Psoriasis

According to the National Institute of Health, psoriasis affects more than 3% of the United States population(Wein, 2017). Psoriasis is considered an uncomfortable illness due to what it can do to your skin and joints, not just on the outside of your body but on the inside as well, which is why spreading awareness can be substantial to help others learn. 

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What is Psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is typically associated with the co-existence of  arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis(Laws et al., 2010). Psoriatic arthritis is inflammatory arthritis that can create patches of rash-like skin on your elbows, mouth, toenails, genitals, face, and many other body parts. Psoriasis can be seen as a long chronic disease that has no complete cure(Mayo Clinic, 2022). 

How does it happen?

Psoriatic arthritis is currently thought to be an immune system problem that allows skin cells to grow much faster than usual(Mayo Clinic, 2022). With this unexpected increase in cells called plaque psoriasis, there can be build-ups of scaly skin patches and rashes on several parts of a person's body. This can also lead to joint pain which can be accompanied by early morning stiffness(Laws et al., 2010).

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What are the symptoms?

There are many different types of psoriasis, but I will be talking about the symptoms of the most common ones, with the first being plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis can cause dry, itchy skin patches called plaques(Mayo Clinic, 2022). Another kind of psoriasis is inverse psoriasis which mainly affects any area where the skin folds, such as the genitals and breasts. The third kind of psoriasis I will be mentioning is nail psoriasis which can affect your hands and toes, leading to abnormal growth, discoloration, and in the worse case, the nail could fall off. 

What are the causes of psoriasis in Oriental Medicine?

 

Traditional Chinese medicine says psoriasis is caused by wind, toxins, and heat pathogens that create the scaly red patches on the skin(Goodless, 2022). Psoriasis in China is also referred to as Gan Xian(Dry Lichen) and she shi(snake lice). Traditional Chinese medicine believes that as the disease progresses the blood “dryness” and “stagnation” are believed to be the cause of itching and discomfort(Goodless, 2022).

 

WHAT CAN ORIENTAL MEDICINE DO TO TREAT PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS?

 

Throughout some research I conducted, it seemed that traditional Chinese herbs and acupuncture are the best two modalities to help treat psoriatic arthritis. Some of the main herbs that can aid in the healing process are common madder, indigo naturalis, chinese foxglove herb, and snake needle grass(TCM Shanghai, 2019). Each of these herbs have their own purpose in helping with blood-cooling properties and anti-inflammatory effects. Acupuncture is another great technique to help in the healing process because of its help with your immune system and inflammation problems(TCM Shanghai, 2019). The insertion of acupuncture needles releases natural painkillers in your body such as adenosine, endorphins, and serotonin(Levine, 2022). With psoriatic arthritis causing joint pain and inflammation its no surprise these two Traditional Chinese Medicine methods can be a huge help someone get back on their feet. 

     

 

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References

Dean Goodless, M. D. (2022, April 6). Are Chinese herbs useful in treating psoriasis? Verywell Health. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/chinese-herbs-for-psoriasis-2788381#:~:text=Psoriasis%2C%20known%20as%20bai%20bi,Dagger%20sore%20(White%20crust). 

Laws, P., Barton, A., & Warren, R. B. (2010). Psoriatic arthritis - what the dermatologist needs to know. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 24(11), 1270–1277. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03654.x 

Levine, H. (n.d.). Acupuncture for psoriatic arthritis. WebMD. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/acupuncture-psoriatic-arthritis 

Martin B. R. (2020). Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis With Acupuncture, Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis) and Vitamin D: A Case Report. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 19(3), 194–200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2019.12.005

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, June 4). Psoriasis. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840 

Shanghai, T. C. M. (2019, October 6). Traditional Chinese Medicine for Psoriatic Arthritis - TCM Dubai. TCM Shanghai - Traditional Chinese Medicine Dubai. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.tcmshanghai.ae/traditional-chinese-medicine-for-psoriatic-arthritis/ 

  Wein, H. (Ed.). (2017, July 11). Itchy, scaly skin? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/08/itchy-scaly-skin