An ingredient found in a traditional Chinese medicine shown to be effective in treating psoriasis
08/06/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

An ingredient used in traditional Chinese medicine can effectively treat moderate psoriasis, according to a study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In their study, researchers from the U.S. and Taiwan examined Indigo naturalis, also known as Qing Dai in Chinese medicine, on whether it was able to address symptoms of psoriasis. In traditional medicine, Indigo naturalis has been used to treat inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis.

The researchers examined the molecular profile of Indigo naturalis and its impacted pathways. For the study, they recruited 24 participants with moderate psoriasis who were randomly divided into two groups: 16 patients were assigned to the Indigo naturalis treatment group, while the remaining eight participants were appointed to the placebo control group.

The participants were instructed to apply the topical ointment assigned to them (either placebo or Indigo naturalis) twice a day for eight weeks or until the skin completely healed, with one week of follow-up.

On the eighth week, the researchers saw significant improvements in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores, a tool used to measure the severity of psoriasis, in patients treated with the Indigo naturalis ointment. This indicated that Indigo naturalis was effective in treating psoriasis in patients.

Based on the skin biopsies, the researchers also observed that the pro-inflammatory cytokine called interleukin (IL)-17 promoted moderate psoriasis. But when the Indigo naturalis treatment was applied, this particular inflammatory pathway was reduced. Researchers discovered that the inhibitory effect against the IL-17 pathway was because of tryptanthrin, a primary component of Indigo naturalis.


Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that moderate psoriasis can be treated with the use of Indigo naturalis.

Psoriasis and other natural treatments for it

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease characterized by raised, red, scaly patches on the skin. It can be associated with other serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression. The long-term skin condition typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp. Still, it can appear on any part of the body. In fact, it can even appear on the eyelids, ears, mouth and lip, hands and feet, and nails. In some cases, psoriasis may also cause an itchy, burning, and stinging feeling.

Although there is no exact cure for psoriasis, there are natural treatments available. Some natural treatments for psoriasis include the following:

  • Aloe vera – Aloe vera gel can be applied to the affected area for up to three times a day as a treatment for psoriasis. Studies show that it can help lessen redness and scaling caused by the skin condition.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar has been used during the ancient times as a disinfectant. Thus, it may help relieve scalp itch due to psoriasis. It can be used by applying it to the scalp several times a week or diluting it with water on a 1-to-1 ratio to prevent the burning sensation. To avoid irritation, rinse the skin scalp after the solution has dried. If you have open wounds or if the scalp skin is cracked or bleeding, do not use this remedy.
  • Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts – To help get rid of the scales and relieve itching, add Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts to warm bath water and soak in the tub for around 15 minutes. After the bath, apply moisturizer to the skin.
  • Turmeric – Turmeric has been known to reduce inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. Moreover, its active ingredient curcumin can also alter TNF cytokine expression, which is a possible reason why some patients find turmeric helpful in mitigating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares. Turmeric can be added to food or taken as a supplement.

Psoriasis can also be treated with the help of meditation, acupuncture, and social support.

Read more news stories and studies on traditional Chinese medicines like Indigo naturalis by going to

Sources include: 1 2

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