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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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