Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects your skin. Its main symptoms are scaly patches that appear red or silvery-white on light skin tones or purple or dark brown on dark skin tones.

Psoriasis affects at least 2–3% of the population and is often accompanied by a related condition called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis treatment methods vary, from topical creams to light therapy to oral medication.

More and more research is being done to discover natural remedies for treating psoriasis. Evidence is growing to support the use of herbs to treat certain types of psoriasis. Here’s what to know.

Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium and Mahonia aquifolium) has anti-inflammatory properties.

The stem and leaves of the plant can be ground into a powder or distilled into an extract that is then used to make a topical skin cream. It’s been found to reduce redness in psoriatic flares when used topically.

In various clinical studies, skin creams containing 10% Oregon grape extract were shown to be helpful in reducing psoriasis symptoms. That said, the cream can cause itching and burning during the application in some cases.

How to use: topical cream

Qing Dai (Indigo naturalis) is a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also been used to make indigo-colored dye for many centuries.

In various older clinical studies, creams containing 10% Indigo naturalist extract reduced psoriasis symptoms by 81% in some cases compared with placebo treatment, though this depended on the dose and specific composition.

A newer 2017 study found that 56.3% of participants had a 75% improvement in treatment.

How to use: topical cream

Aloe vera (Aloe vera barbadensis) is a plant known for its soothing and cooling properties. Aloe vera may also help regenerate skin cells and heal irritated skin.

It has also been shown to help reduce symptoms of mild-to-moderate psoriasis through various studies.

How to use: Topical cream. Look for creams containing at least 0.5% aloe vera.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is part of the same family as the ginger plant. Its active ingredient is curcumin, and it has unique anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that have led scientists to study it as a treatment for psoriasis.

Through various mechanisms of action, it has been shown to help with reducing psoriasis symptoms.

How to use: topical gel

Dong Qquai (Angelica sinensis) is another herb used as a remedy in Chinese medicine.

It contains psoralen, which is the same compound you would consume before undergoing phototherapy. Eating it before exposure to UV light can help reduce psoriasis symptoms.

There’s also some evidence that just applying it topically can help reduce skin itching related to atopic dermatitis, which may mean it could offer some relief with other skin disorders like psoriasis.

That said, you should never apply herbs and expose yourself to the sun without medical supervision or without consulting with a dermatologist first. It’s safer to use under medical supervision through light therapy.

How to use: in phototherapy

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers (Capsicum). It’s the reason you feel a burning sensation when you eat food seasoned with chilies.

The ability to create a “burning” of cells might actually help heal psoriasis flares, as well as reduce the feeling of pain or itch.

How to use: topical cream

Research suggests that other herbs might have properties that may be helpful for psoriasis.

They include:

  • fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  • clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • araroba tree (Vataireopsis araroba)
  • barberry bark (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • gotu kola (Centella asiatica L.)
  • day blooming jasmine (Cestrum diurnum)
  • American wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens L.)
  • Khella (Ammi visnaga L.)
  • Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus L.)
  • German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.)
  • narrow-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • black seed (Nigella sativa)
  • olibanum (Boswellia serrata)

What Chinese herbs are good for psoriasis?

In a meta-analysis of 11 studies, researchers found that herbs used in Chinese medicine in particular, can help relieve psoriasis treatment. That said, they may not help eliminate skin symptoms entirely.

The herbs studied include:

  • assam indigo or Chinese rain bell (Strobilanthes cusia)
  • common purslane, hogweed, pursley (Portulaca oleracea)
  • densefruit dittany (Dictamnus dasycarpus)
  • Chinese dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum)
  • plum blossom (Prunus mume)
  • red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza bunge)
  • zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria)
  • safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.)

It’s important to be careful when using herbal remedies. Botanical products can interact with your other medications.

It’s also important to be vigilant about allergies. Always test a new topical ointment or cream on a small part of your skin that isn’t affected by your psoriasis before you use it on a psoriasis flare.

If you have any redness, hives, or itching from a topical cream, don’t use that product as a psoriasis treatment. Don’t apply it to a flare that has an open wound.

How can I get rid of my psoriasis naturally?

There’s no natural remedy that can completely get rid of psoriasis, which is a chronic condition.

That said, some home remedies may help relieve symptoms. This includes taking oatmeal or Epsom baths, eating food with omega-3s, such as fatty fish, exercising, managing stress, and more.

What clears psoriasis fast?

While there’s no quick fix for psoriasis, medical treatment options include topical creams and ointments, light therapy, and oral or injected medications.

Psoriasis can’t be cured, but there are more and more ways to manage its symptoms. Herbal treatments for psoriasis are promising. Researchers are continuing to learn more about them.

However, herbal treatment is not a replacement for professional medical oversight. If you have success treating your psoriasis with complementary therapy, don’t stop other parts of your treatment plan without speaking to your doctor first.