Are you troubled by stubborn psoriasis? Perhaps you’ve tried a plethora of prescriptions and conventional treatments, to no avail.
I’ve suffered for years with persistent plaques. However, in the course of trying alternative remedies, I’ve noticed improvement when I detox my liver and my emotions.
Did you know that reducing the amount of toxins in the liver can bring relief from psoriasis? Have you ever tried milk thistle for psoriasis? Liver health and psoriasis are connected, and this is why it’s so important to take care of our liver when we suffer from this skin condition.
In this post, I’ll explain why I recommend that you cleanse your liver with some specific foods and detoxifying herbs, such as milk thistle, dandelion root and artichoke.
Multiple Causes of psoriasis
Cells in Overdrive
Psoriasis is a chronic disorder characterized by abnormally rapid skin growth. Cellular turnover can accelerate up to 10 times the normal rate! New skin cells develop and push to the surface in four days rather than the typical 30.
However, the body can’t shed the old cells fast enough to keep up with production. Consequently, dead skin cells accumulate, forming patches that are thick, itchy, scaly, and red. These areas are termed “plaques.”
In addition to skin inflammation, joints may feel swollen and stiff. Nails can also be affected, becoming thickened, discolored, pitted, and ridged.
Impaired Immune System
The plaques of psoriasis are just the tip of the iceberg. One underlying cause is an impaired immune system. White blood cells called T-cells become hyperactive, searching for germs and telling skin cells to mass produce. Seeing healthy skin cells as invaders, the T-cells launch an attack against them.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why T-cells malfunction. Since psoriasis tends to run in families, there appears to be a genetic component. Do you have a relative with the disorder? One out of three afflicted individuals does. Approximately 10 percent of the population has predisposing genes. (1)
Psoriasis can be caused by skin injury, such as insect bites, scrapes, cuts, and sunburn. Infections like strep throat and thrush are also implicated. Extreme cold and heat can prompt psoriasis flares by stripping moisture from your skin.
Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking can both cause psoriasis and worsen symptoms. A 2012 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the risk of developing psoriasis is twice as high for smokers than non-smokers. (2)
One explanation for this is that smokers may experience greater stress, which also provokes psoriasis. In addition, nicotine weakens the immune system, and tobacco causes cellular damage. Even exposure to secondhand smoke compromises health.
Alcohol exacerbates symptoms by depleting liver enzymes. It also dilates blood vessels, sending more T-cells into the top layers of skin, exactly where we don’t need them.
According to Registered Dietician Erin Palinski, certain foods can aggravate symptoms of psoriasis. Although scientific proof of this is wanting, some people with psoriasis report that their skin looks and feels better by eliminating:
- red meat
- refined starch and sugar
- saturated and trans fat
- egg yolks
- citrus fruit
- plants in the nightshade family – tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplant
- condiments and spices – cinnamon, curry, ketchup, mayonnaise, paprika, pimiento, vinegar, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce.
Drugs can potentially cause psoriasis by interfering with the body’s immune response. Examples are lithium, beta-blockers, iodides, and antimalarial medications.
Many people with psoriasis report that their first outbreak coincided with a traumatic event. Feeling pressured and tense weakens the immune system, increasing vulnerability to infections and autoimmune disorders.
Stressful situations also release hormones into your bloodstream that deposit toxins in the liver, making the organ sluggish. Symptoms improve with relaxation.
Recommended stress-relievers are:
- adequate sleep
- breathing exercises
- essential oils such as Geranium
- physical exercise
- medical hypnosis
- yoga (3)
Considering all the factors that can trigger symptoms, you can understand why psoriasis is difficult to treat. In addition, methods that were previously effective can stop working over time.
According to Dr. Rebecca Kazin of the Johns Hopkins Cosmetic Center, people are often told to rotate treatments to avoid developing resistance. Many physicians cycle treatments every one to two years.
I’ve found that enhancing liver function reduces my symptoms.
Psoriasis and Liver Health
Your liver works hard to clear your body of toxins. Scientists have learned that an overloaded liver contributes to psoriasis outbreaks.
When the liver is saturated with waste, other organs rally to rid the body of poisons. Along with the lungs and kidneys, the skin takes a leading role.
Impurities exit the body through perspiration and are deposited on the skin. An overworked liver can lead to bacterial overgrowth and infections that spur psoriasis.
Dr. John Pagano, a leading holistic psoriasis researcher, strongly believes that an unhealthy liver plays an active role in psoriasis.
In his book, Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative, he outlines the need to cleanse the entire system—including the liver—of toxins. According to him, this is the first step to start the process of healing psoriasis from within.
Boosting Liver Function
There are four potent actions you can take to reduce liver overload and psoriasis symptoms:
Eat a healthy diet.
Remove the toxins from your diet, such as processed foods, sugar, conventional meat and dairy. Eat real foods!
Consume foods that detox and nourish your liver, such as sprouts, apple cider vinegar, vegetables and probiotic-rich foods.
Your liver needs water to filter impurities from blood. When you don’t drink enough, blood thickens, making it harder to refine.
There are two reliable guidelines that ensure you’re adequately hydrated. One is to drink one ounce of water for every pound of body weight each day.
