Psoriasis is one of the most stubborn skin disease. It is a chronic disease, characterised by thick, red, silvery, scaled patches of skin. This disease affects both sexes equally and usually first appears at the age ranging from 15 to 30 years, although it may appear at any age. It is, however, rare in infancy and old age. The disease is not contagious.
Generally, the skin of the person suffering from psoriasis appears red and irritated and may be covered with bright silvery scales. Sometimes, there is also a little itching. Areas usually involved are elbows, knees, the skin behind the ears, trunk, scalp, nails, underarm and genital areas. The lesions vary in size from minute papules, only just visible, to sheets covering large parts of the body. Quite often, they are discs from 1.25 cm. to several cms. in size. The lesions of psoriasis are always dry and rarely become infected.The psoriasis disease develops somewhat slowly, but can occasionally have a sudden onset with hundreds of drop-shaped patches which come and go or may consist of a few patches that remain year after year. When the scales are removed, there are tiny bleeding points beneath the scales, which tend to attach more firmly in the centre than around the edges of the spots.
Recent studies have shown that psoriasis involves an abnormality in the mechanism in which the skin grows and replaces itself. This abnormality is related to the metabolism of amino-acids, the protein chemicals, which are nature’s basic building blocks for the reproduction of cell tissues. Some authorities also believe that this disease is caused by lack of essential fatty acids. Heredity also plays a role in the development of psoriasis. The factors that aggravate and precipitate the out break of this disease are injury to skin, changes in the seasons, stress, infections and use of certain drugs for the treatment of other diseases.
Since psoriasis is a metabolic disease, a fast for cleansing of about five days is always desirable in the beginning of the treatment. Carrots, beets, cucumbers and grapes may be used for juices. Juices of citrus fruits should be avoided. The warm water enema should be used daily to cleanse the bowels during the fast. After the juice fast, the patient should adopt the diet of three basic food groups namely seeds, nuts, and grains, vegetables and fruits, with emphasis or raw seeds and nuts, especially sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and plenty of organically grown raw vegetables and fruits.
All animal fats, including milk, butter and eggs should be avoided. Refined or processed foods and foods containing hydrogenated fats or white sugar, all condiments, tea and coffee should also be avoided. After noticeable improvement, goat’s milk, yogurt and home-made cottage cheese may be added to the diet. The juice fast may be repeated after four weeks on diet.
Too frequent baths should be avoided. Soap should not be used. Regular sea-water baths and application of sea water externally over the affected parts once a day are beneficial. The hot Epsom-salts bath has also proved valuable in psoriasis. Three full baths should be taken weekly until the trouble begins to subside. The number of baths thereafter may be reduced to two weekly and finally to one. The affected areas should also be bathed twice in hot water containing Epsom-salts. After the bath, a little olive oil may be applied. The skin should be kept absolutely clean by daily dry friction or sponge. The affected parts should be frequently exposed to the sun. mud pack may be applied to the affected parts.
Cabbage leaves have been successfully used in the form of compresses in the treatment of psoriasis. The thickest and greenest outer leaves are most effective for use as compresses. They should be thoroughly washed in warm water and dried with a towel. The leaves should be made flat, soft and smooth by rolling them with a rolling pin after removing the thick veins. They should be warmed and then applied smoothly to the affected parts in an overlapping manner. A pad of soft woolen cloth should be put over it. The whole compress should then be secured with a elastic bandage.
Bitter Gourd: Bitter gourd is a valuable remedy for psoriasis. A cup of fresh juice of this vegetable, mixed with a teaspoon of lime juice, should be taken sip by sip, on an empty stomach daily for four to six months.
Avocado Oil: The oil of avocado has been found beneficial in the treatment of this disease. It should be applied gently to the affected parts.
Cashewnut Oil: The oil extracted from the outer shell of the cashewnut is acrid and rubefacient. It can be applied beneficially on the affected area.
Buttermilk: The use of curd in the form of buttermilk has proved useful in psoriasis and the patient should drink it in liberal quantities. The application of buttermilk compresses over the affected parts will also be useful in treating this condition.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E therapy has been found effective in the treatment of psoriasis. The patient should take this vitamin in therapeutic doses of 400 mg a day. It will help reduce itching and scab formation.
Lecithin: Lecithin is also considered a remarkable remedy for psoriasis. The patient may take six to nine lecithin capsules a day-two or three capsules before or after each meal. If taken in the form of granules, four tablespoonfuls may be taken daily for two months. The dosage may be reduced thereafter to two tablespoons.
Since psoriasis is a metabolic disease, a cleansing juice fast for a week is always desirable at the beginning of the treatment. Carrots, beets, cucumbers, and grapes may be used for juices. After the juice fast, the patient should adopt a well-balanced diet, consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis should be placed on raw seeds and nuts, especially sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and plenty of organically grown raw vegetables and fruits. All animal fats, including milk, butter, eggs; refined or processed foods; foods containing hydrogenated fats or white sugar; all condiments; and tea and coffee should be avoided. When there is a substantial improvement, goat’s milk, yoghurt, and home-made cottage cheese may be added to the diet. The juice fast may be repeated after a month or so.
During the initial juice fast, a warm-water enema should be used daily to cleanse the bowels. Frequent baths should be avoided. Soap should not be used. Regular sea-water baths and application of sea water externally over the affected parts once a day are beneficial. Hot Epsom salts baths also prove valuable in psoriasis. After an Epsom salts bath, a little olive oil may be applied. The skin should be kept absolutely clean by dry friction or daily sponging.
The patient should undertake plenty of physical and breathing exercises in fresh air. He should avoid all nervous tensions and should have adequate rest.