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Thinking Naturally About Lichen Planus

When I became a dentist in 1998, my grandmother Betty relayed a quick story to me about what her dentist used to recommend for her “patchy, white sores.” She said it worked like a charm whenever they resurfaced over her lifetime.

Well, I was a young buck who had a lot on his mind at the time, and I propmtly forgot about her story for a few years until she came from Florida to visit and get her teeth cleaned.

“Gram, those white patches are back on your gums and cheeks,” I noted. “Are they sore today?”

“Not for long. I’ll just go and juice some carrots when I get back to the house.”

Huh. Carrots? That’s what the dentist recommended? What about steroid creams and other anti-inflammatory medications? So I jumped into the weeds a little more to science out the situation.

Lichen planus is an autoimmune condition where the body hates the presence of certain cells in the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth. Certain foods, beverages, and chemicals can trigger an outbreak of the lesion on the cheeks, lips, and gums. It can sting or burn or swell a bit.

A number of anti-inflammatory therapies have been used with hit-or miss success over the years. But one that my Gram Betty relied on has some merit.

B-carotene is a major player in her carrot juice therapy. It’s a substantial anti-inflammatory in its own right. And research has shown it to be a key to reducing nuclear activity in the epithelial cells shed during the malignant, or shedding phase, of the erosive or atrophic lichen planus lesion. And reducing nuclei is a key to reducing symptoms during a flare-up of the condition.

Lycopene also does quite a bit to reduce the turnover of malignant inflammation. It stimulates anti-inflammatory enzymes to be released in the plasma. And that has reduced symptoms like burning or stinging in the lichen planus outbreak.

I have been putting a remedy to use over the years, but it doesn’t require juicing a hundred carrots a week. It seems to quiet the raging lesions pretty well.

15mg of beta-carotene four times daily, coupled with 40mg of lycopene four times daily has been successful during the acute phase of lichen planus outbreaks. A general maintenance dose of 15mg beta carotene and 40mg of lycopene has worked well for my patients.

http://www.ijdr.in/article.asp?issn=0970-9290;year=2011;volume=22;issue=5;spage=639;epage=643;aulast=Saawarn

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19106475