body relies on the help of the skin – the largest dislining organ of the body –.
If acids are now increasingly excreted through the skin, further inflammatory processes occur in the already paralyzed areas of the skin, which causes the skin’s appearance to deteriorate significantly-according to the naturopathic explanatory model.
An unhealthy diet is at the beginning of all the four factors already mentioned. It can therefore contribute both to the weakening of the immune system, to the dysbacteria in the intestine, to the deterioration of the intestinal environment and to the acidification of the body.
These effects clearly show that an unhealthy diet is involved in the development of almost every disease-including the development of psoriasis. Conversely, any disease must therefore also be positively influenced by a healthy diet.
The body receives enough energy to activate its self-healing powers needed to maintain good health by the body’s sufficient intake of high-quality and vital foods.
The biggest mistake made today in connection with nutrition is the consumption of enormous amounts of sugar, white flour products, inferior animal proteins, soft drinks and other finished products. In addition, there is the poor quality (pesticide residues, high nitrate content, etc.) of many conventional foods.
Neither sugar nor white flour provides the body with relevant amounts of vital substances. Instead, these foods provide the pathogenic bacteria, fungi and parasites with their favorite food-sugar. According to clinical research, a teaspoon of sugar is enough daily to develop chronic inflammatory processes.
The high consumption of animal products, which include dairy products, can overwhelm the digestive system. There is a protein surplus and at the same time an increasing level of uric acid. However, it is known that psoriasis patients are above-average likely to suffer from high levels of uric acid.
Prefabricated products often contain very few micronutrients. For this purpose, however, they supply a variety of inferior raw materials combined with a whole range of synthetic additives. The consequences of such a diet are catastrophic for the body. All of these foods lead to acidification of the body, change the intestinal environment and thus contribute to dysbacteria as well as to chronic inflammatory processes.
Anyone who now bears the genetic predisposition to psoriasis is in serious danger that it will actually break out.
What are the naturopathic measures?
In naturopathy, the focus is now on fixing the above risk factors-as follows:
When it comes to nutrition, an anti-inflammatory diet is a good idea. Their positive effects on psoriasis have already been shown in different studies. We explained in detail here how to feed on psoriasis: Diet in psoriasis. To help you get started in this form of nutrition, here is a diet plan for psoriasis.
This is an exemplary nutrition plan designed to provide an overview so you can see which foods can be combined with which foods. So the diet plan doesn’t need to be implemented one on one, but is always open to personal preferences and supplements.
However, psoriasis also applies – as with any chronic disease – that ONE diet is not equally suitable for all people. Therefore, the person concerned should always carefully observe each other in order to find out possible triggers of psoriasis in the personal meal plan. For example, in some psoriasis sufferers, gluten in cereals could worsen psoriasis symptoms. For others, there could be dairy products and at others the daily litre of Coke light.
When choosing oils and fats, one avoids those with an inflammatory effect, So oils with a high proportion of omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. sunflower oil, thistle oil, soy oil, etc.) or choose oils with a coherent omega-3-omega-6 ratio (e.g. hemp oil) or oils with Prefers monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil or almond oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also be used as an anti-inflammatory dietary supplement, for example via algae oil capsules (the herbal alternative to fish oil capsules).
The liver as our largest detoxifying organ is confronted with all the toxins that enter the body. As explained above, psoriasis sufferers often suffer from impaired bowel function (e.g. leaky gut syndrome), leaving the liver overwhelmed with the resulting additional toxic exposure, which in turn could weaken the immune system.
There are a large number of medicinal plants that are able to strengthen the liver effectively. Among the most well-known liver-regenerating plants are milk thistle and dandelion as well as the artichoke. In general, however, most bitter substances (in the right amount) strengthen the detoxification function of the liver.
Ideal for strengthening and relieving the liver, for example, a bitter base powder, a dandelion extract or a dandelion powder. A proposal for liver cleansing can be found here.
