Turmeric has been widely used as an herbal remedy for centuries, and it is reputed to be an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making it no surprise that many have turned to turmeric for psoriasis relief. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the spice might be effective in treating the skin condition, and many people rely on turmeric for treating psoriasis. Accounts vary, though, and it remains unclear what actual effect, if any, turmeric has on medical conditions such as psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a skin condition in which an autoimmune response is activated mistakenly. Symptoms can include red blotches, inflammation, scaling and silvery skin lesions. Joints can be affected by psoriasis as well, and pain and inflammation are common symptoms. When psoriasis is present in the joint, arthritis is a likely result.
The causes of psoriasis are not fully understood. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease and does not appear to be an allergic reaction or the result of an infection. No link to environmental or dietary factors has been conclusively proven. Heredity does appear to be a factor, and sufferers are likely to share the condition with other family members, but the disease is not necessarily passed down from parent to offspring.
There is a large body of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of turmeric for psoriasis. Advocates of using turmeric for psoriasis suggest that the spice’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, and complimentary medicine experts are quick to point to anecdotes and personal accounts of its effectiveness. Some people find no benefit, but many report relief from symptoms, and some claim that the symptoms have disappeared entirely.
Despite these accounts, researchers have not found turmeric to be an effective treatment. A study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine tested the effectiveness of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, as a treatment for psoriasis. The study found curcurmin to be no more effective than a placebo. No valid scientific hypothesis has been put forward to explain how using turmeric for psoriasis would produce any medical benefit.
Scientists point out that anecdotal evidence and personal accounts fail to take into account other relevant factors, such as diet or environmental contributors, or even the nature of the disease itself. For instance, psoriasis is known to flare up and recede without any treatment. Accounts of using turmeric for psoriasis suggest that results might sometimes take weeks, so it is possible that turmeric is credited with easing symptoms that actually faded naturally.