ECZEMA AND AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

- Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)

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Eczema or dermatitis, as it is sometimes called, is a group of skin conditions, which can affect all age groups. The severity of the disease can vary. The general predisposing causes are: age, familial tendency, allergy, debility, climate, and psychological factors. Eczema usually occurs in infancy, at puberty and at the time of menopause. There is usually a family history of allergy, such as asthma, eczema, and hay fever. General physical debility predisposes one to eczema by lowering the resistance of the individual. Climatic extremes such as heat, dampness and severe cold, and also, psychological stress, promote the development of eczema. Local factors for example dry skin, greasy skin, excessive sweating, and varicose veins predispose to eczema. The signs and symptoms of paama and vicharchika, that are described in ayurveda, may be correlated with eczema or dermatitis.

Different Types

  1. Atopic eczema is the commonest form of eczema and is closely linked with asthma and cold symptoms. It can affect both children and adults, usually running in families. It is proposed that people with atopic eczema are sensitive to allergens in the environment, which are harmless to others. In atopic type, there is excessive reaction by the immune system producing inflamed, irritated and sore skin. One of the most common symptoms of atopic eczema is its itchiness (or pruritus), which can be almost unbearable. Other symptoms include overall dryness of the skin, redness, and inflammation. Constant scratching can also cause the skin to split, leaving it prone to infection. In infected eczema, the skin may crack and weep (‘wet’ eczema).
  2. Allergic contact dermatitis develops when the body’s immune system reacts against a substance in contact with the skin. The allergic reaction often develops over a period through repeated contact with the substance. For example, an allergic reaction may occur to nickel, which is often found in earrings, belt buckles and jeans buttons. Reactions can also occur after contact with perfumes, detergents, chemicals, rubber, and such other substances.
  3. Infantile seborrhoetic eczema, is a common condition affecting babies under one year old, the exact cause of which is unknown. It usually starts on the scalp or the nappy area and quickly spreads. Although this type of eczema looks unpleasant, it is not sore or itchy and does not cause the baby to feel uncomfortable or unwell. Normally this type of eczema will clear in just a few months, though the use of medicated creams and bath oils can help to speed this along.
  4. Adult seborrhoetic eczema characteristically affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40. It is usually seen on the scalp as mild dandruff, but can spread to the face, ears, and chest. The skin becomes red, inflamed and starts to flake. The condition is believed to be caused by the yeast or fungus growth.

This disease usually is constitutional, though as we have seen, it is sometimes due to local influences. No matter where the eczema may appear, it must be remembered that the poisons eliminated through these skin manifestations are carried by the blood; therefore, eczema is really a blood or constitutional disease, so it must be treated as such. The ordinary methods of treating this trouble, with external applications alone, will be inefficient in most instances.

Such treatment simply heals the surface sores without removing the constitutional cause. One should realise that this is a constitutional difficulty, and should proceed with an Ayurvedic blood purifying process, commencing with snehana (literally, ‘to oleate’ or ‘to make smooth, with oily preparations), swedana (to induce sweating by application of heat) and panchakarma (cleansing procedures—vamana, virechana, vasti, siro-virechana, and andrakata mokshana).

Guidelines

There are a number of ways to manage eczema all of which begin with an effective skin care routine.

bulletUse a mild soap or no soap on the eczema. Warm starch bath in winter and cold plain water in summer helps a lot. After the bath, blot yourself with a smooth towel and avoid rubbing. If there is dryness of skin, an oil, butter or ghee massage for about an hour before a bath, helps lubricate and soften the skin. Do not take baths too often. Add olive oil to the water. In addition, take quick showers with warm (not hot) water. Washing your body with cold or warm water will help preserve your natural oils. Our skin is supposed to be slightly acidic, and soap removes this very important acid mantle because it is alkaline. The slight acidity of the skin protects us from bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.
bulletAvoid extremes of climate. Moderate temperature, with fresh air and the mild sun are usually beneficial.
bulletStay away from wool clothes and blankets.
bulletTry to keep away from excessive sweating. For example, do not wear too many clothes.
bulletTake light diet. Avoid allergenic foodstuffs like excessive salt, tea, coffee, alcohol, milk, eggs, cheese, fish, sugar, hot spices, and food additives.
bulletAvoid cutting of vegetables especially garlic, onion, tomatoes, and ladies finger. Also, avoid peeling of oranges. Be cautious about marking nut, cashew nut, mustards, radish etc., as these may cause contact dermatitis. The same is true with hair dies, kumkum, lipstick, face creams, nail polish and remover, eyebrow pencil, perfumes, depilatories, deodorants and perfumed hair oils.
bulletThe other common offending substances are—rubber footwear, spectacle frames, furs, artificial jewellery, and synthetic clothes. Avoid contact with fluffy toys, grass, flowers and chemicals. Wear rubber gloves when you do housework. Put a little cornstarch inside the gloves. Alternatively, try latex gloves lined with cotton.
bulletDo not fatigue yourself, either physically or mentally. Learn to live within the limits of your mental and physical strength, knowing your inborn weaknesses. It is a chronic but not a serious disease and, therefore, do not get depressed. Avoid anger, resentment, and frustration. Rest to the affected part is recommended; bed rest becomes necessary in generalised eczemas.

Ayurvedic Remedies

bulletApply the juice of the tender leaves of Terminalia catapa (Jangali badam) over the affected parts.
bulletThe emulsion made from Karanja tel (oil extracted from Pongamia pinnata seeds) and lemon juice is a very useful application.
bulletPrepare ointment by boiling together one part of til oil (sesame oil), 16 parts of milky juice of Calotropics gigantica (Madaara or Arka or Jilledu) and one part of turmeric. Apply it externally.
bulletOne can expect cure by internal usage of tender leaves of Tephrossia purpurea (Sarapunkha) in the form of expressed juice for a longer period.
bulletPancha Tikta Ghrita Guggul—2 teaspoonfuls mixed in warm milk on empty stomach is an effective remedy for eczema.
bulletKadirarista, in the dose of 20 ml mixed with equal quantity of water, should be taken twice a day after meals.
bulletPanchanimbaadi choornam half to one teaspoonful twice daily after meals, gives good results.
bulletMahaamanjistaadi kaada, Saaribaadyarishta, Gandhaka rasaayana are some of the specific medicines that are used internally. Externally, Mahaa-marichyaadi taila, Guduchyaadi tailam, are advised.

Note

As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.

 

Address

Dr. Ch. Murali Manohar, M.D. (Ayurveda)

Ayurvedic Specialist

Raksha Ayurvedic Centre,

Opp. Directorate of Women Development,

Yousufguda Main Road (Sarathi Studio Road),

Ameerpet, Hyderabad - 500073.,

Andhra Pradesh, INDIA

Phones: Land: +91 (040) 23742146; Mobile: 09246575510

Consultation Hours  (by phone appointment)

Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

 E-mail: muralimanoharch@hotmail.com

 

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