As medicine doesn’t really work, people are searching for natural treatments to treat psoriasis. But are they trully working? Is honey, propolis, bee venom or other natural products a valid solution? And what exactly do they cure? Psoriasis is more than just sore skin!
Let’s take a look at them.
Is honey good for psoriasis?
Yes, it its. There were studies proving that honey succesfully treated oral psoriasis. Just like it treated stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth mucose) and other oral lesions like recurrent herpes labialis, recurrent intraoral herpes, atrophic/erosive oral lichen planus or oral candidiasis.
Honey significantly speeds resolution of the inflammatory and ulcerative oral lesions, lowers the pain reduces the duration of some lesions and increases the number of pain free days (according to EL-HADDAD et al. – see foot notes).
To treat all these oral conditions smear the individual ulcers, boils or aphthae with honey, or just trickle a good spoonful of honey in your mouth and then swirl it around the mouth, in order to reach as many sores as possible. It will become runny, but honey does penetrate the tissues very quickly; and it seems it is precisely when diluted that its curative power is activated. (according to ABDELLAH, F et al. in a 2010 book, “Honey in gastrointestinal disorders” – see foot notes).
As for the other lesions, body works in similar ways. It is recommended to use medical grade honey, in forms of already prepared ointments or creams, or even manuka honey or kanuka honey, with a higher UMF grade (or MGO, depends on the brand.)
If you want to treat yourself at home, remember that not all honey will heal your wounds, especially if the wounds are pretty bad. Here is what you should check on the honey’s label:
Table Grade: 100 – 400 MGO (10 – 20 UMF) – this is for eating!
Antibacterial Grade: 400 – 850 MGO (20 – 35 UMF) – this is for skin therapy!
Superior Antibacterial Grade: 850 MGO and above (35 UMF and above) – this is for very bad wounds.
Here is some manuka honey that I recommend.
The one with superior antibacterial grade is not accessible to the public, which is why it is always best to search for the products they make from this medical grade honey: Medihoney wound dressings, gels, pastes, balms, ointments. There are recognized brands on the market, dedicated to find the best formula to treat any kind of wound: Medihoney, Revamil, Activon, Xtrasorb etc.
Is propolis good for psoriasis?
Yes, it its. Propolis ointment or propolis intake, especially Egyptian propolis – as it was shown by HEGAZI, A et al. in a 2012 article, “Bee venom and propolis as a new treatment modality in patients with psoriasis.”)
It was also used to treat epidermophytosis, skin tuberculosis alopecia; different microbial and chronic eczemas, cutaneous conditions of cold regions, pyoderma and Trichophyton skin inflammation (according to ASAFOVA, N et al. in Physiologically active bee products.)
Recommended application forms: 10-50 % propolis ointments or creams, 10-20 % propolis water tinctures.
Is bee venom good for psoriasis?
Yes, it is. It is also good for other skin conditions like: eczema, dermatitis, furunculosis, baldness, cicatrices. Bee venom is applied in the form of creams and ointments and also in electrophoresis.
YET, all these natural remedies do not heal the core disease,
only the lesions of the skin!
Which is why, some scientists decided to approach this more holistically, and combine more therapeutic methods.
The study made in Russia
Between 2002 and 2009, 101 people were involved in a study conducted by Naylia Khismatullina and Irina Khismatullina at The Api-Spa Resort in Perm, Russia. These people were suffering from psoriasis for 10 to 30 years.
They used beekeeping products and bee stinging, without medical interference, in periods of expected acute symptoms, intended to achieve a long remission with only skin plagues.
Before starting the treatment they took samples of blood and urine and a test of the tolerance to bee venom.
The whole treatment consisted in:
- Apitoxinotherapy on biologicallyactive punctums with considerations of energetic meridians. (Chinese therapy)
- Food products based on beekeeping products, herbal extracts and experimental peloids-based products. From the beekeeping products, they used: pollen, beebread, water-based propolis extract, royal jelly with honey and propolis, wax moth larvae, bee chitosan.
- Music therapy and relaxation
- Special diet – there were restrictions in consuming salt, spices and carbohydrates
- Externat treatment with creams and ointments with propolis, bee venom, pine pitch, bee chitosan, wax and honey.
- Balneotherapy in forma of hydrosulphuric baths, mud applications, physitherapy and honey foam baths with a celandine decoction.
- Pelotherapy (the use of natural clay from the earth for therapeutic purposes).
