Unsightly, painful and particularly difficult to treat, psoriasis is a dogged, persistent disease that affects about 3 percent of the world’s population. Classified as a chronic, non contagious disorder – with the ability to kill if left alone – psoriasis typically affects the upper surface of the skin or epidermis.
According to the severity of the disease, treatments are stepped up in what is called the Psoriasis Treatment Ladder, from topical medications that have the least potential to cause adverse reactions in sufferers, to toxic, often dangerous systemic agents that are known to affect blood and liver function!
Although scientific medicine undoubtedly has its due place in the fight against psoriasis, it is the alternative therapies and treatments – buchu, cannabis, indigo naturalis and diet – that appear to be making the most positive in-roads.
What is Psoriasis?
Although the jury is still out as to the exact cause of the psoriasis, it is widely believed to be as a result of a misfiring immune system. Faulty signals are sent out which accelerate the growth cycle of skin cells that manifest as silvery-white scaly plaques on top of raised areas of angry,inflamed skin!
A host of environmental and lifestyle factors are well known to exacerbate, and, on occasion, even trigger the problem – stress, streptococcal infections, skin injury, abnormally dry skin, excessive alcohol intake, smoking and obesity.
Although there are five distinct forms of psoriasis that are either classified as pustular – where raised bumps filled with pus form on the skin – or nonpustular; it is psoriasis vulgaris, a form of plaque psoriasis, that affects between 80 and 90 percent of sufferers.
In addition to the elevated physical discomfort typically associated with the disease, psoriasis sufferers also exhibit acute depression caused by poor self-image. Toss in psoriatic arthritis that leads to stiff, painful, inflamed joints and connective tissue, and you’ll understand why psoriasis has a profoundly negative effect on the overall quality of life.
Scientific Treatments of Psoriasis and Associated Dangers
Treatment is dependent on the severity of the disease, with topical creams and oils used in mild cases, phototherapy in moderate cases and systemic agents – pills and injections – in severe cases.
Virtually all treatments have negative or even life-threatening side effects. Topical agents containing corticosteroids or retinoids can cause stomach irritations, rapid, irregular heart beat, liver toxicity and even an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Ultraviolet A Phototherapy or PUVA is known to cause nausea, headaches, fatigue, burning and itching, while long term treatment has been positively associated with squamous cell carcinoma or skin cancer!
Systemic agents such as methotrexate can affect the number of blood cells made by your bone marrow and cause lung and liver damage, while efalizumab inhibits the body’s ability to fight viruses which can lead to fatal brain infections!
Herbal treatments or Psoriasis Alternative treatments that have been effective in the control and cure of psoriasis include:
The Chinese herbal medicine, Qing dai or indigo naturalis – Dried and mixed with petroleum jelly, Qing dai can be applied directly to the skin or ingested in the form of a powder or pill. Recent research proved the efficacy of the herb, with a 75% overall success rate.
Cannabis – has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and the high THC content is known to regulate the immune system. Treatment for Psiorasis is done by applying a topical cannabis extract to the affected areas.
The buchu herb or Agathosma Betulina, endemic to the Western Cape – a remarkable natural anti-inflammatory, natural antiseptic and a source of natural pain relief that has scientifically proven efficacy in the treatment of psoriasis and a host of other diseases.
A video by Charles from www.howtobeatpsoriasis.com based around changing your diet in order to beat psoriasis. The video shows a sequence of photos of the progress that can be made through a diet based program.
As is the case with many treatments, different individuals may show different degrees of responsiveness to any specific treatment. However, a dual approach of improving ones diet as well as a topical treatment with a herbal remedy such as Buchu, Qing Dai or Cannabis is most likely to bring about the best results.