Best Oral Lichen Planus Home Remedies

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/24/2024

Lichen planus is a frustrating and often painful inflammatory skin disease that can affect various body parts but most commonly develops in the mouth. 

While the exact cause of oral lichen planus remains unclear, there are a variety of natural remedies that can be used to support the immune system and manage common symptoms with minimal to no side effects.

Let’s take a closer look at how lichen planus affects the body and explore natural oral lichen planus home remedies. 

Nurse holding lichen planus sign

What is oral lichen planus?

Lichen planus refers to a group of chronic inflammatory conditions that affects around two percent of the general population. 

It’s a skin disease that can be asymptomatic but most often impacts the skin both externally and internally, resulting in various types of lesions.  

Symptomatic oral lichen planus is the most common type, primarily affecting oral mucous membranes. It’s characterized by white or red patches, open sores, and swollen tissues, which can cause a burning sensation or general pain, especially when eating or during dental hygiene routines.

In addition, there are several other variants of this inflammatory condition: 

  • Cutaneous lichen planus is characterized by red skin bumps or purplish-colored lesions, often with thin white lines known as Wickham’s striae.

  • Nail lichen planus typically affects fingernails or toes and often manifests as longitudinal ridges, pitting, splitting, and discoloration.

  • Atrophic lichen planus is a rare variant that can develop on skin that has previously been affected by lichen planus lesions and appears as white-bluish or brown plaques or macules, which resemble a flat discolored spot.

  • Erosive lichen planus is also known as ulcerative lichen planus and primarily affects the mucous membranes of the mouth or genital area. This form of lichen planus may result in significant discomfort as it causes painful ulcers.

  • Lichen planopilaris impacts the scalp and is characterized by inflammation around the hair follicles that can result in hair loss and scarring. 

Watch this video to discover the best home remedy for lichen planus. 

Lichen Planus: Best Remedy

What causes oral lichen planus?

According to research published by Frontiers in Medicine, lichen planus occurs when immune cells responsible for detecting and responding to foreign invaders mistakenly target the body's own skin and mucosal cells. This misdirected immune response leads to inflammation and lichen planus symptoms. 

While the exact origin of lichen planus is yet to be determined, it’s believed that imbalanced immune responses are triggered by a combination of factors. 

Here are some of the most common triggers associated with oral lichen planus:

  • Psychological stress: The detrimental impact of stress on the immune system can trigger the onset of oral lichen planus flare-ups.

  • Medications: A study published in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology medical journal concluded that certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), have been linked to the development or worsening of oral lichen planus.

  • Viral infection: Research published in Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry highlights a common association between hepatitis C infections and the occurrence of oral lichen planus.

  • Other causal factors: Contact allergens, hepatitis C vaccines, autoimmune diseases, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, infections, and a genetic predisposition to cancer have been linked with an increased risk of lichen planus.

Man checking tongue in a mirror

Signs and symptoms

Oral lichen planus presents with several symptoms that can vary in severity from person to person. 

Here are common oral lichen planus symptoms:

  • Lacy white, web-like patterns inside the cheeks

  • Sore red patches on the tongue 

  • Painful sores and ulcers 

  • Thick, rough patches inside the mouth

How is oral lichen planus diagnosed?

Healthcare providers utilize a combination of clinical evaluations, patient history, biopsies, allergy testing, and blood tests to help diagnose lichen planus.

If you suspect you may be affected by lichen planus, it’s crucial to seek medical care for a thorough evaluation of your health status.

Man with dental problems

Conventional lichen planus treatments 

As there currently is no cure for oral lichen planus, conventional treatment focuses on symptom relief and minimizing inflammation

Here are a few of the common clinical approaches for treating lichen planus:

  • Topical steroids and ointments like corticosteroids aim to control inflammation of the affected areas. While they are effective for treating oral lichen planus, they increase the risk of oral candidiasis and mucosal thinning.

  • Immunosuppressants suppress immune responses that can contribute to symptoms of oral lichen planus. Side effects can include a heightened risk of infections and an increased risk of cancer, especially with prolonged use. 

  • Ultraviolet irradiation (PUVA therapy) is a type of photochemotherapy that involves exposure to a specific wave of ultraviolet light. 

Fresh picked and dried purslane

Oral lichen planus home remedies

Dealing with oral lichen planus can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several natural home remedies you can use to help alleviate the symptoms and support your immune system.

Here are some of the best natural remedies to combat oral lichen planus at home.

1. Purslane

One of the best remedies for lichen planus is the nutrient-dense herb purslane.

Purslane is rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and C, folate, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are critical in maintaining optimal health.

In addition, purslane has impressive immune-modulating properties, which are particularly useful for managing oral lichen planus. 

A review published in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture investigated the use of purslane to treat oral lichen planus and found that 83 percent of patients saw partial to complete clinical improvement after just a few weeks of treatment.

Another study published by BMC Oral Health concluded that purslane is “a magical herb with a plethora of rich nutrients, easy availability, a lack of side effects, and can be a safer alternative drug in oral lichen planus treatment.” 