After the treatment, there were evident improvements, and after 6 months: 83% of the patients showed no aggravation symptoms. The conclusion of the test was that apireflexotherapy combined with beekeeping products, balneotherapy, relaxation and music therapy shows great effectiveness in treating psoriasis, can reduce the use of medications or even substitute them.
Does this mean healing? No, I didn’t think so, either.
So, what else can we do?
Some people say that a physical condition is nothing more than a smoke. We need to find the fire first, and then the smoke will disappear. The fire is associated here with the physiological cause of the disease, thus with the energetic/emotional/mental level of the body. It is that part of us which is spoiled, unbalanced or simply blocked, that triggers the diseases.
The malfunction of the energetic body triggers the malfunction of the material body. Like a car that gets bad quality gas and works very badly. And the energetic body depends on our psychological body.
Acupuncture and other Chinese therapies manage to balance the energetic body. But the way you think, your attitude against the world and yourself, the way you feel inside your own skin will destroy this energetic balance again pretty soon.
Feelings and emotions that trigger psoriasis:
(1) anticipation of rejection,
(2) feelings of being flawed,
(3) sensitivity to the attitudes of society,
(4) guilt and shame
All these 5 “flaws” of ourselves are known to trigger autoimmune diseases, as we are in fact attacking ourselves. We are blaming ourselves for everything, we lack confidence in our own forces, or refrain us from emotional involvement for fear of not being hurt.
Let’s talk about rosacea. If you’ve ever blushed from embarrassment, you know that your skin can reflect what you’re feeling inside. It makes sense, then, that emotional trouble might show up as skin trouble.
Scientists say it’s simply a microbe there. But energetic healers say that if the energetic background would be healthy, a microbe could not live there. (it makes sense, right?) And this energetic background is supplied by our feelings and emotions.
Allopathic medicine has its own ways of trying to heal it. They work for some people. For those that cannot find a comfort in the synthetic pills, there are always natural ways of approaching it. I have described here, the good effects of kanuka honey on rosacea and acne. But no matter how we manage to heal the surface of our body, to heal our skin, as long as the energetic background is blocked or unbalanced, the disease will be out again.
We can always blow away the smoke, yet the fire will make another one soon.
That’s why it is important to find the cause first. To do this, there are lots and lots of possibilities, from talking to a shrink to self analysis, meditation, and, my favorite, regressive hypnotherapy. I think I have already mention it on this site somewhere. It was basically founded by Dolores Canon, a reputed doctor who also gave this method the name “Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique”. The patient is not hypnotized and asked to cackle like a hen. It’s only about inducing a somnambulistic state of trance, through visualization. I do recommend it to anyone.
Read an emblematic book of Dolores Canon, which definitely changed the way I understood life: The Convolute Universe, book three. I think they are at her book 5, but 3 is the one that made my entire way of thinking change, and that’s why I recommend this one. After this book, all the other books were a little like…”ok, I got the point already!”
Coming back to psoriasis and the connection between skin and mind. Everything starts from our birth, since mother has a skin-to-skin contact with the baby. Scientist say today that communication through the skin is central to the development of feelings about the self and the world. (the kiss, the touch of the lips, expresses our love, think of this!)
Psychodermatology, or psychocutaneous medicine
What is this? It’s a new and emerging subspecialty of both psychiatry and dermatology. According to clinical psychologist and psychodermatology expert Dr. Ted A. Grossbart, at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, people who visit clinicians for a skin condition often have a related psychological problem that can affect the way they respond to medical treatment.
(This reminds me of a doctor, friend of mine, who said that from her experience, medicine represents only 40% of the healing process. The other 60% depend on the patient entirely. From the desire to live, attitude, feelings and subconscious programs.)
What does Psychodermatology?
While it doesn’t reject the usual medication: antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and topical medications, it goes deeper than that and searches for the emotional issues also involved, especially when the skin condition resists conventional treatment. Among the methods used, there are also mind-body techniques such as self-hypnosis and relaxation. Biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis-induced relaxation, behavioral techniques, symptom-control imagery training, and antidepressants are important adjuncts to standard therapies for this disease.
The treatment of psychodermatologic diseases intends to reduce pruritus and scratching, improve sleep, and manage psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, anger, social embarrassment, and social withdrawal.
Nonpharmacologic management may include psychotherapy, hypnosis, relaxation training, biofeedback, operant conditioning, cognitive-behavioral therapy, meditation, affirmation, stress management, and guided imagery.
