Role of Ayurveda in psoriasis

Introduction on psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin, causing the excessive and rapid growth of skin cells. It can lead to the formation of thick, scaly plaques.

Even though we consider psoriasis a skin disease, it is really the result of a disordered immune system. It occurs when skin cells suddenly rises from below the surface of the skin and pile up on the surface before they can mature. Generally this process (also called turnover) takes about a month, however in psoriasis it may occur in only a few days. These areas become reddened, inflamed, patches with white scale on them. It tends to be worst in those with cancer, AIDS or autoimmune disease.

Psoriasis areas are worsened by scratching and small skin injuries or irritations. Psoriasis may itch or burn. The skin may crack or split in areas that bend. Psoriasis is considered as an autoimmune disease where genetic and environmental factors have a significant role. Thus, psoriasis is a dry, inflammatory and ugly skin disorder, which can involve the entire system and is not contagious.

About Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word originated from “Ayus” meaning life and “Veda” meaning knowledge or science. Hence the term Ayurveda means “The knowledge of Life”.

Ayurveda follows the “Five Great Elements” (Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, and Akash) theory. According to this methodology, all these elements must be  in harmony with the ‘fault’, ‘tissue’ and the ‘impurity’. Ayurveda deals with the balance between the three elemental energies (Doshas), Vatt (Air+Space=”wind”), Pitta (Fire+Water-“bile”) and Kapha (Water+Earth= ”phlegm”).

How Ayurveda explains psoriasis

According to an article in the International Journal of Green Pharmacy, practitioners of Ayurveda classify psoriasis as a “kushtha” health condition. This term means it is a chronic condition that is “krucchasadhya,” meaning intractable, and “asadhya,” meaning incurable.

Ayurvedic texts say that psoriasis arises due to an imbalance of two “doshas,” or areas of energy. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine call these the “Vata” and “Kapha.”

Vata is responsible for controlling bodily functions and could contribute to the dryness and skin scaling of psoriasis. Kapha is responsible for growth, and so Ayurvedic practitioners explain the itching and rapid skin cell turnover using this dosha.

The imbalance between these two energies causes toxins to build up in a person’s system, leading to inflammation. As a result, Ayurvedic treatments often revolve around not only herbal applications but also diet and lifestyle advice.

Ayurvedic herbal remedies used to treat psoriasis

Many Ayurvedic compounds and herbs could benefit people with psoriasis. However, people should consult an Ayurveda practitioner before including these herbs.

Black nightshade (garden nightshade and common nightshade) juice to reduce inflammation

Garlic and onions to purify the blood

Jasmine flower paste to relieve itching and reduce inflammation

Guggul to reduce inflammation

Neem: The most important component in Neem oil for psoriasis is nimbidin, an anti-inflammatory property comparable to standard cortisone drugs, that reduces swelling, redness, and itching. Neem oil contains a natural antihistamine that calms itching and swelling.

Turmeric: We use this bright yellow-orange spice as a psoriasis treatment in ayurvedic medicine. Many studies show that turmeric reduces inflammation and has antioxidant properties, meaning it protects cells. You can eat turmeric in food, such as curries, or take it as a supplement.

Boswellia (Indian frankincense) to reduce inflammation and support the immune system

Topical aloe vera for soothing itchy skin.

Other topical herbal remedies

Andira araroba (Araoba, Bahia Powder and Brazil Powder): Using method-This powder is mixed with vinegar or lemon juice to form a thin, pasty mass, or is well incorporated with glycerin or starch paste, and is then applied over the eruption once or twice a day, for 5 to 8 days successively, in which period of time the cure is generally affected. Its application can cause a temporary uneasy sensation in the part to which it is applied.

The eruption assumes a whitish appearance, and the surrounding tegument appears like a dark stain. For internal use, we can take it in the form of pills, made by incorporating it with medicinal soap. For external application, by means of a small brush, or a tincture of the powder may be painted upon the affected parts.

Olive oil: Olive oil is an effective treatment for mild cases of plaque psoriasis. We can massage it directly onto affected areas of the skin to reduce dryness and irritation as well as to facilitate healing. We report olive oil to have antioxidant properties (vitamin E), which will be of use in the case of psoriasis, since free radicals have been linked to psoriasis outbreaks.

Other ayurvedic herbal remedies

Milk thistle: Alternative medical practitioners suggested extract of Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), which we know it as silymarin, to stimulate bile production in the liver and also to regulate the immune system. The herb keeps the blood clean and protects the liver, which makes it an effective psoriasis remedy.