There are many ways to use purslane at home. The leaves, stems, and flowers of purslane can be consumed on their own or added to recipes. Alternatively, you can take purslane as an extract or supplement or apply it topically as a soothing soap or salve.

Aloe plant and turmeric root

2. Other natural remedies

Although purslane is generally well tolerated, some individuals can be sensitive or allergic to this herb. Luckily, several other natural remedies can help manage lichen planus.

Here are other natural options for oral lichen planus:

  • Coconut oil is a natural antimicrobial, and applying coconut oil to the affected areas can help eliminate potentially harmful bacteria that could cause skin irritation and inflammation. 

  • Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied as an ointment to affected areas or be included in meals.

  • Baking soda rinses can help neutralize acids in the mouth, soothe inflammation, and support the healing of lesions.

  • Aloe vera is a great option to help reduce pain and inflammation as it can be applied directly to the affected area or used as an aloe vera mouthwash.

“While these remedies are considered safe, there is always the possibility of allergic reactions or negative interactions with prescription medications,” explains Dr. Berg. “It's best to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating natural remedies into your routine to minimize the risk of side effects.”  

3. Reduce stress

According to research published in Current Opinion in Psychology, there is a clear connection between psychological stress and dysregulated immune functions.

Here are some of the best ways to manage stress and support your immune system:

  • Get good quality sleep 

  • Regularly engage in physical exercise

  • Maintain optimal vitamin D levels 

  • Consume plenty of magnesium-rich foods

  • Practice deep breathing 

  • Stay hydrated and maintain electrolyte balance

  • Limit caffeine intake

  • Avoid alcohol 

  • Reduce sugar intake 

  • Avoid processed foods

Healthy low-carb keto foods

4. Maintain a healthy diet

The nutrition you provide to your body plays an important role in its ability to heal itself efficiently. 

Maintaining a nutritious low-carb diet such as Healthy Keto®, focused on nutrient-dense non-GMO foods rich in healthy fats, well-sourced proteins, and low-carb vegetables, is a great way to ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to maintain optimal health.

Research published in Nature Medicine found that after just two weeks, participants following a ketogenic diet noticed positive improvements in immune system functions. 

5. Practice good oral hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene to keep mucous membranes healthy is crucial for managing oral lichen planus and preventing a worsening of symptoms. 

This includes regular brushing, ideally with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and using mild, alcohol-free mouthwash to reduce irritation and prevent secondary infections.

6. Avoid irritants

Certain irritants such as tobacco, alcohol, spicy foods, and acidic drinks may irritate and exacerbate lichen planus lesions, and it's best to avoid these whenever possible.

Purslane in a healing tincture

Key takeaways

Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can cause painful lesions in the mouth. 

While reducing stress, a nutritious diet, and practicing good oral hygiene play a crucial role in managing this health issue, the leafy green herb purslane has been found to be one of the best oral lichen planus home remedies.


1. What is the best oral lichen planus home remedy?

Purslane is considered one of the best home treatments for oral lichen planus as it has no serious side effects and several beneficial properties. 

Purslane is high in antioxidants, which help fight inflammation, and contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals needed to promote strong immune defenses. 

2. What aggravates oral lichen planus?

Irritants such as tobacco, alcohol, spicy foods, and acidic beverages can exacerbate oral lichen planus symptoms. 

3. Is baking soda good for oral lichen planus?

Yes, a baking soda rinse can be an effective natural remedy for oral lichen planus as it helps neutralize acids in the mouth and soothe inflammation.

4. How do you stop lichen planus from spreading in your mouth?

By maintaining proper oral hygiene practices and avoiding harsh irritants, lesions can be contained, which prevents oral lichen planus from spreading to other areas of the mouth.

5. Can oral lichen planus be cured?

While there currently is no definitive treatment for oral lichen planus, there are several effective treatments and remedies, including preventative care, supplements, topical treatments, and lifestyle changes.

In addition, purslane, a leafy green weed species, has been found effective in managing oral lichen planus symptoms. 

6. What is the best way to use purslane for oral lichen planus?

The most effective way to use purslane at home is to consume it through food, as an extract, or as a supplement.

7. Can I eat purslane from my yard?

You can consume purslane from your yard if you don’t use weed killers, insecticides, or other harmful chemicals. 

Use extreme caution when foraging for plants. Many plants can be toxic and if you're unsure how to identify the plant, don’t eat it and seek professional guidance. 

8. Who shouldn’t eat purslane?

While purslane side effects are uncommon, there is a risk of allergic reactions in some individuals. 

In addition, people with kidney disorders and those taking blood thinning medications are at an increased risk of side effects and should consult a healthcare provider before taking purslane.  

9. Can dietary changes affect lichen planus?

Diets high in inflammatory foods, such as fried and processed foods and those high in sugar and carbohydrates, can cause nutrient deficiencies, impair the immune system, and potentially worsen lichen planus symptoms.

Opting for a diet focused on nutrient-dense, organic, whole foods rich in anti-inflammatory fats, such as Healthy Keto, is an excellent strategy to support the body’s immune system and promote a healthy body. 








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