Ayurveda and Eczema
By Dr. Sajimon George BAMS. AAA. ATMS
Eczema is a common skin disease globally. Exact cause is unknown. But over reaction of immune system to irritants is considered to cause the symptoms. It is defined as a superficial inflammatory skin disease presented with redness, itching, and may be with papules and vesicles. Common type is atopic eczema. Prevalence is around 10% in infants and 3% in adult population. Hereditary and environmental factors play a key role in the cause of the disease. Pesticides and preservatives of the food, incompatible food combinations, environmental pollution causes failure of body mechanism of detoxification. Toxins thus accumulated in the system express itself as eczema. Stress is not a cause, but still an aggravating factor. If any family member has a history of allergies or asthma then there is an increased chance for eczema. Severe itching and scratching with nail etc can cause injury and can result in bacterial infection. Vicharchika explained by Ayurveda is a comparable clinical condition to eczema.
- Hereditary factors
- Very cold and hot environments
- Soap and detergent
- Upper respiratory tract infections
Signs and symptoms
- In infants (below 2 years) – Extreme itching and rashes on scalp and cheeks
- In children (from 2 years to puberty) – Rashes behind creases of elbow or knees, neck, wrist and ankles. Rashes may become lighten or darken in color and it may become thickened.
- In adults – Rashes appear in the creases of elbows, knees. Skin becomes permanently itchy, scaly and dry.
Unhealthy diet and lifestyle causes vitiation of digestive fire leading to the production of partially digested food gaining toxic nature or Ama. Ama or toxins cause the disease .Due to the respective factors, all three humors Vatha ,Pitha and Kapha are vitiated and cause pathological changes of tissues (dhatu) such as Twak (skin), Mamsa (flesh), Raktha (Blood ) and water principle of the body. Thus in Vicharchika , Kandu (itching) the symptom of Kapha vitiation, Pidaka (pustules, vesicles and papules) the symptom of Pitha vitiation and Shyavata (erythema with discoloration) the symptom of Vatha vitiation are present. If the disease is not treated early, it will affect deeper dhatus or tissues.
- Lack or decreased sweating
- Rough skin
- Discoloration and itching
- Signs and Symptoms
- Blackish discoloration
Signs and Symptoms
- Blackish discoloration
Since this is a chronic disease, detoxification procedures are required to remove the root cause. Thus oral medicines for detoxification or purification are necessary in the beginning. In the next stage medicines for external application are used. In the final stage of the ayurvedic treatment for eczema, Rasayanas or rejuvenatives will be given to nourish the skin.
- After analyzing Dosha predominance, medicated ghee or sesame oil is administered orally. This is done for continuous seven days.
- Mild sweating is done three days after oleation or snehana procedure. Since this is a chronic skin disease, Ayurvedic classics insists that only mild sweating should be applied in this condition.
- If the patient present Kapha predominant symptoms such as cold, swelling, oozing and itching, Vamana or medicated vomiting is useful.
- Mridu virechana
- In general mridu virechana or medicated laxatives are given. This procedure is specifically useful in Pitha predominant conditions, where burning sensation, fever; irritability, puss formation etc are predominant.
- Raktha sodhana (Bloodletting) and Blood purification
- If signs and symptoms are not relieved by the above procedures the bloodletting by leeches or other tools and techniques are used.
- Rasayana for revitalization of skin
- After attaining detoxification of the system skin which is damaged by this chronic disease deserve revitalization. Classically mentioned rasayana or nourishing drugs are employed here.
All external medications for ayurvedic treatment for eczema are applied only after proper detoxification procedures and relief of the signs and symptoms by internal medicines.
Lepa (Herbal Paste)
- Paste made of herbal powder suitable for the patient is applied over affected area.Parisheka ( Cleaning with herbal decoction)
- Here suitable herbal decoctions are poured continuously for specified time.
- Udvarthana ( Rubbing with herbal powder)
- In the case of rough and thick skin (lichenified) rubbing with suitable herbal powder is effective.
- Avagaha ( Dipping in herbal decoction)
- Sitting in big vessel filled with herbal decoction for specified time is useful where big areas of body are affected.
- Dhupana (Medicated fumigation)
- Fumigation with suitable herbs is useful in Vatha and Kapha predominant conditions.
Dos and Don’ts
- Warm bath
- Moisturizer, mild soap
- Cotton fabrics
- Easily digestible food
- Bitter vegetables
- Green gram
- Tight fitting clothes
- Heavy to digest food
- Dairy products
- Sour food
- Black gram
- Spicy and fried food
- Excess salt intake
- Pickles, Curd, Egg & Nuts
Patola (Tricosanthes dioica) , Guloochi ( Tinospora cordifolia) , Katurohini (Picrorrhiza kurrora) , Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) , Neem (Azadiracta indica) , Chandana (Santalum alba) , Khadira (Acacia catachu) , Sariba (Hemidesmus indica) , Vasaka (Adathoda vasica) , Haridra (Curcuma longa) , Bakuchi (Psoralea corylifolia) , Mustha (Cyperus rotundus) are the some of the useful herbs that may be useful during ayurvedic treatment for eczema.
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