Some people who suffer from psoriatic arthritis prefer to explore natural treatment options as they fear the potential side effects associated with traditional treatments. According to surveys conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Center for Health Statistics, about 36% of people in the United States use some form of complementary or alternative treatment.
Of course, the optimal treatment for any condition is one that is both effective and safe and these natural treatments for psoriatic arthritis are anecdotal - meaning that it is considered weak in comparison to what scientific studies can provide. For this reason, before starting any natural treatment to talk to your doctor, and consider consulting a naturopathic physician too. These physicians make use of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, along with natural treatments, to help manage a disease, promote wellness, and minimize side effects from other treatments. That said, here are some herbal remedies for your consideration:
1. Aloe Vera
The gel from the aloe plant may help to lessen the redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. Creams that contain 0.5% aloe can be applied to skin up to three times a day. Be warned that aloe in tablet form is not recommended and is considered to be dangerous. Aloe contains a mix of components including anthraquinones, steroids, saponins, mucopolysaccharides, and salicylic acid.
This ingredient is found in chili peppers and when added to ointments and creams it may help to reduce pain, inflammation, redness, and scaling that is associated with psoriasis. When applied to the skin it blocks nerve endings which transmit pain.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, derived from a plant indigenous to Australia has mostly been used for wound-healing and hives. However, it has not been studied for psoriasis and people using it are warned to be careful because it can cause allergic reactions.
Recognized for having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric can also alter TNF cytokine expression. It is believed to reduce psoriasis and flares of psoriatic arthritis. The FDA states that 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric per day is a safe dose.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may help relieve scalp itch associated with psoriasis. It is readily available at any grocery store and can be applied to your scalp several times a week. There are users who recommend a 1:1 dilution in order to prevent burning. Rinsing is also recommended to prevent skin irritation.
6. Dead Sea Salts
It is believed that soaking in a warm bath with Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts may help to remove scales and lessen the itchiness associated with psoriasis.
7. Wintergreen or Boxberry
Wintergreen is native to the eastern United States. It is said to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. While it's been used topically for psoriasis, there are no scientific investigations regarding its effectiveness. As a salicylate, it can cause systemic effects, especially in people taking oral salicylates as well. Just be careful of potential toxicity.