Autoimmune diseases are chronic inflammatory diseases, in the course of which “free radicals” are always increasingly active and lead to an increased degree of oxidative stress. This, in turn, also promotes inflammation. Antioxidants now found in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices can reduce oxidative stress and have anti-inflammatory effects. Some of the most well-known antioxidant supplements include astaxanthin, aronia, OPC, curcumin, Sulforaphane, etc.
Incense is considered to be significantly anti-inflammatory and is therefore also used in naturopathy in inflammatory joint diseases.
The Boswellia acids contained therein are responsible for the effect of incense. They are designed to inhibit a special inflammatory enzyme (prostaglandin E2) in its activity, which significantly reduces inflammatory responses. A study describes the exact mechanism of action.
Many psoriasis sufferers have experienced that sunlight can have a very positive effect on the appearance of the skin. The combination of sun and salt water can be particularly salutary. As a result, psoriasis patients benefit extraordinarily from long beach stays by the sea.
One reason why sunlight does the skin so well is surely its influence on vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is formed in the skin under the influence of UV radiation. Especially people with chronic diseases often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, so that with psoriasis the vitamin D levels should be determined, before one then selects the individually suitable dose according to the personal needs.
6th base baths
Not only the sun has a healing effect on the psoriasis on the lake, but also on the seawater. The salt it contains softens the skin flakes and finally detaches them. In addition, salt has a disinfectant and anti-inflammatory effect and makes the itching disappear.
Salt baths allow the skin to breathe again, making it soft and supple.
Here, too, it is of course not possible for most people to regularly enjoy baths in the sea. But this is also not necessary, because there are numerous basic baths or sea salt baths in the trade, which have a similarly positive effect on the skin, whereby basic baths do not dry out the skin as is often the case after a bath in the sea.
Since from a naturopathic point of view, the acidification of the body can be one of the causes of any chronic disease, the disposal of almost every holistic concept is of course also part of almost every holistic concept, no matter what complaints are present. More information on this topic can be found here: Deacidification
Intestinal flora build-up
In order to regenerate the possibly damaged intestinal environment, an intestinal cleansing can be thought of. At the same time, a healthy intestinal flora is built up, which can contribute to the regulation of the immune system.
Therefore, this measure can have a positive effect on all areas of the body. Even your psyche will benefit from intestinal cleansing, because it is very closely connected to the intestines via the nervous system.
The possible connection between the formation of psoriasis and the state of the soul of the affected people is extremely interesting. Unfortunately, it only receives frequent attention. It is well known that the skin is the mirror image of the soul.
The skin has a variety of functions, three of which show the connection to the psyche particularly clearly.
- The skin is our largest contact organ to the environment.
- At the same time, the skin separates us and offers us protection from the environment.
- The skin is the projection surface of all internal processes.
If we consider these functions alone, the following questions arise for psoriasis sufferers:
- What about your willingness to contact? Are you reboding too much?
- Who or what should your (shed) tank protect you from?
- Are you afraid of being hurt by other people?
- What is it really that breaks the (skin) boundary and wants to come out?
It certainly does not always make sense to identify the answer to these questions with yourself. Therefore, talk to an experienced therapist, because he can show you ways to resolve these psychic blockages step by step.
External coconut oil, inner ghee
Coconut oil is a very beneficial body care oil, especially in psoriasis, due to its anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Instead of a shower gel, you could use a natural olive oil soap and then take care of it with coconut oil.
Ayurvedic ghee (pure butter fat) also seems to strike-here when ingested-in psoriasis patients. In a study over 7 days, participants received 60ml of a medically prepared ghee daily.
Amazingly, not only did their previously elevated cholesterol levels drop. All the symptoms of her psoriasis – such as itching and redness – as well as the overall complexion improved significantly. Read the details here: Ghee eases psoriasis. However, medically prepared ghee, which is made with herbs, was used in the study, the recipe of which is not known and therefore one can probably only benefit from this ghee in the corresponding Ayurvedic centers.
What to do with psoriasis? Go slow!
However, please do not try to implement all of the above notes at the same time. Since too many changes or too many supplements taken can also quickly lead to an overload of the organism and thus to “side effects .” Therefore, take a slow and step-by-step approach! Best wishes!