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VITILIGO & NATURAL REMEDIES – WHAT MY RESEARCH HAS TAUGHT ME

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Vitiligo & Natural Remedies – What my research has taught me

 Posted on 9th January 2023  4 minute read

Throughout my career as a wellness coach I have taken a special interest in holistic beauty, diet and fitness.  Whilst it can be easy to discredit natural or alternative remedies to common conditions, having researched into this area over a number of years I have come across increasing bodies of science that support the use of such methods in managing skin conditions – including vitiligo.

That being said, there is a lot of misleading information online which can lead to being misinformed, and confused decision making when it comes to managing or treating our skin.  So I am sharing my experience in the hope that it may help inspire others to learn more about holistic treatment options.

I believe that understanding how vitiligo works, and why a natural treatment may or may not work, is crucial to deciding your course of treatment. That’s true whether the treatment is based in holistic, traditional medical practice or a combination of the both. Any treatment you undertake should always be done with supervision of a GP or dermatologist. I hope this article will help inspire you to incorporate holistic treatment methods into your discussions with your medical practitioner.

Let’s begin with oregano

When first diagnosed with vitiligo, your skin may already be impacted by the complications associated with the condition. I have found that a common side-effect of vitiligo is skin damage resulting from overexposure to the sun. This can, in turn, lead to sores, rashes, infections and a general weakness in the affected area.

My research suggested that one of the most commonly prescribed natural remedies for vitiligo is oregano. From what I have read there seems to be a long-standing view that oregano can help to tend to vitiligo.  A recent review of medical literature, published in the MDPI Antibiotics open-source journal, highlights a number of promising scientific studies that have underlined that benefit.

I also came across information that suggested that oregano is a natural antibacterial agent due to it containing phytonutrients, which are natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and legumes. According to Reader’s Digest, a common application of oregano for vitiligo involves mixing it with coconut oil. This, when applied to the affected areas, may help to fight bacteria and ensure that the skin can repair itself.

However, it’s important to dispel the myth that this will somehow clear vitiligo entirely or create a cure. Vitiligo is not an infectious condition.

What I found out about diet and vitiligo

I have found research that you can change how vitiligo progresses through developing, and maintaining, a healthy diet. As American health website Very Well Health highlights, the vitiligo diet – which is based on high nutrient density and low inflammation foods which can help the body’s immune response. It may be that vitiligo is caused by the immune systems’ stress response to melanin-producing cells, and as a result, shoring up natural defences may aid in mitigating the condition.

I have not found research to suggest that vitamin intake can mitigate the condition entirely. As previously mentioned, there is no cure of vitiligo. Furthermore, it seems excessive consumption of any one vitamin can be dangerous. Vitamin E is often proposed as a helpful vitamin in managing vitiligo, but, as WebMD highlights, overconsumption can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and the risk of diarrhoea. This is to be avoided especially given the noted impact stress has on vitiligo – putting the body through greater strain could cause longer-term harm.

What seems crucial is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Ginkgo Biloba & Papaya

One study I found, published on the NCBI, highlights the use of Ginkgo Biloba in helping to restore pigmentation. There does seem to be a scientific basis for this, and some people have seen improvements. However, I could not find any research to suggest that results were uniform for all patients. AS a result, I would suggest that you cannot definitively rely on Ginkgo to reduce the appearance of patches. It certainly seems the case that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

Another common technique I came across whilst looking at Ginkgo Biloba involves rubbing papaya over affected skin, a classic Ayurvedic treatment. However I could not find any specific research around this as an effective treatment either.

In conclusion

I would advise that you treat alternative therapies with care. It seems they can produce wonderful results, but they can also show no change in the skin. My reading suggests that everyone responds very differently to treatment and natural remedies, and some people show no results at all.

Like many other conditions, vitiligo requires careful treatment and diligence to manage properly. Finding what works for you will come from a concerted effort and a deep understanding of your own body and its limitations. By all means, bring in holistic and complementary therapies – but just always remember that you need to understand how they work to make them work for you. Conducting your own research is key and talking to your dermatologist is critical.

About the Author

Jane Sandwood

Jane is a freelance writer who spent several years working in healthcare before deciding on a career change when she started a family. She enjoys contributing to a range of web-based and paper publications on the topics that matter to her. When she's not writing, Jane can usually be found exploring the great outdoors with her husband, their daughters and their two black Labradors.

Jane is a freelance writer who spent several years working in healthcare before deciding on a career change when she started a family. She enjoys contributing to a range of web-based and paper publications on the topics that matter to her. When she's not writing, Jane can usually be found exploring the great outdoors with her husband, their daughters and their two black Labradors.