Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. It causes an itchy rash that appears scaly and silvery. It can also cause other symptoms such as lesions that bleed or weep, or pitting and thickening of the nails.
There are different types of psoriasis based on how it affects the skin:
- Plaque—inflamed patches of skin topped with silvery, white scales (most common type)
- Guttate—small, dot-like lesions
- Pustular—weeping lesions and intense scaling
- Inverse—inflamed patches of skin in body folds (armpits, groin, under breasts)
- Erythrodermic—intense sloughing and inflammation of nearly the entire skin
Psoriasis can be difficult to manage. Treatments may include:
- Peeling agents to expose underlying skin
- Topical steroids, moisturizers, or coal tar preparations
- Medicine that lowers the effect of the immune system
Treatment options will depend on the severity of the psoriasis.
Alternative therapies may be helpful to manage symptoms in mild to moderate cases when used in combination with standard treatment.
- Traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) —Various herbs that are applied topically or taken by mouth.A1-A3
- Oregon grape creams or lotions (Mahonia aquifolium)B1-B2
- Capsaicin creams or lotionsC1-C2
- Aloe vera creams or lotionsD1-D3
- Note: Excessive exposure to heat can be dangerous with certain medical conditions.
- Topical indigo naturalis—A type of Chinese herb.F1-F2
Unlikely to Be Effective
- Acupuncture G1-G2
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions.
- TCHM—Toxicities and side effects of TCHM vary depending on the herb and amount used.
- Balneotherapy—Exposure to excessive heat may be harmful in:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- People with heart or other medical conditions
- People under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
- Review Date: 02/2019 -
- Update Date: 02/22/2019 -