In my practice, I am often approached by people suffering from psoriasis. Most of these people take heavy prescription medication and are desperate for some alternatives. This article will provide some top natural tips to easing this condition.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease and is more common than we think. It is estimated that between 2 and 3% of the Dutch population suffer from psoriasis, which equates to more than 300,000 people. This percentage is pretty much the same across the globe.
Typical symptoms of psoriasis include red spots, skin flakes, itching and occasional pain. The excessive skin flakes are caused by an overproduction of cells as a result of an inflammation within the skin. The typical behaviour of an autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy body tissue by mistake. In the case of psoriasis, the healthy tissues that are attacked are on the skin. This type of attack causes the skin to rapidly produce six to eight times more cells. The skin of healthy individuals is renewed in 26 to 27 days, while it only takes 6 to 7 days for psoriasis patients.
Psoriasis is usually visible as distinct patches on the elbows, legs, scalp and lower back. However, it can occur on any part of your body, even your toe nails or genitals. Appearance-wise, psoriasis can be very distressing, not to mention the constant itching can become very annoying.
Psoriasis has often been linked to a gluten intolerance. Gluten are protein that mainly occur in grains and wheat, but also many other products, making it very hard to avoid. The link between psoriasis and gluten intolerance is not yet completely understood, however, people who have a gluten intolerance tend to suffer more from psoriasis.
There are three causes that contribute to an autoimmune disease or make it worse:
- Gluten intolerance
- Gut flora (bacteria in your gut) being out of balance
- Heavy metal intoxication
In order to treat this psoriasis, you will need to eliminate these issues in order to rebalance your body. As always, treating the cause of your symptoms will improve your condition, or cure you completely.
Conventional treatments are usually based on medicines, creams, lotions, tablets, capsules or injections. These medications can be invasive and can lead to many side effects, making the patient uncomfortable or even causing more problems. Natural methods are soothing and more effective, limiting the side effects on your body. Below are my top six natural ways to improve psoriasis.
- For an anti-inflammatory effect, eat plenty of oily fish in order for your body to absorb omega 3 fats, as well as eating blueberries, green vegetables and nuts. You can also drink ginger tea daily, which brings a whole catalogue of health benefits. The flip side means you need to limit as many foods as possible that may aggravate your inflammation, such as gluten and dairy products. Another idea is to cook your food with coconut oil, rather than vegetable oil.
- Get yourself tested for heavy metal toxicity. This condition can seriously worsen an autoimmune disease, therefore aggravating psoriasis. This can be done fairly simply by testing your hair. Visit your doctor for more information on this test.
- Rebalance your intestinal flora (bacteria). Your gut plays an important role in diseases, and a leaky gut can be one of the causes of psoriasis. There are various ways you can restore and improve the health of your gut, most easily through probiotic supplements. Always check with your doctor first, as any treatment for a leaky gut must vary depending on your personal situation.
- Reduce stress. Research shows that stress can cause a psoriasis attack as well as prolong them. Eliminate stressors, pray your salah at their set times and practice dhikr (remembrance of Allah and du’a) regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep. Research shows that people with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from sleep issues. Therefore, make sure you have a good sleep routine, such as going to bed early, no use of electronics causing radiation in the bedroom and not using your cell phone or laptop before sleeping. Always follow the Sunnah regarding your sleeping positions and the du’as you recite before going to sleep.
- Use apple cider vinegar to relieve itching. Once or twice a day, pour this onto a cotton pad and treat all the areas affected by psoriasis. You can rinse off the apple cider vinegar if it has dried up in order to prevent the smell. If the skin has open wounds, do not apply apple cider vinegar. You should see visible results within a few weeks, inshaAllah.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can treat psoriasis without resorting to conventional medicine. Helping our bodies heal naturally is the best chance our bodies have to living a healthier, better quality of life.