Q. My daughter’s psoriasis was quite severe. She had a red rash and scaling on both arms from shoulders to wrists. When I read your column about turmeric helping psoriasis, she started taking this spice in gel capsules.
The rash has cleared almost completely, responding better than to any prescription medicine or salve. Is there any information on long-term effects or tolerance to turmeric? It has made a significant difference in her skin condition and consequently her self esteem.
A. When a reader told us that taking a teaspoon of turmeric each day cleared up his psoriasis, we were intrigued. This spice is an ingredient in curry powder.
We discovered that researchers are looking into the potential health benefits of curcumin, a key component of turmeric. One group found that curcumin inhibits an enzyme called PhK associated with overactive cell growth in psoriasis (Br. J. Dermatol. Nov. 2000).
We don’t know of any long-term studies on whether people develop tolerance to turmeric. Millions of people in South Asia consume it daily for much of their lives. Whether it would be safe and effective for ongoing psoriasis suppression, however, remains to be determined.
Here are some links to other stories and more recent research about turmeric (and its active ingredient curcumin) and psoriasis: