Psoriasis, biblical afflictions and patients' dignity

Avi Shai, Daniel Vardy, Alex Zvulunov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The currently accepted Hebrew word for psoriasis is 'sapachat'. The word 'sapachat' is biblical and its original meaning is unknown. Similar uncertainty applies also to the biblical word 'tzaraat', the currently accepted Hebrew term for leprosy. This article discusses possible explanations of the biblical terms 'sapachat' and 'tzaraat'. The link between 'sapachat' and psoriasis was made only several decades ago. The word 'sapachat' conveys a definite negative connotation, and imposes an emotional burden on psoriatic patients. We therefore recommend preferable use of the word 'psoriasis' and avoid using the offending term 'sapachat'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-482, 496
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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