Turmeric is the yellow spice in curry powder and yellow mustard. It has been used for thousands of years in India both to flavor food and for its medicinal properties. Several years ago we heard from readers that it might be helpful in easing symptoms of psoriasis. There are some preliminary studies suggesting that the active ingredients in turmeric (curcuminoids) may actually alleviate inflammation and speed wound healing. That said, there are potential risks. The following posts from readers offer both pros and cons.
“I have dealt with psoriasis for the past ten years, mostly on the backs and palms of my hands and wrists. When I first experienced the symptoms, I spent several nights covered in lotion and wearing full clothing to bed to keep the lotion in place and off the sheets. Those were most uncomfortable times, to say the least. The condition covered approximately 50 percent of my body.
After I moved to a damper climate, my condition improved somewhat. I also read about the negative effects of hydrogenated oils on the skin and cut back on foods that contain them (i.e., chips, regular margarine, etc). This seemed to help, but I was still getting severe bouts on my hands and wrists every so often. The itching was so intolerable that I always ended up scratching and tearing the skin.
In the last month (six years after cutting back on hydrogenated oils) I heard about taking turmeric and garlic to treat skin conditions. Wow! Within one day of chewing on a half clove of garlic and taking a half a teaspoon of turmeric my psoriasis began to subside dramatically. I don’t know if it is psychological or physical, but it appears to work for me. After three days of taking garlic and turmeric my symptoms are almost completely gone.
I will now try the turmeric on its own to see if these results continue. It is sure a big relief not to have severe bouts of itching and oozing. I am now looking to get back to the life I left behind ten years past. I hope this will help someone else.”–JD, May 26, 2010
“In 2007 I developed psoriasis on about 30 percent of my body along with swollen lymph nodes on about 25 percent of my body. I was headed to the grave at a very young age of 47.
My internist was open-minded when I told him I did not want drugs making my condition worse. Nothing, nothing he did helped.
My psoriasis was painful, with flaky raised patches. He wanted to try steroids and lots of other drugs. I said no and I tried turmeric and bromelain three times a day and in three days all my psoriasis was gone. I was tested to make sure I had psoriasis and it was confirmed before the turmeric and after the turmeric that I had psoriasis.
The doctor was shocked and now this is what he uses first on his patients with psoriasis. I have not had any problems whatsoever with psoriasis again and my lymph nodes are just about normal now. I use turmeric only occasionally, about once or twice a week.
I wish to say that anyone who does not give turmeric a try may be missing out on one of the most incredible ingredients we have on the planet and it is so inexpensive.”–Olivia
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
Not everyone benefits as much as Olivia. Some report that the effects eventually wear off, and other experience side effects. Some people are allergic to turmeric. Anyone taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) should not take turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin since the combination may increase the risk for bleeding. Some folks may also experience an elevation in liver enzymes, so this requires medical monitoring!
“I took turmeric for about four weeks and developed urgency, runny stool, and stomach cramps. I discontinued use and the symptoms ceased within 24 hours. However, I noticed that my psoriasis didn’t itch as much, and the site on my scalp was smaller. It’s so unfortunate that I couldn’t tolerate it.”–Leslie
“I got a terrible ulcer-like reaction to turmeric. As I had received NO BENEFIT from taking it for my psoriasis, I stopped taking it and the side effect disappeared immediately. Lowering the dose did not help. Topical application did not help (and stained my skin bright yellow for weeks!)”–Idevere