ginger-389906_640A recent study, funded in part by the National Psoriasis Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, discovered that a natural molecule known as methoxyluteolin can block a type of immune cell called mast cells from launching an inflammatory response.

Mast cells are the “universal alarm cell” that starts the inflammatory cascade leading to psoriasis, according to Dr. Theoharis Theoharides, a researcher at Tufts University a co-author of the upcoming Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology study.

They can be triggered by infection, allergens, environmental factors like pollution, or even emotional stress. Once that happens, Theoharides explained, mast cells set into motion a series of inflammatory reactions, including the activation of immune cells and the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a pro-inflammatory protein, or cytokine, involved in psoriatic disease.

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