Psoriasis is one of the most stubborn skin diseases. It is a chronic disease, characterised by thick, red, silvery, scaled patches of the skin. This disease affects both sexes equally, and is more common during the first fifteen to thirty years, although it may appear at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious.

Causes and Symptoms

Generally, the skin of the person suffering from this disease appears red and irritated and may be covered with bright silvery scales. Sometimes there is also a little itching. The areas usually involved are the elbows, knees, the skin behind the ears, the trunk, and the scalp. The disease may also affect the underarms and genital areas. The lesions vary in size from minute papules to sheets covering large parts of the body. Quite often, they are discs from half an inch to several inches in size. The lesions are always dry and rarely become infected.

Recent studies have shown that psoriasis involves an abnormality in the mechanism in which the skin grows and replaces itself. The abnormality is related to the metabolism of amino acids, the nature’s basic building blocks for the reproduction of cell tissues. Heredity also plays a role in die development of psoriasis as it tends to occur in families. The factors that aggravate and precipitate the outbreak of this disease are physical and emotional stress, infections, and use of certain medicines for the treatment of other diseases.

Remedies

Cabbage Leaves: Cabbage leaves have been successfully used in the form of compresses in the treatment of psoriasis. The thickest and greenest outer leaves are most effective for use as compresses. They should be thoroughly washed in warm water and dried with a towel. The leaves should be flattened, softened and smoothed out by rolling them with a rolling pin after removing •he thick veins. They should be warmed and then applied smoothly ‘«> the affected part in an overlapping manner. A pad of soft woollen cloth should be put over them. The whole compress should then be secured with an elastic bandage.

Bitter Gourd: Bitter gourd is a valuable remedy for psoriasis. A cup of fresh juice of this vegetable, mixed with a teaspoon of lime juice, should be taken sip by sip, on an empty stomach daily for four to six months.

Avocado Oil: The oil of avocado has been found beneficial in the treatment of this disease. It should be applied gently to the affected parts.

Cashewnut Oil: The oil extracted from the outer shell of the cashewnutis acrid and rubefacient. It can be applied beneficially on the affected area.

Buttermilk: The use of curd in the form of buttermilk has proved useful in psoriasis and the patient should drink it in liberal quantities. The application of buttermilk compresses over the affected parts will also be useful in treating this condition.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E therapy has been found effective in the treatment of psoriasis. The patient should take this vitamin in therapeutic doses of 400 mg a day. It will help reduce itching and scab formation.

Lecithin: Lecithin is also considered a remarkable remedy for psoriasis. The patient may take six to nine lecithin capsules a day—two or three capsules before or after each meal. If taken in the form of granules, four tablespoonfuls may be taken daily for two months. The dosage may be reduced thereafter to two tablespoons.

Dietary Considerations

Since psoriasis is a metabolic disease, a cleansing juice fast for a week is always desirable at the beginning of the treatment Carrots, beets, cucumbers, and grapes may be used foi juices. After the juice fast, the patient should adopt a well-balanced diet, consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis should be placed on raw seeds and nuts, especially sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and plenty of organically grown raw vegetables and fruits. All animal fats, including milk, butter, eggs; refined or processed foods; foods containing hydrogenated fats or white sugar; all condiment; and tea and coffee should be avoided. When there is a substantial improvement, goat’s milk, yoghurt, and home-made cottage cheese may be added to the diet. The juice fast may be repeated after a month or so.

Other Measures

During the initial juice fast, a warm-water enema should be used daily to cleanse the bowels. Frequent baths should be avoided. Soap should not be used. Regular sea-water baths and application of sea water externally over the affected parts once a day are beneficial. Hot Epsom salts baths also prove valuable in psoriasis. After an Epsom salts bath, a little olive oil may be applied. The skin should be kept absolutely clean by dry friction or daily sponging.

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