Natural dermatology with Chinese herbal medicine

Dermatology is a recognised specialisation in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Each system is similar in their classification of skin diseases as it is based on observation, primarily of the skin lesions. However, treatment methods are quite different.

Take psoriasis, for example, it has been recognised in both Europe and China as a disease entity for at least two thousand years, even the bible mentions it!. Psora is the Greek ‘to itch’. It is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. These patches normally appear on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on the body. 

Western medicine seeks to treat psoriasis based on the severity of the lesions with topical creams such as vitamin D analogues or corticosteroids, light therapy for milder cases or in severe cases potentially immune suppressants such as humira.

Six pathological pillars of psoriasis

Chinese medicine aims to treat psoriasis naturally through using both external and internal herbal preparations and formulas that can be tailored to the individual. It considers psoriasis to be a complex spectrum disease that is made up of six pathological pillars. These are hot blood, toxic-heat, itch/scales, dryness, damp-heat and stasis.  

Each of these aspects can present in a psoriasis patient to varying degrees depending on many factors including general health of the patient, how acute or chronic the psoriasis is, type, spread and placement of lesion, severity and progression.  

For example, if lesions are red and progressing quickly hot blood and toxin are the dominant pillars,  if a lesion presents behind the ear and looks/feels moist then damp heat may be present versus if the lesions have been around a long time and are dryer and thicker then it may be that stasis should be the main focus of treatment. 

There are specific herbs that can be used to tackle each of these pathological pillars and they can be added and subtracted to formulas accordingly.  As the patient and the psoriasis improves the formulas can be modified for new skin phases.

Using bespoke herbal formulas an individual is treated rather than just the condition.