(NaturalNews) Psoriasis is no joke, and neither is the fact that many individuals with this chronic condition suffer from a wide variety of emotional and physical symptoms. Because of the visible nature of this autoimmune condition, many people seek alternative or complementary at-home therapies to calm symptoms and soothe flare-ups. Although some home remedies for psoriasis can be very helpful and harmless, others can cause serious drug interactions and health problems for some individuals.
The ins and outs of treatment options for psoriasis
Beyond the world of pharmaceuticals, hydrocortisone cream, and light boxes, what is available in terms of alternative therapies for psoriasis? A lot. And thankfully, many individuals with psoriasis meet with considerable success when combining herbal and pharmaceutical psoriasis treatments.
Here are some psoriasis-friendly at-home treatments:
• Fish oil and vitamin E supplementation • Over-the-counter moisturizers free of artificial dyes and scents • Diets low in fatty red meats and high in vegetables • Humidifiers in the bedroom and living spaces • Yoga, meditation, exercise, and stress relief activities
Other common alternative or complementary treatments for psoriasis include:
• Biofeedback • Aromatherapy (for stress relief) • Talk therapy • Topical herbal treatments such as aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, capsaicin, Dead Sea salt, oats, Oregon grape, and tea tree oil
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has also been used to address psoriasis symptoms, and certain herbs (such as Indigo naturalis and Rehmannia glutinous) have considerable potential for psoriasis treatment. However, many TCM psoriasis treatments can be harmful when used long-term, and research is still lacking in human trials. Future studies should help identify the most effective TCM treatments as well as their best mode of delivery (oral versus topical, for instance).
Take precautions with complementary and alternative psoriasis treatments
Before adding new therapies to a psoriasis treatment regimen, follow the steps below.
Discuss plans with a physician and pharmacist. Although some alternative therapies and herbal remedies can be very effective, they can have serious side effects. Depending on other health conditions of the individual (such as high blood pressure or diabetes), certain herbal treatments may be ineffective or even deadly. Discussing plans to incorporate herbs and other alternative therapies into a psoriasis treatment plan should be done with the assistance of a medical expert. Similarly, ask a pharmacist about potential drug interactions should the new regimen include both pharmaceuticals and complementary therapies (such as herbs, supplements, and other oral or topical treatments).
Do not discontinue pharmaceuticals abruptly or without guidance from a healthcare professional. Psoriasis drugs can cause harmful side effects when discontinued suddenly. The body takes time to adjust to reduced levels of medication as well as the introduction of new treatments; do not rush the process.
Design a plan that is feasible and affordable. Any treatment regimen should be practical--both in terms of time and money. Furthermore, designing a plan that is sustainable can be essential to success, as many treatments take at least several weeks to provide significant results.
About the author: Katie BrindAmour is a Certified Health Education Specialist and passionate health and wellness freelance writer. She enjoys cooking, yoga, gardening, searching for the perfect wine and chocolate combination, and spending time with friends. She has a Masters in Biology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy. She also enjoys blogging for Women's Healthcare Topics and Healthline Networks.