Psoriasis is an auto-immune skin disease, were the bodies immune system attack itself. It mainly effect skin, scalp, nails some time even bones and joints. It effect the beauty of an individual. Also the mental status, social behavior are also effected.
There are different types of psoriasis. And there presentation also differ.
Some common symptoms include :
- Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning or soreness
- Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Types of Psoriasis
- Guttate psoriasis
- Scalp psoriasis
- Inverse psoriasis
- Nail psoriasis
- Pustular psoriasis
- Erythrodermic psoriasis
Ayurveda view on Psoriasis
In Ayurveda skin diseases are included under Kushta prakara. It is a broader term with 20 types of kushta. Psoriasis is considered as Eka kushta / sidma kushta.
When modern science consider it a auto immune disease and categorize as incurable. Ayurveda consider, a set of causative factors and have a well defined pathology. By eliminating those causes and resolving the pathology, psoriasis can be treated.
Ayurveda consider reasons as:
Sapta dravyani kushtanam Prakruti: vikruti: apannanaam karanam.
(Charaka samhita. Ni st – kushta nidana)
According to this verses the 7 dhatus are the root cause of manifestation of Kushta. They are 3 dosha ( vata, pitta, kapha) and 4 dhatus ( Twak, mamsa, rakta and lasika). These 7 causative factors spread all over the body and combine in permutations, so as to produce wide verity of presentations and associated symptoms. This makes kushta innumerable.
Here are the cause for vitiation of 7 elements-
- Virudhahara – there are certain food items which should not be taken in combination. Like milk and fish, sour fruits and milk, curd and meat etc. long term intake of these virudhaahara will cause formation and accumulation of ama ( metabolic toxins) in the body and get localized in between the tissues
- Disobeying rules of food – having untimely food. No control over santarpana (excess nourishing) food and apatarpana (Excess deteriorating ) food. Combining hot and cold food etc. Excess intake of foods like fresh grains, curd, fish, salt and sour substances; excess intake of black gram, radish, pastry, sesame seeds, milk, jaggery
- Mental stress
- Climatic change
- Virudha vihara – improper activities like; Physical exercise in excess heat climate or after taking heavy meal, violation of laws of Ayurveda in exposing to heat, cold, fasting and taking food. Intake of cold water immediately after exposing to scorching sun. Intake of uncooked food and food before the previous meal is digested.
- Violation of laws of pañcakarma (5 purification procedures).
- Sexual act in the state of indigestion;
- Performing sinful acts
General line of treatment as per charakaare
Vatottareshu sarpi; vamanam sleshmottareshu kushteshu |
Pittottareshu moksho raktasya virechanam cha agre ||
Charaka samhita , chikitsa stana
If there is predominance of vata dosha in the kushta, we should use ghee (sneha paana, vasti etc)
If there Is kapha predominance we should use vamana to remove the dosha and clean it. If there is pitta vitiation, we should do virechana or raktamokha to clean the body. In all cases, cleansing is the important protocol for skin disease treatment in ayurveda.
Drinking sneha ( fat processed with herbs). Saturating the body with sneha, is a preparation of body for cleansing or detox. This make body more soft and help to eliminate deep seated doshas.
Massaging entire body with oil etc is also a type of bahya sneha. It also is a preparation before cleansing. The oil used will be specially prepared with herbs which can cure skin disease.
Sodhana – cleansing.
It include the following methods. Depending on the rout of cleansing, type of dosha to be cleansed, we select type of sodhana therapy.
Virechana – induced purgation
Here after proper snehana and swedana (preparations) the patient will be given herbal compound which can induce purgation. The dose is fixed depending on dosha intensity, patient strength to withstand, climate etc.
Some compounds – Avipathy choorna, trivrit lehyam etc
Vamana – induced vomiting
Here the medication is given to induce the vomiting. Early morning after cleansing oneself, we will give the drinks that cause excitation of kapha all over the body. After filling half of the stomach he will be given vamana medicine. And again the upaga (drink to help vamana) is given. It takes few minutes to hours to start vomiting. It should be done under the supervision of an expert.
Nasya – inhaling medicated oil/juice/powder
It is one among the panchakarma, mainly used to remove excess kapha/ dushta kapha from head and neck region of body. It can be done in various doses depending on the need. It follows oilation and sweating therapy. After inhaling the patient is advised to spit out the expectorant. Once enough phlegm is removed, patient feels lightness of head and neck, as well as the symptoms.
Rakthamokshana – blood letting therapy
This is one of the surgical therapy in ayurveda. Here small quantity of impure blood is removed from the system. There are different methods of raktamokshanam. Like –
Jalaukavacharanam – leech therapy – mainly used for localized lesions/ for smaller area.
Sira vedhanam – venous section – used for larger area of lesion, were more quantity of blood need to be removed.
Prachaana – making small numerous wounds, this is also used for small/ localized lesions.
Srunga – removing blood using a hollow horn. It also remove more quantity of blood.
Alabu – removing blood using dried bitter bottle guard.
Vasthi – Enema
Used for cleansing the entire body. Even though the vasti medicine stay only for few minutes, it cleanse the entire body. It is referred as half treatment in Ayurveda. We use oil, ghee, honey, medicated decoction, salt etc according to the need for vasti. Sodhana vasti and samana vasti will be used as per doctors advice.
Pouring of medicated decoction over the effected area is called kashaya dhaara. The herb that reduces the vitiated dosha and ama are selected and boiled in water. This medicated kashayam will be poured aver the effected part in luke warm. This helps to clean the lesions, provide anti oxidants, to promote healing.
Amla, Haritaki, nimba, sigru, kottam, manjishta etc are most commonly used herbs
Pouring of medicated buttermilk is poured over the effected area. This help to arrest the further progress of the condition. More effective in kapha related psoriatic conditions.
Applying medicated herbal paste over the lesion, for certain period of time. It help to reduce intensity of itching, size of lesions, also help to re establish normal complexion of skin.
There are various herbal preparations mentioned in Ayurveduic texts. By taking correct herbal medicines the remaining doshas can be subsided.
Kashayam – like – Mahatiktakam, Tiktakam, Aragwadadi, Guggulu Tiktakam, patolakadurohinyadi etc
Khanda lehyam – Haridra khanda, manibhadra gulam
Ghee – Panchatikta Ghrita, mahatiktakam ghee, guggulu tiktakam ghee, etc
Vati – Kaisora guggulu, Kutaja Ghanavati, vilwaadi gulika,
For Local Application:
Triphalaadi choornam, Gandhaka Ghrita, Mahatiktakam ghee etc
The main source of all skin disease according to Ayurveda is Apatyahara and vihara, ie un healthy lifestyle.
Sweet, sour, salt, pungent taste should not be taken excess.
Oil fried food, vegetarian / non vegetarian
All non vegetarian food.
Junk food/fast food etc
Un timely eating
Yog hurt/curd/butter/ sauce/ ketchup etc
Pastries/ cookies etc
Take – more water (warm). Eat fresh and easily digestible food.
Use garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric.
Have regular exercise. Timely food, good sleep.