Turmeric, a spice in curry, clears psoriasis

People's Pharmacy

Health & Fitness

August 24, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

A few months ago, you wrote about turmeric being used for boils and also being studied for treating arthritis and cancer. This bit of information has changed my life.

I've suffered with psoriasis on nearly half of my body for 25 years. I've seen many physicians and tried every medication and ultraviolet treatment. The cost has been enormous, matched only by the disappointment with the failures.

When I read that turmeric might have anti-inflammatory action, I wondered if it might help me. I immediately bought some and sprinkled a rounded teaspoonful on my cereal.

I continued the regimen daily, and the results are unbelievable! After 10 days, the awful itching and bleeding had ceased. My scalp, which had been heavily flaked and itchy, was returning to normal. The skin problems on my legs and thighs cleared up after eight weeks.

Now, five months later, I have no psoriasis, just a few reddened areas where it was bad. I am grateful to you for the information that made a huge difference for me.

Turmeric, a spice in curry, is popular in India. In this country, yellow mustard often contains some turmeric.

We can't explain why this herbal medicine helped your psoriasis. Curcumin, the active ingredient, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are studying this compound in conditions as diverse as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis and certain cancers.

My physician recently told me to try Vicks for my toenail fungus instead of Sporanox, with its side effects. Is this for real? Is Vicks good for anything else?

The official uses for Vicks VapoRub include rubbing it on the chest for coughs and congestion and applying it to sore muscles for aches and pains. Readers of this column, however, have suggested many unofficial uses, including healing paper cuts, soothing mosquito bites and fighting nail fungus. None has been scientifically studied.

Testimonials suggest that applying Vicks on and around the affected nails twice daily is best. It can take months for toenails to grow out, so be patient. This remedy does not work for everyone.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them from their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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