As Ayurveda Melbourne practitioners we know that skin conditions are something that many of us suffer with. The causes are not always known and have been linked to a number of triggers such as stress and genetics. While medicines are commonly prescribed, these often fail to tackle the underlying causes of the complaint and rarely go further than skin deep. Ayurvedic medicine believes that the skin has seven layers. It therefore extends deeper into the body, meaning that an Ayurvedic treatment may be more effective in tackling skin issues such as Lichen Planus. Here we examine the more holistic approaches to dealing with this particular skin condition.
What is Lichen Planus?
Lichen Planus is a type of recurring skin rash that is triggered by the immune system.
It occurs when your body starts to attack your skin or mucous membrane cells for no reason. Although uncomfortable, it’s not usually a serious condition nor is it contagious. The condition can affect anyone although it’s most likely to present itself in those who are middle aged: It’s rare in children and older adults.
What are the symptoms of Lichen Planus?
The condition can manifest itself on skin, genitalia, mucas lining, scalp and nails.
Some common symptoms of the condition include:
-Purplish coloured lesions or bumps
-These may develop and spread over body in the course of several weeks to a few months
-When it affects the muscal lining it may produce symptoms on the mouth. Some symptoms include bluish white spots that may be on the inside of the cheek, on the sides of the tongue or on the gums. These may be painful and cause a burning sensation.
-If the skin is affected then lesions may be itchy and either single or clustered. Skin will be itchy at the site of the rash and lesions may be shiny or scaly in appearance with a sharp border.
What causes Lichen Planus?
Some cases of Lichen Planus heal themselves after a few weeks but if symptoms persists then you may want to consider one of our homeopathic treatments. As Naturopath Melbourne specialists we believe that most health problems can be managed naturally.
The Ayurvedic approach sees this particular skin condition as a variety of the Kushta (Skin disease) that results from an accumulation of toxins in the body, something our Naturopath Melbourne practitioners believe is the basic cause of most disease.
Initially these toxins develop as a response to the environment that we live in, both inwardly and outside our body and our mind. These can include regular exposure to unwholesome food, activities, chemicals. It can also include other toxins may affect proper functioning of digestive fibre.
A build up of toxic Ama
Exposure to these elements results in the production of toxic Ama which accumulates and is transported through the body.
In the case of Lichen Planus we believe that this toxic Ama gets deposited in the skin or the mucous membrane. These toxins then get covered in Kapha, one of the three Doshas or biological energies found in the human body and mind. This means that they are able to resist digestion or excretion. This affects the Vatha, Pitha and Kaptha components of the skin, with Pitha and Kaptha being the primary ones involved in this case
Exposure to the previously mentioned triggers can then result in starting the whole cycle over again. Therefore, a holistic approach to dealing with this can be effective as it aims to tackle the underlying cause of the problem.
The Ayurvedic approach to treating Lichen Planus
According to Ayurveda, the skin has seven layers and so extends itself to the deeper levels of the body. Due to this skin conditions such as Lichen Planus have deep rooted causes. Ayurvedic treatments have to be penetrative, aiming for the purification of the body and overall regeneration.
Common approaches to dealing with Lichen Planus include prescribed medications such as retinoids and antihistamines. However, as Ayurveda Melbourne practitioners we believe that there are plenty of Ayurvedic approaches that you can take in order to treat the condition.
Ayurvedic treatments for Lichen Planus
1.Detoxing the system by Sodhana or Panchakarma: Detoxing the body is an important stage of most Ayurvedic treatments, in order to remove toxins that have accumulated in the body.
After assessing the particulars of the patient’s condition the first treatment may involve prescribing Vamana (medicated vomiting) or Virechana (medicated purgation).
2.Correcting functioning of Agni and preventing further generation of Ama
At this stage the Agni, or the body’s ‘inner fire’, may have been weakened by the detoxifying stage. The next step involves using light to help digest food and help the Agni to recover.
3. Pacifying the symptoms
In order to then pacify and soothe the symptoms gargling (Kabbalah) or washing (dhara) with herbal devotion may be useful. Medicines for external application may also be used in some cases.
4. Rasayana or rejuvenating medicines
The rejuvenation process occurs after the treatment procedures to rejuvenate and restore the body tissues.
At this stage rejuvenating medicines that are specifically useful to the skin are used. These provide strong immunity power to prevent any further vitiation of the three Dosha.
Diet and Lichen Planus
Spices such a Turmeric, Ginger, Cumin, Tulsi, Cardamon and Curry Leaves are all effective at dealing with Lichen Planus.
–Heavy to digest food should be avoided as this can impair the Agni.
-Regular use of sweet, oily and heavy milk products should be avoided as well as consumption of fast foods, refined sugars, fermented and sour foods.
–Reducing stress and aiming for good mental health is important in tackling this condition. Examples include practicing yoga and meditation.
-Good sleep is important in order to ensure normal functioning of digestive fire and immunity to toxins.
Hygiene and Clothing
–It’s important to keep skin dry in warm and humid climates as well as wearing cotton clothing and cotton bed clothes.
Ayurveda believes that certain herbs can also be effective in treating the different conditions of Lichen Planus,
- Predominant Vatha ( dry skin lesions) conditions herbs of Dasamoola, Tuvaraka, Pata, Bala and Ashwagandha may be used.
- In Pitha predominant conditions (with inflammatory changes and burning sensations) herbs such as Brahmi, Mandukaparni, Manjistha and Liquorice are effective.
- In Kapha predominant conditions where itching and white patches are present herbs that may be effective include: Vacha, Triphala, Musta, Bitter Gourd, Patola, Arka, Guluchi, Neem, Aragwadha, Turmeric and Katuki.
If you are suffering from Lichen Planus or any other skin conditions, contact our Ayurveda Melbourne partitioners today. We can provide you with further information on our Ayurvedic treatments and how they might be beneficial for you.