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Turmeric Eases Itchy Psoriasis

Q. My stepdad has had a horrible case of psoriasis for over 10 years. The rash was all over his body, caked on his scalp and itched constantly.

The dermatologist he saw prescribed Dovonex and Capex and clobetasol. He has used these off and on since about 2001, but they provided minimal relief.

Mom found a suggestion in your book (Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy) that turmeric might help psoriasis. We went to the local food coop and picked it up in pill form. Within a week his scalp was halfway clear and now, three weeks later, it is just a tiny bit flaky with no itching.

This has been life changing for him. Nothing ever cleared up his psoriasis like the turmeric has. He had discontinued using Dovonex and wants to drop the Capex and clobetasol next. All of these medications are very expensive, especially in comparison to turmeric.

A. Turmeric is the yellow spice in curry powder. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India for thousands of years.

Basic research suggests a number of reasons why curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, would have a beneficial effect in psoriasis (Biochemical Pharmacology, Aug. 19, 2007). We hope to see a double-blind study of the benefits of curcumin some day.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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