7 Natural Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis

It's not uncommon for people with psoriatic arthritis and other conditions to explore natural treatment options. It's a fact that some people fear potential side effects associated with traditional treatments. Surveys conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that about 36 percent of people in the United States use some form of complementary or alternative treatment.

The optimal treatment for any condition is one that is both effective and safe. Are there natural treatments for psoriatic arthritis that are both effective and safe? In fact, most evidence that supports the use of complementary and alternative treatments, including natural treatments for psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, is anecdotal. As we all know, anecdotal evidence is considered weak compared to what scientific studies can provide. Researchers who focus on alternative treatments must consider safety and effectiveness, as well as potential interactions with existing treatments—and such studies are lacking.

You should always talk to your doctor before adding a natural treatment into your current treatment regimen. Consider consulting a naturopathic physician, too. Naturopathic physicians make use of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes, along with natural treatments, to help manage a disease, promote wellness, and minimize side effects from other treatments. You can find a licensed naturopathic physician at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) or the National Psoriasis Foundation Patient Navigation Center.

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In many cases, alternative or natural treatments are used as adjunctive treatments, meaning they are included in addition to traditional treatment, not instead of. It seems logical that an anti-inflammatory diet may be beneficial for inflammatory types of arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis. It also seems logical to include exercise to keep muscles and joints as healthy and strong as possible, as well as mind-body therapies (yoga, tai chi, meditation, aromatherapy, mindfulness) to reduce stress and lessen pain. Other alternative treatments, including acupressure, acupuncture, and massage, may also be considered to help reduce pain and improve circulation.

There are also herbal remedies for you to consider—but they come with warnings. Before trying an herbal remedy for psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis, you must consult your doctor. Herbal remedies can cause potentially harmful interactions with medications you may already be taking. Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or mood disorders, should not use certain herbal remedies. Your doctor can advise you about potential drug interactions. That said, here are some herbal remedies for your consideration.

Aloe Vera

Gel from the aloe plant may help to lessen the redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. Creams containing 0.5 percent aloe can be applied to skin up to three times a day. Aloe in tablet form is not recommended and may even be dangerous. Aloe contains a mix of components, including anthroquinones, steroids, saponins, mucopolysaccharides, and salicylic acid.


Capsaicin (the ingredient found in chili peppers), when added to topical ointments and creams, may help to reduce pain, inflammation, redness, and scaling associated with psoriasis. When applied to skin, capsaicin blocks nerve endings which transmit pain.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, which is derived from a plant indigenous to Australia, has mostly been used for wound healing and hives. It has not been studied for psoriasis. People using it are warned to be careful because it can cause allergic reactions.


Turmeric is recognized for having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The active ingredient in Turmeric, curcumin, also can alter TNF cytokine expression. It is thought to help reduce psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flares. The FDA states that 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric per day is a safe dose.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Acid cider vinegar may help to relieve scalp itch associated with psoriasis. Readily available at any grocery store, it can be applied to your scalp several times a week. Some users recommend a 1:1 dilution to prevent burning, as well as rinsing to prevent skin irritation.

Dead Sea Salts

Soaking in a warm bath with Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts may help to remove scales and lessen itchiness associated with psoriasis.

Wintergreen or Boxberry

Wintergreen is a plant that is native to the eastern United States. It is said to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Although it has been used topically for psoriasis, there are no scientific investigations regarding its effectiveness. Also, as a salicylate, it can cause systemic effects, especially in people taking oral salicylates as well. Beware of potential toxicity.

The Bottom Line

There is limited scientific study data to support the use of herbal remedies for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. It cannot even be said that it is harmless to try. In fact, there can be adverse side effects and it is important to remember that the FDA does not control what is added to these products. Be careful.

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Article Sources
  • Herbal Remedies for Psoriasis: What Are Our Patients Taking? Steele et al. Dermatology Nursing. 2007;19(5)448-463.
  • Herbal and Natural Remedies. National Psoriasis Foundation.
  • Complementary and Alternative Therapies. National Psoriasis Foundation.