Psoriasis is a form of erthroderma desquamativum. Its clinical characteristics include scaly lesion and serious itching. The disease is chronic and can recur
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the disease is considered to be caused by certain internal states characterised as, wind-heat, damp-heat, blood-heat and excessive damp caused by spleen deficiency. These days the most common forms of psoriasis tend to be those identifies as being caused by heat where the symptoms are inflamed dry and itchy skin and feeling of thirst.
In Dr. Michael Munro’s article ‘Hot Blood’ he writes:
Recent USA figures put our normal temperature at 98.9°F (37.1°) in the early morning, going up to 99.9°F (37.5°) and stabilising for the rest of the day.
This is a slight increase compared to what a few years ago was found to be the normal human body temperature of 98.4°F
This change can be seen over a long period of time in the field of TCM where, for example, a thousand years ago records indicated prescriptions of warm herbs whereas now we are using far more cold herbs. This indicates that human body temperature may well tend to be warmer. There are a range of explanations why this might be so.
Firstly, there are environmental problems where high levels of industrialisation have increased atmosphere temperature. Secondly, the advent of central heating and better insulated homes and work places also increases the temperature of our living environment. Thirdly, dietary changes towards high energy ‘hot’ foods such as alcohol and coffee, and smoking also increase our body temperature.
Fourthly, the stress of modern life can generate more heat. All these reasons can combine to create excessive blood heat which ‘streams ‘ the skin and can cause Psoriasis.
Recent climatic changes towards damper conditions and less sunshine may invite fungal infections which can also be a cause of psoriasis.
If the psoriasis is of the heat type we usually use Chinese herbs which are cool in nature and thus clear the blood heat causing toxins. Sometimes, if necessary, we can also combine this with herbs that eradicate fungal infection. The herbs often have a bitter taste but have a better result, typically an improvement in the patient’s condition after one or two weeks, irrespective of the severity of the presenting complaint. Another important element of the treatment is diet. The patient should avoid eating chilli, curry, lamb, cheese, chocolate and also refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking. However, patients should ensure a high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables which are cool in nature, for example, cucumber, apple, banana and water melon