The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Eating Cilantro Banish Psoriasis Plaques?

One reader reports his ten years of success controlling psoriasis by eating bunches of cilantro.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which skin cells turn over much faster than normal, forming reddish itchy plaques on the skin, often covered with silvery scales. There is no cure, although there are treatments to control the condition, which can be psychologically debilitating as well as physically uncomfortable.

There are a number of immune-system modulating drugs for severe cases, but many people with milder psoriasis have shared remedies that help them control the condition more easily, inexpensively and with less risk of side effects. Some of these remedies, such as glycerin, are applied to the skin.

Food Remedies for Psoriasis:

Others are ingested. We have heard from people who eat salsa or other spicy foods to keep their plaques from troubling them. Quite a few readers have reported that taking turmeric as a spice in curry or in capsule form helps their skin condition. Green tea may also be beneficial. Perhaps one of the most unusual psoriasis remedies that we have heard about is cilantro.

Cilantro as a Remedy:

Q. I wrote to you about my luck with cilantro for psoriasis over two years ago. It makes me feel good to read on your website that others have had good results from this treatment.

I have been using this as needed for more than ten years. When I first notice small red patches, usually on my legs, I get two bunches of cilantro leaves and eat them over the next three days or so. The red spots go away.

After the patches clear up, I stop eating cilantro and see how long it takes for my symptoms to return. It might take months. If or when they come back, a few doses of cilantro take care of it.

This Remedy Provokes Strong Opinions:

A. We have been fascinated with your report since we first received it. Although we could find no scientific studies of cilantro as a treatment for psoriasis, a number of other readers have tried your approach.

Not everyone appreciates the unique taste of cilantro, however. Some people are genetically programmed to experience the taste of this herb as soapy or unpleasant.

A few people have tried capsules of dried cilantro leaves, but one person reported the capsules did not work as well as eating the leaves. His psoriasis plaques started coming back when he quit eating the herb.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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As for eating the cilantro, I put the 2 bunches in a bender with some orange juice and a banana to make a smoothie. This reduced the “flavor” of the cilantro.

I have a question about cilantro–what do people do to make the taste edible? I brought some home for my son who has had plaque psoriasis for more than 40 years since 9 years of age. We have tried many things and potions and medicines as well as light therapy. Nada.
He cannot stand the taste. What can we do?

To add, when I had psoriasis on my scalp, I mixed turmeric with olive oil to make a paste and applied it to the area on my scalp. It was gone after a mere couple of days. I was stunned as I had the psoriasis for a year or so. Be sure to cover it, though as it stains your clothes or sheets.

I find that aloe, right off the plant, helps calm my irritation. I have not consistently drank aloe, to see if it would help systemically, but it takes good. Some brands, are mixed up, so it’s smooth, others have the aloe floating throughout the suspension.

I would like to see other remarks on the above statements

I saw a similar email about cilantro on your site about a year ago. I discovered cilantro essential oil to be effective for a short period of time. I have had severe pustular psoriasis for 36 years. Done all the biologics, methotrexate, cyclorsporin (SP?), and all kinds of other therapies, including light therapy. I started taking cilantro essential oil. My psoriasis is clearer than it has been in 36 years. I highly recommend it.

I get good results for my psoriasis problem from a simple hand cream: Gold Bond Ultimate with aloe. Daily application seems to keep it under control.

I suspect the reason cilantro works for psoriasis is due to its high zinc content. At age 55, I had the first outbreak of psoriasis in my life – after taking a copper supplement and going on a diet high in copper rich spinach. After months of trying multiple remedies to resolve the psoriasis, I researched the topic in several peer-reviewed journal articles. I soon realized that copper and zinc are in a delicate balance and that I had unwittingly altered that balance. I began taking a zinc supplement along with Vitamins A and D to enhance the absorption of the zinc, and within a week all signs of the psoriasis were gone and have not returned.

I am not surprised. All members of the parsley family have high levels of vitamin A.
Most kinds of vitamin A will benefit all kinds of skin conditions.

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