With over 2500 years of documented history, Chinese medicine dermatology is one of the oldest continuously-practiced specialities in the world. In our modern world, Doctors are using these ancient techniques, right alongside western pharmaceutical medicines in hospital setting all over the globe, to treat a wide variety of complicated and stubborn health complaints. While anyone who has the privilege and joy to witness the powerful effects that Chinese medicine can have on a patient, (like watching widespread psoriasis slowly – or rapidly – disappear through the use herbal medicines) will know, it is certainly a nice pat on the back when modern research steps in and confirms that yes, “You know that great work you and so many other doctors are doing with herbal medicine? Well, it seems to actually work”.
Every once in a while I scan the research database at Pubmed, using such search terms as ‘psoriasis + Chinese medicine’, just to see what the scientific world is up to these days. Last night I came across a very nice study entitled ‘Topical Herbal Formulae in the management of Psoriasis: Systemic Review with Meta-Analysis of Clinic Studies and Investigation of the Pharmacological Actions of the Main Herbs’. A mouth-full I know! Basically this is a study that compared various other studies to determine if herbal medicines applied directly to the skin can help psoriasis. Their concluding remarks were as such:
Improvement was evident … when topical herbal formula was compared to placebo. No serious adverse events were reported. Experimental studies reported that these herbs and/or their constituents have anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic, and tissue repair actions. These actions may at least partially explain the apparent benefits of the topical multi-herbal formulations in psoriasis.
Nice hey? Apparent benefits without any adverse effects. Especially good considering that many of the western pharmaceutic medicines used for the topical treatment of psoriasis usually include a steroid of some sort, which is well known to permanently thin the skin, leaving it more fragile and susceptible to future psoriasis flares.
Another interesting point the study raised was that many of these topical herbal mixtures contained the herb Lithospermum erythrorhizon root (Zi Cao), which is a herb I myself use quite often when I treat psoriasis. I use it both in pastes that are applied directly to the skin, and in teas that the patient will drink. When infusing this herb into an oil it creates the most beautiful reddish purple colour. I took a picture of the last batch of herbal infused oil so that you could all see what it looks like. Quite beautiful really, and even more so considering its powerful ability to help eliminate psoriasis!
Oil infused with Lithospermum erythrorhizon root (Zi Cao) – helps alleviate psoriasis
Wishing you all good health,
Dr. Trevor Erikson