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Use of Ayurveda for the treatment of Psoriasis

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 10, 2017

   6 min     

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Overview

Psoriasis is a disorder of the skin which is characterised by raised, red plaques covered with white scales on the skin surface. This is a common, chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects both men and women, especially people with cardiovascular disorders and metabolic syndrome. Certain research indicates that the disease is genetic and runs in families.

Psoriasis occurs because the body's skin cells are multiplying at a rate that is ten times faster than usual. This is because the immune cells send signals to the skin cells that cause them to grow at a quicker pace. Now, when these cells multiply, the underlying cells come to the surface of the skin and die. Due to the increase in the rate of multiplication, the number of the dead cells in the skin surface causing plaques covered with white scales, which are usually found on the elbows, knees or scalp, but in severe conditions, it can affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

The symptoms of psoriasis are visible on the surface of the skin. These include:

  • The surface of the skin is covered with red, raised inflamed patches.

  • The red patches have silver-white scales or plaques on them.

  • Dry skin is prone to cracking and bleeding.

  • The area around the inflamed patches is sore, and there are itching and burning sensation.

  • Thick, pitted nails

  • Pain and swelling in the joints

Types of Psoriasis

Based on the symptoms, psoriasis can be classified as follows:

  • Plaque psoriasis: In the case of this type, the patient has red, scaly skin patches with pustules (pus-filled bumps) on the palms and feet.

  • Guttate psoriasis: This condition starts during childhood or young adulthood, where the patient has small, red spots, mainly on the torso and limbs. Guttate psoriasis is usually triggered by respiratory infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin, and use of anti-malarial and beta-blocker medications.

  • Inverse psoriasis: This type of psoriasis usually occurs in skin folds like armpits, groin area, and under the breasts; bright red, shiny lesions appear in these regions.

  • Erythrodermic psoriasis: This form of psoriasis usually occurs when the patient is dealing with withdrawal from a systemic psoriasis treatment, severe sunburn, infection, and certain medications, and this requires immediate medical treatment because it can lead to severe illness. 

  • Pustular psoriasis: As the name suggests, this type is characterised by white pustules surrounded by red skin.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Psoriasis

Patients sometimes go for ayurvedic treatment as prescription medications usually cause unwanted side effects, and Ayurveda mainly uses natural treatment plan.

Ayurveda is an ancient, holistic form of treatment that relies on the idea that good health depends on a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Ayurvedic treatment plans include a healthy diet, exercises such as yoga, meditation, and detoxification.

Panchakarma

In Ayurveda, psoriasis patients follow a treatment plan called Panchakarma therapy. It is a five-step, mind-body rejuvenation experience that comprises of herbal oil massages, steam baths, cleansing enemas, a healing kitchari diet and other purifying practices.

This type of treatment involves the use of plant-based remedies and the implementation of dietary changes to detox and purify the body. The doctor may also suggest a vegetarian diet.

The Panchakarma treatment plan includes:

  • Consumption of a medicated ghee, which is a form of clarified butter, based on the patient's body Dosha

  • Vamanam (vomiting) and Virechanam (purgation) - Induced vomiting and purgation helps clear the gastro-intestinal tract and part of the respiratory tract.

  • Shirodhara - A process that involves dripping medicated oil or buttermilk on the forehead which is said to synchronise brain waves and profoundly coordinates and calm the mind, body, and spirit. Besides this, Shirodhara also involves applying mud and medicinal pastes all over the body.

  • Vasties (Medicated enemas) - Decoction enema cleanses the area from the transverse colon to the anus. This process is followed for 8 - 10 days.

The length, success and effectiveness of Panchakarma treatment depend on the severity of the infection as well as how strictly this treatment was followed.

Herbal Remedies

Besides the Panchakarma treatment, there are other natural remedies for psoriasis.

  • Juice of the black nightshade berries to reduce inflammation on the skin

  • Consumption of garlic and onions which is believed to purify the blood

  • The paste made from the jasmine flower to help ease the itching and decrease inflammation

  • Use of Guggul (Commiphora wightii / Commiphora mukul) is said to help reduce the inflammation

  • Consumption of neem supplements to help boost the immune system and is believed to purify the blood

  • Applying turmeric paste onto the affected area of the skin helps reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling

  • Boswellia, a resin herbal extract from the Boswellia tree, is used to treat the inflammation

  • Aloe Vera is another recommended herb that helps with the skin itching, redness and inflammation

Dietary Changes

The patient is also recommended a diet change to reduce the occurrence of psoriasis. These changes include:

  • Avoiding food that has a high carbohydrate content or requires the use of a large amount of sugar

  • Avoiding food items that are in the extremes, which means if its too salty, too sour, or too acidic

  • Research has shown that people on specialised diets, such as vegan, paleo or high-protein and low-carb diet help improve the symptoms of psoriasis.

Treatment of Psoriasis caused due to Stress

It is also believed that physical and emotional stress may also cause psoriasis. In such cases, meditation and exercise may help reduce stress, which in turn will help reduce the psoriasis flare-ups.

One of the most popular ayurvedic remedies suggested for destressing is the use of the herb Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng. There have been many studies and research that talk about the anti-stress property of Ashwagandha. It is also used as a beneficial restorative tonic.

Things to consider before opting the Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurveda is a widespread practice in India and is also sought out as a form of treatment around the world, but it does not have substantial scientific evidence that supports or dispute it. There are very few studies and research on Ayurveda, and certain doctors call it pseudo-science.

Therefore, one might never know how effective it is when it comes to treating psoriasis, despite patients claiming that it improved the symptoms.

Patients who use ayurvedic products must remember that some products might be unsafe, and could not be "all-natural" in spite of the claims.

It is important to consult a medical professional once you find visible symptoms of psoriasis for an accurate diagnosis. It's ideal for you to seek Ayurvedic treatment if you're looking out for the holistic health.

Do not self -medicate yourself with ayurvedic medicines, instead consult your doctor as well as a rained Ayurveda practitioner if you think it will help the treatment of psoriasis.

Since most of the ayurvedic treatment includes implementing a healthy diet, practising yoga and meditation, or exercise, most doctors do not object to it.

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Tags:  Ayurveda,skin care,Psoriasis

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