The use of herbs for psoriasis is a common practice, although some health professionals disagree concerning the safety or efficacy of this practice. Some of the most commonly used herbs for psoriasis include aloe vera, witch hazel, and comfrey root. Additional herbal remedies that may be used to treat this skin condition include milk thistle, licorice, and tea tree oil. Many doctors and other members of the medical community have expressed concerns over the lack of a regulatory committee that would standardize doses and ensure the quality of the herbs used for these supplements. Herbal supplements may cause unwanted side effects or interact negatively with certain medications, so a doctor should always be consulted before using herbs for psoriasis treatment.
Aloe vera and witch hazel are commonly used herbs for psoriasis. Witch hazel is often used to help dissolve the flaky skin particles that develop on psoriasis lesions. Serious side effects of using witch hazel are rare, although a temporary burning or stinging sensation may occur upon application. Many people have reported positive effects after using aloe vera gel to treat psoriasis patches, and this herb has a reputation of speeding up the healing of many types of skin disorders. Mild skin irritation or allergic reactions may occur when using aloe vera gel.
Comfrey root and milk thistle are among the possible herbs for psoriasis treatment. Believed to have mild analgesic effects, comfrey root may help to ease the pain or discomfort caused by psoriasis. Potential side effects of this herb include liver damage, digestive disturbances, and possible connections to the development of some forms of cancer. Milk thistle is thought to remove toxins from the blood and promote healthy immune system functioning. Nausea, insomnia, and joint pain are potential side effects of milk thistle usage.
Tea tree oil and licorice are sometimes used as herbs for psoriasis management. Reported for centuries to have antibacterial properties, tea tree oil can be diluted with water or olive oil and applied directly to the lesion to help prevent infection from developing. Mild to moderate skin irritation may occur when using undiluted tea tree oil. Licorice is typically used in a tea and is thought to reduce inflammation from the inside, although this tea may be applied topically to the skin lesions as well. Possible side effects of licorice include high blood pressure, menstrual irregularities, and an increased risk of cancer affecting the female reproductive system.