Turmeric tonic as a treatment in scalp psoriasis: A randomized placebo-control clinical trial

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Jun;17(3):461-466. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12513. Epub 2018 Apr 1.


Background: Psoriasis is an autoimmune and recurrent chronic inflammatory skin disorder with a strong genetic basis. The characteristic features are hyperproliferation of keratinocytes, leading to redness, thickening, and scaling of the epidermis followed by itching and the appearance of lesions, which in most cases can affect the patients both medically and psychologically. The scalp is one of the most common sites for psoriasis. This condition is predominantly managed with steroids, which are associated with various side effects. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), a spice commonly used throughout the world, has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antineoplastic properties. It has been reported to exhibit inhibitory activity on potassium channels in T cells and plays a key role in psoriasis.

Aim: We were prompted to investigate the turmeric tonic as an immune modulation and anti-inflammatory therapy on scalp psoriasis.

Method: Forty patients with mild-to-moderate scalp psoriasis who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were randomly allocated into two groups. The case group received turmeric tonic twice a day for 9 weeks, whereas the other group received a placebo applied in the same manner. Patients were evaluated at the following points: baseline, weeks 3, 6, and 9. The dermatology life quality index (DLQI) questionnaire and PASI (psoriasis area & severity index) scores, as well as medical photos before, during and after treatment were also evaluated. The probable adverse effects were also recorded and reported.

Results: Compared to the placebo, turmeric tonic significantly reduced the erythema, scaling and induration of lesions (PASI score), and also improved the patients' quality of life (P value < .05).

Conclusions: The clinical effects of turmeric tonic on scalp psoriasis were satisfactory overall. This formulation could be considered as a treatment for scalp psoriasis.

Keywords: Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire; Psoriasis Area & Severity Index (PASI) score; scalp psoriasis; turmeric tonic.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curcuma
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Scalp Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Plant Extracts
  • turmeric extract