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Monday
Mar072011

Psoriasis and Chinese Medicine

<the beginning of a rough draft on the treatment of various forms of psoriasis with Chinese medicine. Please check back often as this article will be enlarged regularly>

 Image courtesy of flickr from: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1016/1133597255_bd427077b5.jpg 

 

Psoriasis is a chronic dermatological issue which presents as a thick white, silver or red patches of skin, often with dramatic flaking. It is the result of inappropriately rapidly growing skin cells which form plaques. These plaques may occur anywhere on the body, but tend to congregate on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet or lower back. The disorder usually spares the face itself, though we do occasionally see facial psoriasis in the clinic.

The intensity of psoriasis is highly variable, ranging from small, isolated patches, to dramatic full body involvement. There are forms of psoriasis, called psoriatic arthritis, which cause the joints to become involved. This may also cause finger and toenails to alter their color and texture, frequently separating from the nailbed.

While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, from a Western medical perspective it is thought to result from an immune system overreaction which triggers localized inflammation. Few dermatologists would hesitate to acknowledge that the state of their knowledge on psoriasis is far from complete. What is known is that the disorder can run in families, may be triggered by stress, climate, pharmaceutical use, or foods and that smoking is often an aggravating factor. 

Happily Chinese medicine can be exceptionally useful in treating this set of disorders.

Types of psoriasis commonly seen in our clinic:

  • Patch/Plaque Psoriasis
  • Scalp Psoriasis 
  • Psoriasis of the Scalp
  • Pompholyx Psoriasis
  • Pustular Psoriasis
  • Psoriatic Psoriasis

Results depend a great deal upon the intensity of the psoriasis, the amount of the body affected and the duration of the problem. People usually begin to see some results within 4-6 weeks of beginning therapy. This improvement will usually continue until we have achieved the return of normal skin. 

 

Research/Articles:

Successful Treatment of Psoriasis by Chinese Medicine, Arch Dermatol. 2008 Nov;144(11):1457-64.

Clinical assessment of patients with recalcitrant, plaque type psoriasis in a randomized trial, using a Chinese herbal formula. 

Results: Significant reductions in the sum of scaling, erythema, and induration scores (P < .001) (mean score, 6.3 after Qing Dai  treatment vs 12.8 in control subjects) and plaque area percentage (P 
< .001) (mean percentage, 38.5% after Qing Dai  treatment vs 90% in controls) were achieved with topical application of Qing Dai  ointment. Approximately 31 of 42 patients (74%) experienced clearance or near clearance of their psoriasis in the Qing Dai ointment-treated lesion.

Conclusion: The Chinese herbal formula was a safe, and effective therapy for plaque-type psoriasis.

 

Acupuncture Treatment for Psoriasis: a Retrospective Case ReportAcupunct Electrother Res. 1992 Jul-Sep;17(3):195-208.

We treated 61 cases of psoriasis with acupuncture, including 25 patients with complications of joint involvement and two cases with scleroderma additionally. All of the patients had failed to respond to their prior conventional western medical management. 25 patients were males and 36 were females. Their ages ranged from 22 to 84 years, with an average of about 52 years. There was no significant difference of the average ages between the sexes. Most of them (about 61%) had quite extensive involvement of the body. The average of duration of their illness was over 16 years, ranging from two to 65 years. They received an average of about nine sessions of acupuncture treatment, ranging from one to 15. Almost one third (19) of them had eleven to thirteen sessions. With the acupuncture treatment, about one-half (30) of the 61 patients had complete or almost complete clearance of the skin lesions. About a quarter (14 patients) of them had a clearance of about two thirds of the skin lesions. Eight of them had a clearance of one third of the skin lesions. Nine patients had minimal or no improvement. Our experience indicates that acupuncture is induced an effective therapeutic modality for psoriasis, particularly when the western medical management is unsuccessful. We speculated about the possible involvement of the cutaneous reticuloendothelial system in the clearance of the skin lesions.

 

 

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