Psoriasis is a non-infectious, inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by well-defined erythematous (reddish) plaques with large adherent silvery scales. It is an autoimmune disorder of the skin results in hyper proliferation of the skin. Severe itching ,Dryness of the skin and silvery scaling are characteristics of this condition. Psoriasis can begin at any age but usually starts either around the age of 20 or between 50 and 60. It affects both the genders and may start at any age. The exact reason behind Psoriasis is unknown.
Ayurveda believes that impurities in the blood associated with emotional factors are the cause of the disease. Psoriasis (Sidhma Kushtam) is believed to occur due to vitiation of vata and kapha according to the ayurvedic concept. Many basic Ayurvedic texts have explained skin diseases, which resembles Psoriasis. (Two of the basic energies/humors, which maintains our body equilibrium) Accumulation of low potency poisons (Dooshi vishas), are the basic pathological changes taking place in the system. The vitiated doshas affect the skin and blood tissues. They also influence water element of the affected region on skin. Thus the skin which is influenced by affected doshas becomes discolored (white or copper colored), scaly and thin. Irregular food habits, consumption of foodstuffs that cannot be eaten together (Eg: diary products with fish), excessive intake of yogurt, black gram, seafood, sour and salted items etc can activate the pathogenesis. Alcohol and tobacco consumption will act as a catalyst here. Ayurveda do emphasize on the effect of stress in the pathogenesis of Psoriasis.
Panchakarma treatment for psoriasis
Panchakarma, the basic body purification method is used in the treatment of psoriasis. Ayurvedic treatment for psoriasis goes through several stages viz. lepanam (application of ointments), abhayangam (oil massage), snehapanam (taking medicated ghee), pizhichil (full body massage), avisnanam (medicated steam bath), sirovasti (keeping oil on head) and other bastis (enema). Both systemic and topical treatments are used and can include drinking medicated ghee, purging and vomiting to detoxify ) Detoxifying, by inducing vomiting (Vamana) and purgation (Virechana). This is followed by medicated buttermilk dripping overhead (Dahara) and pasting the entire body with a paste of medicines and mud., using medicated buttermilk dripped overhead, pasting the body topically, Finally medicated enemas (Basthies) are given for a week and internal medications in the form of herbal concoctions and medicated ghee has to be consumed for atleast three months.
Herbs used in Ayurvedic treatment for psoriasis
- Garlic(Allium sativum) – helps purify the blood and get rid of toxins
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and will help relive pain, reduce inflammation. Due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, it relieves the pain, swelling and inflammation associated with psoriasis, arthritis etc.
- Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)–The flowers of the jasmine Reduces pain, inflammation and soothes itching
- Neem – purifies and detoxifies, helps the immune system and has antis, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It enhances immune system and neem oil is an antiseptic in itself. Will help with the redness and itching of psoriasis.
- Black Nightshade Reduces inflammation and helps with any discomfort and the itching
- Guggul a resin from a tree that grows in India it is anti-inflammatory and helps remove excess fats and fluids from the body. Kaishore guggul is useful remedy for psoriasis.
- Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)- Kakmachi – The juice of the leaves of the black nightshade can be applied locally on the affected regions. It helps in reducing the inflammation of the skin, and also has beneficial properties in allaying the pain and the itch.
Psoriasis patient is also given a strict diet regime called pathyam.
- Non veg diet is strongly prohibited
- Avoid consuming opposite foods.
- Take care not to consume foods which cause indigestion.
- Absolutely do not eat too much salty, sour or acidic foods. Say no to radishes, urad dal, sesame, jaggery (gur), curds, fish and other sour foods.
- Avoid taking spicy food and consume only easily digestible food.
- Do not eat too much of salty, sour or acidic foods
- Avoid consuming opposite foods
- Avoid consumption of Alcohol and Smoking
- Include more fruits, vegetable, fruit juices in your diet. Bitter gourd, curd, boiled vegetables, pumpkin etc… are good psoriasis diet.
- Avoid animal fats, eggs, processed canned foods from your diet.
- Drinking fresh bitter gourd juice mixed with one teaspoon of lime juice on an empty stomach is an effective psoriasis treatment
Ayurvedic Tips for Psoriasis
- Do not control natural urges like vomiting, urination, bowel emptying, etc.
- Do not take a cold water bath immediately after a heavy work out, travelling, a long walk, etc.
- Avoid sleeping in afternoons.
- Always apply besan flour or a herbal scrub instead of soap.
- Smear on herbal balm which is infused with vata and kapha balancing herbs.
- Keep on applying moisturising gels or creams continuously to maintain the moisture levels of skin.
- Avoid all factors which trigger psoriasis.
- Reduce stress levels through meditation and yoga.
- Do not prick, peel or scratch skin. This may trigger psoriasis.
- Avoid soap. Instead use gram flour (besan flour), as soap dries the skin.
- After washing, pat the skin dry, don’t irritate it by rubbing vigorously.
- Apply moisturising creams liberally on affected areas after bathing.
- Opt for cotton clothes over synthetic ones.
- Application of avocado oil gently on the effected part is found to be an effective treatment.
- Cod liver oil, lecithin, linseed oil, vitamin E, and zinc fasten the healing Process.
- Apply moisturizing cream or gel at regular intervals to maintain the moisture level of the skin.
- Avoid using soap while taking bath instead use gram flour and use a herbal scrubber.
- Avoid pricking, peeling and scratching skin
- Use separate, clean clothes and towel for your use.
- Taking bath in sea water is found to be very effective in psoriasis treatment.
- Applying aloe vera cream thinly to irritated skin and rubbing lightly is effective.
- Mental health is absolutely necessary for an effective treatment of psoriasis. Try deep breathing and relaxation exercise to reduce stress.
- Exposing to mild sunlight daily for 30 minutes will improve the texture of the affected area of the skin.
- Pancha Tikta Ghrita Guggul 5gm to 10gm with oral liquid drug of Maha Manjisthadi. Quath (30ml) should be taken every morning and evening for 40 days.
- Maha Tikta Ghritam also can be taken on the similar lines, if there is no response to the above stated remedy.
- Psora Ointment and Psora Wash(Ayu Labs) are very useful on local application ans washing the surface.
- External application of Karanja Tailam (Pongamia pinnata) is very effective.
- Kaishor Guggul two tablet twice a day chewing .
Respected Dr Bhandari- i am a B.A.M.S. doctor practicing in system of ayurveda.I read your article.It is very good and informative to all of our collagues. Very humbly i want to share my experience with you , ihave seen use of NIMBADI CHURNA is also effective in this disorder, KAISHORE GUGGLU may be given 2tab thrice daily.. ………………………………………………………………………….with regards-yogesh
very informative .I am in australia at the moment,and i suppose this country is having maximum psoriasis patients.