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Garlic for Psoriasis

by
author image Kimberly Riggins
Kimberly Riggins has been writing in the health and wellness industry for over 15 years. Certified as a personal trainer at age 17, she also holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology, a Master of Science in holistic nutrition and certification as a holistic health counselor. Her background includes weight training, yoga, nutrition, weight management, body image issues and eating disorders.

Psoriasis is a skin condition marked by scaly, itchy rashes that affect more than 2 percent of the world's population, reports the National Psoriasis Foundation. This noncontagious skin issue is influenced by both genetics and environmental factors. Traditional treatment usually consists of topical corticosteroids and retinoids, biologic drugs and phototherapy; however, there are alternative remedies that can ease psoriasis symptoms right in your own kitchen. These remedies include garlic. Discuss trying garlic and other natural remedies with your dermatologist.

Identification

Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes irritating thick, raised, red, dry, silver-white patches or dots on the epidermis. These patches are usually found on the elbows, knees and trunk, but they can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp. This type is known as plaque psoriasis and is by far the most common form. The four other types of psoriasis include erythrodermic, characterized by large painful and irritated areas of skin redness; inverse, a psoriasis found in the groin, armpits and in between overlapping skin; gluttate, small, pinkish-red spots that show up all over the skin; and pustular, which involves white blisters that are surrounded by red, itchy irritated skin. All forms of psoriasis may also be accompanied by joint pain and aching, severe dandruff, and nail changes that include nail thickening, dents and yellow-brown spots.

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Causes of Psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when new skin cells reproduce too quickly, not giving the old skin cells time to shed. This causes a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface. This process usually affects individuals who have a weakened immune system, especially those who suffer from autoimmune disorders, are undergoing chemotherapy, or have AIDS. Psoriasis also appears to be an inherited skin condition. Regardless of why psoriasis happens, environmental factors can play a part in the appearance of psoriasis and exacerbate its severity. Psoriasis can be triggered or made worse by stress, bacterial or viral infections, injury to the skin, not enough sunlight, sunburn, too much alcohol, certain medications including lithium, beta-blockers and antimalarial drugs, and dry air from the cold weather.

Garlic For Psoriasis

There are many treatments for psoriasis but some remedies you may find in your kitchen. Garlic, with its anti-inflammatory properties, can be used to help prevent or relieve psoriasis. Garlic may inhibit lipoxygenase, an enzyme that combines with arachidonic acid and causes inflammation. Since psoriasis sufferers have high levels of arachidonic acid in their skin and fatty tissues, eating garlic daily may delay an outbreak or stop it from occurring. In fact, in the December 2004 issue of "Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences," researchers from The University of Texas concluded that garlic due to the active compounds it contains, including diallyl sulfide, S-allylmercaptocysteine, and ajoene, can stop the activation of nuclear transcription factor kappa B which has been linked to psoriasis. Therefore, incorporating garlic in your daily diet can prevent psoriasis outbreaks. Garlic is also high in vitamin C and selenium, both imperative to healthy skin.

External Use

One popular application when garlic is used for psoriasis is to apply the garlic oil topically to the rashes. Garlic oil can be found at most health food stores in varying concentrations. If you use the oil, rub it directly into the infected area once or twice per day. If you are using a garlic pearl, you must first pierce the pearl and then squeeze the oil onto the infected area. Although garlic oil and supplements are available without a prescription, you should consult a doctor before using it.

Warning

Garlic is considered generally safe. However, if you are going to use garlic medicinally, you should always consult with a medical professional first. The side effects of too much garlic may include bloating, bad breath, body odor, upset stomach, headaches, and a stinging sensation when used topically. If you are allergic to garlic, you may experience skin lesions, contact dermatitis and asthma. If you are using blood thinners, garlic should not be used frequently because it may increase your risk of bleeding. It is also advised to refrain from using garlic supplements on children under 12 or for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

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