10 Natural Remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis
Some research shows that certain herbs and supplements may have Anti-inflammatory
benefits. But, always talk to your doctor before trying any of these ideas.
By Elizabeth ConnorMedically Reviewed by Judy Mouchawar, MD, MSPH
Last Updated: December 9, 2016
Curcumin, aloe vera, and fish oil supplements may help ease some Psoriatic Arthritis
It’s understandable that people with Psoriatic Arthritis
would want to investigate natural supplements and other remedies to relieve their symptoms. Natural remedies can soothe many ailments. But with a condition that’s as complicated as Psoriatic Arthritis
, finding any natural treatment that’s been well researched is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Remedies that may work on Psoriasis
may be worth trying, but it’s important to note that Psoriatic Arthritis
often needs serious medication, says Shakaib Qureshi, MD, section chief of rheumatology for Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Delaware. “Psoriatic Arthritis
can be a very destructive disease if not diagNose
d properly, early, and treated more aggressively in cases that need more aggressive treatment,” he says.
For those who want to try natural remedies, here are some of the more popular products that may help ease the Pain
of Psoriatic Arthritis
, but remember that they are not cures. Also, it's important to talk to your doctor before you start any new therapy, including "natural" ones, and to ask exactly how much you should use or take.
1. Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, the natural ingredient found in cayenne pepper, eases Arthritis Pain
in some people. It's found in over the counter topical cream products such as Zostrix and Capzasin-P, which often need to be applied three to four times a day. Cayenne pepper has helped people with osteoArthritis
, according to a study published in March 2014 in Progress in Drug Research, but it may have adverse effects on Skin
lesions. “Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after applying,” Dr. Qureshi says.
The boxberry plant goes by several names, including Eastern teaberry and wintergreen. An infusion of this plant has been long-used by Native Americans as an anti-Rheumatic
. Extract from Eastern teaberry leaves showed Anti-inflammatory
effects in a study by Polish researchers published in December 2014 in the journal Molecules. Always apply according to package directions.
3. Oil of Wintergreen
As topical agents, oils of wintergreen, menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor are called counter-irritants because they create a distraction from real Pain
when applied to the Nerve
endings in the Skin
. These are the tingly ingredients in over the counter products like Icy Hot and other soothing balms. In research on animals, Chinese researchers found that oils of wintergreen (methyl salicylate 2) had Anti-inflammatory
effects on rats and reported their findings in March 2015 in International Immunopharmacology. But again, these oils could have a negative reaction on Skin
4. Aloe Vera
This plant gel is often used as burn relief as well as an ingredient in Moisturizer
s and body lotion that can soothe Psoriatic Skin
because of its Anti-inflammatory
properties. It's being studied as a medium to deLiver
prescription NSAIDs, according to a study published in June 2014 in Current Drug Discovery Technologies. Apply after showering and washing your hands. Aloe is available in gel and pill form, but the pills in particular may interact with some Diabetes
and other medications.
5. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty Acid
s, which the body converts into Anti-inflammatory
chemicals. Fish oil is found in coldwater fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, halibut, and cod. Omega-3 fatty Acid
s have a potent Anti-inflammatory
effect on chronic illnesses, including Arthritis
, according to research published in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry.
However, more long-term, controlled studies are needed to say definitively that fish oil reduces Inflammation
and morning stiffness, Qureshi says. Also beware if you're on blood thinners because fish oil can thin your blood as well. The Arthritis
Foundation recommends taking a fish oil supplement that contains at least 30 percent of EPA (eicosapentaenoic Acid
) and DHA (docosahexaenoic Acid
), the two active ingredients.
The active ingredient in the common Indian spice turmeric, curcumin may help relieve Arthritis
symptoms because of its Anti-inflammatory
effects, according to research published in the January-February 2013 issue of BioFactors. Curcumin is available in concentrated supplements. The Food and Drug Administration says 1.5 to 3.0 grams of turmeric a day is safe. However, the National Psoriasis
Foundation suggests working with a naturopathic practitioner to determine the correct dosage for you.
7. Willow Bark
Willow bark reduces Arthritis Pain
in some people, according to a German study published in August 2013 in Phytomedicine: The International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. Its active ingredient, salicin, reduces the production of Pain
-inducing chemicals in your Nerve
s, Qureshi says. Willow bark is available over the counter in tablet form. It's generally safe but may cause Stomach
upset, increased Blood Pressure
, and Skin Rash
Researchers at the NYU School of Medicine found that people with recently diagNose
d Psoriatic Arthritis
had lower gut Bacteria
l diversity than healthy people. Their findings were published in January 2015 in Arthritis
& Rheumatology. Probiotics are friendly Bacteria
that can restore the good-bad Bacteria
balance and are found in foods such as yogurt as well as in supplement form. What's more, a study published in June 2013 in Gut Microbes found that probiotics can have Anti-inflammatory
effects beyond the gut, including for diseases such as Psoriasis
and Psoriatic Arthritis
Known commonly as Indian frankincense, boswellia has been shown to have an Anti-inflammatory
effect on some conditions including Arthritis
, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. In pill form, dosage is 300 to 400 milligrams three times per day, according to the Arthritis
Foundation. Beware: Topical creams with boswellia may irritate Psoriasis
10. Vitamin D
There's a correlation between Psoriasis
and Psoriatic Arthritis
and low vitamin D levels, according to research published in July 2015 in The Journal of Dermatology. There’s no conclusive evidence that vitamin D is helpful for Psoriatic Arthritis
, Qureshi says, but you might want to ask your doctor to test your D levels and discuss whether supplementation can help your symptoms. Good food sources include salmon and fortified foods such as milk.
Cautions on Natural Dietary Supplements
Anyone taking a natural dietary supplement should remember that the field is not regulated the way it is for prescription drugs. The quality, safety, and effectiveness of these products can vary widely and are not monitored by the federal government. They may also cause significant side effects, particularly when supplements are combined or taken in conjunction with prescription medications, or when they're applied to inflamed Skin
. Always check with your doctor before taking dietary supplements or using topical herbal remedies, Qureshi says.
Additional reporting by Beth W. Orenstein.