Rick Fried, one of the few U.S. clinicians specializing in psychodermatology, says that the key is to give patients a sense of control over their conditions and their reactions to them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, can help patients manage stress and stop catastrophizing, such as saying they’ll kill themselves if their psoriasis acts up on an important day.
Boston psychologist Ted A. Grossbart, PhD, a private practitioner who specializes in psychodermatology, uses a variety of therapies to help people with skin conditions, including imaging and meditation. Hypnosis can be especially helpful, he says. The key is to help patients focus on an image associated with the desired change, whether it’s warmer, cooler, dryer, moister or less itchy skin, says Grossbart, who is also an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. A patient with eczema, for instance, might zero in on the image of a tropical rainforest to counteract the drying the condition brings.
· To find out more about the methods used please read the article the American Psychological Association published: The link between skin and psychology; How psychologists are helping patients with dermatological problems.
· To know more about the research made in correlating skin with mind, read Psychodermatology: A Guide to Understanding Common Psychocutaneous Disorders.
Are there clinics that practice psychodermatology?
Yes, there are. Mostly in Europe, but the US is moving (slowly, true) into this direction as well. Here are some useful addresses:
European Society for Dermatology and Psychiatry;
Belgium: program for psoriasis patients, or other psychodermatological Belgians;
France: Société francophone de Dermatologie psychosomatique;
UK: Psychodermatology UK Annual Report 2013;
USA: Association of psychobeurocutaneous Medecine of North America
Are there books about Psychodermatology?
Absolutely. But we need to make a difference between the scientific approach and the non-scientific approach (including here all types of natural healers.) The difference in them is shown firstly in the price and number of pages. If you need to buy a book on this subject, please do not spend your money on a 22 pages ebook, telling you it contains “The amazing secret method (or product) that cures psoriasis!”
Here are the books that I recommend, available on Amazon:
1. Clinical Management in Psychodermatology
– published in 2009
– 297 pages
– available on hardcover and paperback
2. Practical Psychodermatology
– published on 2014
– 292 pages
– available on kindle and hardcover
3. Clinical Cases in Psychocutaneous Disease (Clinical Cases in Dermatology)
– published in 2013
– 124 pages
– available on kindle and paperback
4. Psychodermatology: The Psychological Impact of Skin Disorders
– published in 2005
– 170 pages
– available on paperback
References and further readings:
– ABDELLAH, F; ABDERRRAHIM, L (2010) Honey in gastrointestinal disorders, In Boukraa, L (ed.) Honey in Traditional and Modern Medicine, CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group; pp 160-186.
– EL-HADDAD, S; SHAWAF, M (2013) Effect of honey for treatment of some common oral lesions: Follow up of 50 cases. Journal of Dentistry and Oral Hygiene 5: 55-61.
– HEGAZI, A; ABD RABOO, F; SHAABAN, D; SHAABAN, D; KHADER, D (2012) Bee venom and propolis as a new treatment modality in patients with psoriasis. Int.J.Med.Med.Sci. 1: 27-33.
– ASAFOVA, N; ORLOV, B; KOZIN, R (2001) Physiologically active bee products (in Russian). Y.A.Nikolaev Nijnij Novgorod; 360 pp
– Stefan Bogdanov, “Propolis: Composition, Health, Medicine: A Review”; Bee Venom: “Composition, Health, Medicine: A Review”
– Complex treatment for psoriasis by api-reflexotherapy and beekeeping products – KHISMATULLINA Nailya
– Experience with psoriasis in a psychosomatic dermatology clinic.
Psoriasis_on_back.jpg: User:The Wednesday Island (of the English Wikipedia)derivative work: James Heilman, MD (talk) – Psoriasis_on_back.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
One thought on “The truth about psoriasis natural treatments: honey, propolis, bee venom or other natural products.”
I developed guttate psoriasis approximately 5 years ago, after seeing 2 skin specialists with reasonable results. About June last year it flared up into something awful on my legs, arms, hands, buttocks, back and scalp. I gave up my job as it involved contact with the public and off I went to another dermatologist. He just asked a few questions, had a look at the affected areas and immediately arranged for phototherapy treatment at the local hospital. What magic! After 21 sessions which ended on a 2 minute treatment, 95% of lesions disappeared. Now I just use Daivobet cream for body and gel for scalp when it looks like something maybe forming. I shampoo and condition with T-Gel alternating days with goat milk hair products. Needless to say, I am much happier these days.