Prescription medications used to treat psoriasis may cause uncomfortable side effects. As a result, you might seek natural treatments to help manage your psoriasis symptoms. One form of natural medicine is called Ayurveda medicine.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient, holistic form of treatment. It originated in northern India. Ayurveda is based on the premise that good health depends on a healthy body, mind, and spirit. It relies heavily on herbal remedies and living a healthy lifestyle, which includes:
- a healthy diet
- exercise such as yoga
Practitioners of Ayurveda believe that every person has a distinct energy pattern made of three types of energies. These energies are known as doshas, and include:
- vata energy, which controls bodily functions
- pitta energy, which controls metabolic functions
- kapha energy, which controls growth in the body
Ayurveda practitioners believe if your doshas are out of balance, you may feel stressed or become sick. The goal of Ayurveda is to keep your doshas balanced for optimal health.
Ayurveda is not mainstream in Western medicine, but it’s gaining momentum. Its principles may be applied to most health conditions and are sometimes used to complement traditional medical treatments.
Ayurvedic psoriasis treatments
The main Ayurveda treatment used to treat psoriasis is Panchakarma therapy. Panchakarma treatments use plant-based remedies and dietary changes. These are meant to detox and purify the body. A vegetarian diet is often recommended.
The Panchakarma treatments include:
- consuming medicated ghee, a form of clarified butter
- purging and vomiting
- dripping medicated buttermilk on a person’s head
- covering the entire body in a paste of medicines and mud
- performing medicated enemas
The length and success of your treatment depends on the severity of your psoriasis and your commitment to the treatment.
The following Ayurvedic herbal remedies may also be used to treat psoriasis:
- black nightshade juice to reduce inflammation
- garlic and onions to purify the blood
- jasmine flower paste to relieve itching and reduce inflammation
- guggal to reduce inflammation
- neem to boost the immune system and purify the blood
- turmeric to reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling
- boswellia (frankincense) to reduce inflammation and support the immune system
Stress and psoriasis
Psoriasis can be triggered by stress, both physical and emotional. Meditation and exercise may help reduce stress-related psoriasis flare-ups. Both of these activities are included in Ayurveda treatment plans.
Some herbal remedies may also help to reduce stress. For example, a study of the popular Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha, also known as “Indian Ginseng,” determined the herb has anti-stress properties and is a beneficial restorative tonic.
Are Ayurvedic treatments safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies Ayurvedic herbal remedies as supplements. That means they do not undergo the same strict testing and monitoring procedures as other treatments and drugs.
Although Ayurveda has been practiced for centuries, some treatments may be harmful. There have been few controlled clinical trials, meaning the safety and efficacy is not well understood. You should only use Ayurvedic treatments under the direction of a trained practitioner.
Talking to your doctor
If you’re interested in holistic health, Ayurvedic treatments may be an option. You should not use them in place of traditional care, however. If you suspect you have psoriasis, it’s important to consult a medical doctor for a diagnosis.
Speak with your doctor and a trained Ayurveda practitioner if you have psoriasis and think Ayurveda may help. The mind-body connection seems to play a large role in overall wellness. Most mainstream doctors would not object to standard Ayurveda lifestyle changes such as:
- eating a healthy diet
- practicing yoga
Ayurveda remedies that help one person may not help another. It may be that developing a treatment plan that includes both mainstream and Ayurvedic medicine will give you the best of both worlds and the best results.
To help prevent drug interactions and negative side effects, be sure to tell anyone involved in your medical care about all the medications, supplements, and herbal remedies that you use.