Turmeric’s popularity has soared within the natural health community. The spice is also making a name for itself in mainstream medicine.
Psoriasis causes skin cells to build up. This buildup on the skin results in a variety of mild to severe symptoms, such as:
Symptoms may be constant, or they may come and go.
Treatment is usually aimed at slowing skin cell growth and reducing scales on the skin. Treatment options include:
- topical corticosteroids
- synthetic versions of vitamin D, also known as analogues
- topical retinoids
- anthralin (Dritho-Scalp)
- calcineurin inhibitors
- salicylic acid
- tar soap
- light therapy
- other powerful drugs that alter the immune system, such as biologics
As a result, some people with psoriasis are turning to natural remedies, such as turmeric, for relief.
Turmeric has also been used as a healing spice for centuries. It’s popular in both Chinese and ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric is thought to have powerful anti-inflammatory abilities that may help relieve psoriasis symptoms.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It’s thought to be responsible for much of turmeric’s healing capabilities.
Research on using turmeric to treat psoriasis is encouraging.
According to a proof-of-concept observational study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, curcumin gel may help relieve psoriasis when combined with:
- topical steroids
- avoidance of allergens
- avoidance of dairy products if you are lactose intolerant
After 16 weeks, 72 percent of the study participants were no longer displaying symptoms of psoriasis.
A placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial of 34 people with plaque psoriasis also had positive results. These participants were treated with a curcumin microemulgel, a special topical version of curcumin.
The results, published in the , showed the microemulgel was well-tolerated.
When compared to those who received the placebo, participants showed improvement in symptoms such as redness, thickness, and scaling. They also reported an improvement in quality of life.
The European Journal of Dermatology published a small study on the effects of oral curcumin combined with visible light therapy.
Results showed that the combination might be safer than traditional treatments for people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Fresh turmeric can be difficult to find, but you may be able to locate it in your local natural health store. Ground turmeric can be added to foods such as soups, curries, and stews. To use, add about a teaspoon per recipe.
If you’re giving turmeric powder or supplements a try, be sure to take some black pepper as well. Black pepper improves the absorption of curcumin in the body.
Make turmeric tea
To make turmeric tea:
- Add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture, and add honey or lemon to taste.
Make a turmeric paste
To use turmeric topically, you’ll need to make a paste:
- Use one part turmeric powder to two parts water.
- Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until a thick paste forms.
- Cool and store covered in the refrigerator.
If you want to try turmeric, talk to your doctor or natural health practitioner. They can provide guidance that takes your personal health history into account.
Dosages of up to 4,000 milligrams (mg) daily have been used in clinical trials. Higher doses increase the risk of side effects.
Before using turmeric to treat psoriasis or any medical condition, talk to your healthcare team to determine if it’s safe for you. They can also determine whether it’ll conflict with any other drugs you currently take and determine the best dosage and preparation method.
Although more studies are needed, there’s the potential for future turmeric treatments that may be safer than some of the commonly used psoriasis treatments. New research offers hope to people with psoriasis that a better quality of life is on the horizon.