Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which your skin cells grow and shed much faster than normal. The accelerated process makes the skin inflamed, unsightly and uncomfortable. Psoriasis is treated by a number of conventional means, including steroid drugs, light therapy and oral medications designed to clear skin symptoms and prevent your immune system from attacking your body further. Honey can be a natural treatment option when applied to the skin topically.
Healing Characteristics of Honey
Honey can be an alternative form of sweetener, but the viscous fluid is a natural healing agent as well. According to Dermnet, an information portal maintained by the New Zealand Dermatology Society, honey has antibacterial properties and contributes to accelerated rates of wound healing. Honey that's applied to wounds combines with the wound fluids, such as the skin lesions or pustules associated with psoriasis are called exudates, and creates hydrogen peroxide. This chemical reaction prevents the growth of bacteria and accelerates healing.
The Symptoms of Psoriasis
There are a lot of different types of psoriasis; plaque psoriasis is the most common variety. The constant symptom in all forms of psoriasis is reddening of the skin and the appearance of lesions. A person with plaque psoriasis has skin that becomes thickened, swollen or shiny where it is affected, and lesions may develop scales that flake off. Your skin may itch or painful, and blister-like wounds may ooze liquids. Honey can help lessen inflammation of the skin.
Recipe for a Topical Treatment
A combination of natural ingredients including honey can reduce inflammation and other symptoms of psoriasis. Although there are no marketed honey-based products specifically listed or approved by the FDA for psoriasis, home remedy enthusiasts and natural health can create their own soothing skin balm to calm irritated skin. The combination of cold-pressed olive oil, beeswax and raw honey with lotion-like consistency may be able to reproduce the results.
Studies on the effects of topical treatment with honey for psoriasis, sufferers were given a honey, beeswax ointment, and olive oil for use on half of their body, while in the other half, a control substance made mostly of paraffin has been used. More than 60% of patients with psoriasis studied showed a significant improvement in their conditions; factors such as itching, scaling and thickening of the skin, redness and oozing of the lesions were evaluated. Some participants were already treating their cutaneous symptoms with steroids; about half of the patients with psoriasis were able to decrease their steroid dose after using the honey-based treatment.
Natural and alternative treatments for psoriasis may be an option for some people including topical applications containing honey, but like any medical treatment, the effectiveness varies from person to person. The National Psoriasis Foundation recognizes a variety of complementary approaches that could include the use of honey and other natural ingredients as treatment methods, including traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurvedic medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy. Discuss all your supplements, medications, and treatment decisions with your doctor.