If your urine is clear or pale yellow, you’re on target with fluid consumption. If your urine is dark, you need to drink more.
When your internal water level is depleted, the kidneys tell your body to retain fluid, causing urine to become darker and more concentrated.
See the hydration chart to give you a visual point of reference.
Drink lemon water
Drinking lemon water is also a great way to detox your liver naturally. Lemon juice helps the liver flush toxins. Credit goes to its citric acid which removes crystals and cholesterol from blood. Hesperidin, a citrus antioxidant and pigment, exerts a protective effect on the liver. The antioxidant D-limonene activates liver enzymes.
Here’s a lemon water recipe:
- 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 2 cups of warm, filtered water
Squeeze the juice of half the lemon into a quart-sized jar. Then chop the lemon half into quarters and add to the jar. Pour in the distilled water, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
Drink warm lemon water upon wakening. Warm versus cold lemon water enables your body to derive the greatest benefit of the enzymatic properties of lemon.
How much lemon water should you drink?
Your body can only metabolize about 12 ounces of lemon water at a time. If you drink too much, the detoxification can become uncomfortable, with symptoms of fatigue, headache, and loose bowel movements. If you weigh under 150 pounds, drink one cup of lemon water upon awakening. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, drink two cups daily. Here are additional important guidelines for drinking this luscious lemon elixir.
Perform a liver detox.
A liver detox is a program that assists your body in removing accumulated toxins and waste, reducing stress on the liver. Detoxification also strengthens your immune system, helping it to work properly.
The 3 best herbs that cleanse and regenerate the liver are:
- Milk thistle
- Dandelion root
Milk Thistle for psoriasis
Why take milk thistle for psoriasis?
Milk thistle is the king of detoxifying herbs. It contains silymarin, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and decelerates cell growth. This herb has been shown to inhibit human T-cell activation, which occurs in psoriasis.
This is why taking milk thistle for psoriasis can be very beneficial.
Milk thistle also prevents toxins from damaging the liver’s filtration system. No specific studies have been done with psoriasis patients.
Look for a supplement containing 70-210 mg of silymarin extract, and take it three times per day. Positive results are typically seen at eight weeks on this regimen. (4) If you decide to take milk thistle for psoriasis, it’s best to consult a qualified practitioner to make sure it’s an appropriate herb for you.
Dandelion Root for psoriasis
People usually tend to take milk thistle for psoriasis as a first choice. But dandelion root is another popular remedy for liver health. It’s a liver tonic that stimulates function and removes toxins, especially those deposited by drugs.
The root also boosts the production of healthy gut flora.
Dandelion can be brewed as tea or taken as a supplement of 2 to 8 grams, three times daily. (5)
Artichoke for psoriasis
Phytonutrients in artichoke protect the liver from damage and aid in the digestion of fats and absorption of vitamins.
Like milk thistle, artichoke contains silymarin. It also normalizes cholesterol and eliminates toxic waste. Artichoke regenerates damaged liver cells.
For the highest phytonutrient content, choose organically grown artichokes with a purple tint.
To prepare the vegetable, steam it for 25 minutes. You can also microwave it, wrapped in plastic, for 8-15 minutes.
Cooking is complete when pulling a leaf yields little resistance. To prevent leaf discoloration, sprinkle with lemon juice.
To eat an artichoke, use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the leaves. You can also eat the heart and stem. After consumption, you’ll notice a lingering sweet taste for up to one hour. This flavor is rendered by cinarin, an antioxidant with detoxifying effects.
You may also feel a warm sensation in your right upper abdomen as evidence of liver stimulation. (6)
Commercial Liver Cleanses containing milk thistle for psoriasis
If you prefer the convenience of a commercial preparation, there are two I recommend:
Both these formulations contain extracts of milk thistle, dandelion root and artichoke. Liver Detox is a 30-day program, and Liver Cleanse is a two-week formula.
You can read reviews and purchase these products at amazon.com.
Before starting a liver cleanse, please consult your doctor first. Also read How to Detox Naturally for Better Health and Skin
Plan for Healing
Here’s a summary of the approach I’ve used. I believe it can help you, too! Adapt it to your lifestyle, and assess for positive results:
1. Protect yourself from skin injury, infection, and weather extremes.
2. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
3. Experiment with eliminating suspect foods.
4. If you take lithium, a beta-blocker, or iodide medication, speak with your doctor about alternatives.
5. Reduce the effects of stress through relaxing activities, hobbies, and obtaining adequate sleep. Other recommended options are breathing exercises, physical exercise, meditation, medical hypnosis, visualization, and yoga.
6. Daily, drink one ounce of water for every pound of body weight.
7. Drink up to two cups of lemon water daily, the amount determined by your weight and detox tolerance.
8. Engage in a liver detox program. Consider trying milk thistle for psoriasis, combined with dandelion root and artichoke.
9. Work on your body emotionally to get rid of toxic emotions. Frustration, resentment, unforgiveness and anger directly affect your liver.
You should give it a try too; you may have surprising results!
Have you ever tried milk thistle for psoriasis or other herbs that promote liver health? Please share your success strategies for treating plaque psoriasis. Your suggestions are most appreciated, below!