Calendula officinalis: It is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, hairy on both sides and with margins entire or irregularly waved or weakly toothed. Calendula officinalis belonging to the Family Compositae is some of the very common Indian herbs having various medicinal properties for the treatment of different kind of disease, viz. antifungal, wound healing and ant diabetic agents respectively.

Coleus: Although there is less scientific evidence, the Ayurvedic herb coleus (Coleus Forskohlii) has been used historically as one of many herbal psoriasis remedies. Coleus is valuable in treating skin disorders such as psoriasis due to its ability to promote normal cell division.

Cayenne: Many experts regarded Cayenne (Capsicum annum) as an effective natural psoriasis remedy. This herb contains a substance known as capsaicin, which by depleting neurotransmitters from the sensory nerves, relieves pain and itching associated with psoriasis.

Also other miscellaneous herbs

Burdock root, cleavers, bilberry, golden seal, yellow dock, red clover, and Echinacea are all mentioned in various herbal texts. We can consume any of these herbal remedies for psoriasis in the form of extracts, teas or tinctures. The various herbal remedies for psoriasis include: Psoralen coryliforia, Coleus forskoli, sarsaparilla ,turmeric, curcumin, shark cartilage extract, oregano oil.

We use various antimicrobial agents such as Azadirachta indica, Calendula officinalis, Cassia tora in the treatment of psoriasis. In aromatherapy, we mix carrier oils with oils from lavender, calendula, and bergamot and then massaged onto the affected skin.

Oregon grape

We also call oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) as barberry. It has anti-inflammatory properties. The stem and leaves of the plant can be ground into a powder or distilled into an extract that is then used to make a topical skin cream. It’s been found to reduce redness in psoriatic flares when used topically.

In effective clinical studies, skin cream contained 10 percent Oregon grape extract. The cream can cause a burning sensation during application, but there are few other side effects to using Oregon grape on your skin.

Oregon grape works best if your psoriasis is mild to moderate.

How to use: Use as a topical skin cream.

Indigo naturalis

Indigo naturalis is a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also been used to make indigo-colored dye for many centuries.

We can distill indigo naturalis into an oil extract. This extract can treat nail psoriasis. In one study, using the oil on nail psoriasis every day for 24 weeks resulted in significant improvement.

We can also use the herb extract topically on other parts of your body where you’re having a psoriasis flare.

How to use: Use as an oil for your nails.

Ayurveda treatment plans also include meditation and exercise as stress both physical and emotional can trigger Psoriasis. Practicing yoga is one effective way to reduce stress. Research has shown that yoga reduces the body’s stress response, which in turn reduces inflammation the main cause of psoriasis flare-up.

Remedies for stress caused by psoriasis

Stress can trigger psoriasis — both physical and emotional. Meditation and exercise may help reduce stress-related psoriasis flare-ups. We include both of these activities in Ayurveda treatment plans.

Some herbal remedies may also help to reduce stress. For example, a study of the popular Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha determined that the herb could have anti-stress properties and is a beneficial restorative tonic. We know ashwagandha as Indian ginseng.

Risks and safety considerations

As a medical practice, Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years. However, research supporting or disputing its claims is not widely available.

Most studies on Ayurveda are small and do not employ the type of research methods that support firm conclusions.

Therefore, it is hard to say with much certainty that Ayurveda will help to reduce the incidence of psoriasis flares or their physical effects. However, many people report that Ayurveda has helped them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently classify Ayurvedic products as dietary supplements. This means they do not have to go through the same rigorous safety and effectiveness testing as many other medications.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advise that some Ayurvedic products contain unsafe levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic that can be toxic.

Consumers should take care when using Ayurvedic products, even if the manufacturers mark them as “all-natural.” People should not use Ayurvedic products as a substitute for other medical treatments unless they have discussed this with their doctor.


1.Management of psoriasis -ayurveda and allopathy-A review

Nikitha Abraham, Neethu Krishnan* and Anjana Raj

2.How can Ayurveda treat psoriasis? Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — Written by Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA on June 24, 2019

3.Can I Use Ayurvedic Treatment for My Psoriasis? Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — Written by Annette McDermott — Updated on December 7, 2018

4.Does Ayurvedic Treatment Work for Psoriasis?

By Camille Noe Pagán

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on May 11, 2020

5.Ayurvedic treatment for Psoriasis: Can Panchakarma therapy really help? Written by Longjam Dineshwori | Updated : August 7, 2020 9:12 AM IST

6.Neem Oil for Psoriasis, a Natural Remedy

by Peter Radtke | Oct 21, 2014

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