Homemade Psoriasis Salve

© H.I.Koehler

I went to a skin specialist in Kelowna- she didn't give me much hope except to talk a bit about vitamin D creme. Vitamin D is supposed to be good for skin...not that there is any cure on the horizon for psoriasis. In a nutshell there are a few options:

Ultra violet light treatments- not particularly good in my case because my psoriasis is scattered about but particularly bad on the scalp- I have a nice mane of hair that I don't particularly care to cut off for the sake of treatments that aren't guaranteed to do anything other than irradiate my skin.

Injections- the doctor actually offered to give me injections where it's worst - my knees but I didn't care for the (potential) side effects: thinning of the skin is a possibility. This kind of defeats the purpose of the treatment to my mind. I kneel a lot when I'm gardening- last thing I want is thinning skin on my knees and then get some kind of break and infection.

Then there is oral medication but even the doctor wasn't keen on that- these have potentially toxic side effects and again it's a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

Homemade skin salves

Then finally are the cremes and ointments: vitamin D and cortisone types are another option- I am actually testing a sample (Calcipotriol- which I've just discovered is synthetic!)
on my elbows but really, I've resigned myself to the fact that I will always have this condition (due to an overactive immune system) so cremes the only practical option.

In the past (doctor prescribed) cremes have not been particularly effective but what WAS very useful was nettle wash (stinging nettle). My mother had suggested it and it worked beautifully. At the time I didn't know how to make salves so I used nettle in season and over the course of time discovered a cheap vitamin e creme from the dollar store would do as well as the doctor prescribed creme but then I couldn't find that particular brand in the shops anymore. In Merritt I started to make salves at home- first Calendula ("Pot Marigold") and then nettle (a bit of a chore to obtain).

Calendula- Calendula officinalis
The Calendula salve worked nicely but the nettle was probably twice or 3 times as effective- I had to wait a year before I could make more (I actually shook out the bag my fresh nettle had come in and the seeds that I gathered formed the basis of last years crop in my garden!) I also met a woman who suggested Lanolin creme and I have to say this is probably as good if not better than the vitamin e I had been using.

So, to recap, I will list the order of cremes/products I have found to be effective from worst to best:

Cortisone creams- slow to show results- so slow I can't even attribute any relief of my condition to this kind of product because I would use other things out of desperation which muddies any kind of analysis.

Glaxyl base- by itself pretty much useless but someone suggested it so I tried it. Water soluble...this would be interesting to use as a base for medicinal ingredients because it's not greasy so I will keep it in mind.

Vitamin E cream (clear, thick- brand name) relief from itch but not effective due to it being sticky which isn't practical for knees and elbows.

Vitamin E (lotion- thin, cheapo from dollar store) good relief and actually allowed scaled skin to slough off- but not safe for around eyes. This was not a 'pure' product.

(Vitamin E cream (the lotion) caused damage to the finish of my eye glass frames)

Lanolin cream (generic product from pharmacy- animal based product) very good relief and also allowed for scaled skin to slough off- very cost effective but also not to be trusted near the eyes.

Homemade versions of commercially available products:

Calendula creme: Calendula officinalis is an annual flower commonly grown in gardens. The creme I made using it provided excellent relief from itch and allowed a lot of scaling to slough off but BETTER STILL:

Nettle creme- Urtica dioica is by far the best. Same results as calendula but acts faster. Bonus is the cooked nettles are edible- taste almost the same as cooked spinach and is extremely healthy.

Urtica dioica: common stinging nettle
The only downside at the present time is the carrier fat I'm using which is solid vegetable based oil. Shortening such as Crisco brand- and lard for that matter (rendered pork fat) are extremely cheap and readily available but they are greasy. I will look into something more absorptive in the future but it should be said that where scaling is concerned (which is the big issue with psoriasis) a salve that sits on top of skin is probably as good as one that gets absorbed...I will know more as I experiment further but in the meantime this works well.

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