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Ekakustha (Psoriasis) - Care & diet by Ayurveda

Dr. Imlikumba, Health Naturally Clinic, Mercy Building: Kevijau colony, Dimapur: Nagaland, +91948332
Published on 18 Jun. 2017 6:53 PM IST
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Psoriasis is not all of you it’s just a part of you like everything else.
Psoriasis is a complex, chronic, multifactorial, inflammatory disease which involves hyper proliferation of the keratinocytes in the epidermis, with an increase in the epidermal cell turnover rate. At present time, Psoriasis is one of the most common human skin diseases. Majority of the dermatological disorders have been described under the roof of Kushtha in Ayurveda. Eka kushtha is a type of  kshudra kushtha described in different Ayurvedic classics. It is Vata-Kaphaj disorder. The classical symptoms of Eka kushtha described in Ayurveda resembles with Psoriasis. The clinical feature of Eka kushtha described by Acharya Kashyap represents remission, relapse and seasonal variation which are present in Psoriasis .Modern medical science treats Psoriasis with PUVA, corticosteroids etc. But these therapies give serious side effects like hepato and nephrotoxicity, bone marrow depression etc. Hence, it is the need of time to find out safe and effective treatment for Psoriasis and here Ayurveda plays an important role. The unique treatment modality of Ayurveda provides long lasting results and a better life to patients through its three basic principles i.e. Shodhana, Shamana and Nidan parivarjana. In Ayurveda, all skin diseases are grouped under a broad heading of Kushtha Roga. Eka kushtha is one of such diseases explained under the heading of Kshudra Kushtha (minor skin ailments). Even though, in terms of severity, incidence and prognosis,it is not a minor kind.
Premonitory signs and symptoms: Psoriasis can go undetected its first occurrence or during its earlier stages; symptoms appear mild as small, faint, dry patches.
Clinical features: Common symptoms include: Plaques of red skin often covered with loose, silver scales. This is the symptom most commonly associated with psoriasis such lesions can be extensive, itchy and painful. Cracking and bleeding may occur. In the most severe cases, these patches merge with one another to cover entire surface areas of the body. Irritated patches of skin and dots, which are raised and thick, ranging from pink red salmon to red in colour. Often these skin patches or skin dots are, like noted in the afore mentioned, covered in silvery scales. Redness on elbows, knees, trunk and scalp. Though these are the main places in which psoriasis symptoms are seen, symptoms can occur anywhere on the body. Change and disfiguration of nails. Thickening, yellow-brown spots, dents and pits in the nail surface, separation of nail from base and crumbling of the actual nail may occur. Severe dandruff Plaques of silver scales or crust may develop as loose flakes constantly shed.
There are five types of psoriasis. 
Plaque Psoriasis: Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disease and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. These patches or plaques most often show up on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. They are often itchy and painful, and they can crack and bleed.
Guttate Psoriasis: Guttate [GUH-tate] psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that appears as small, dot-like lesions. Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or young adulthood, and can be triggered by a strep infection. This is the second-most common type of psoriasis, after plaque psoriasis. About 10 percent of people who get psoriasis develop guttate psoriasis.
Inverse Psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis shows up as very red lesions in body folds, such as behind the knee, under the arm or in the groin. It may appear smooth and shiny. Many people have another type of psoriasis elsewhere on the body at the same time.
Pustular Psoriasis: Pustular [PUHS-choo-lar] psoriasis in characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells. It is not an infection, nor is it contagious. Pustular psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, but occurs most often on the hands or feet.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: Erythrodermic [eh-REETH-ro-der-mik] psoriasis is a particularly severe form of psoriasis that leads to widespread, fiery redness over most of the body. It can cause severe itching and pain, and make the skin come off in sheets. It is rare, occurring in 3 percent of people who have psoriasis during their life time. It generally appears on people who have unstable plaque psoriasis.
The classical symptoms of Ekakushtha described in Ayurveda resembles with Psoriasis. The clinical feature of Ekakushtha described by Acharya Kashyap represents remission, relapse and seasonal variation which are present in Psoriasis. Prodromal features of Psoriasis: Increased perspiration (Atiswedan), Reduced perspiration (Aswedan), Discolouration of the skin (Twak vaivarnya), Fatigue (Klama) etc. Horripilation (Lomaharsha), Numbness(Suptata), Pricking sensation (Nistoda),  Itching(Kandu). 
Clinical features of Ekakustha- Scaling of skin similar to the scales of the fish (Matsya shakalopama), Extended skin lesions (Mahavastu),  Reduced sweating (Asweda), Pink discolouration (Aruna varna). Blackening of the part (Krishna  varna) etc. Line of Ayurvedic treatment for Psoriasis –  Ghritapana (Oral administration of medicated Ghee)    Shodhana – Vamana(emesis), according recommended one after the other to the need Virechana(Purgation) can also be carried out or else both are also  Shamana Aushadha (Medication) – Both external and internal medication is carried.
Ayurvedic approach for all types of Psoriasis- Psoriasis is one of the most common dermatologic diseases and still stands as a challenge to different medical systems. Many research works have been done on psoriasis in Ayurveda and modern medical science but no drug has yet been claimed to cure psoriasis completely. Psoriasis can be better managed by the Ayurvedic principles of management namely:  NidanaParivarjana, Shodhana (Panchakarma therapy), Shamana Chikitsa
 Nidana Parivarjana: This means avoidance of etiological factors like Mithya Ahara- Vihara & Viruddha Ahara. Nidana Parivarjana stops the further progression of the disease, by restricting vitiation of Doshas. Hence main objective of treatment is to improve metabolic activities in Dhatu level, to rectify Srotoavrodha and to provide nourishment to depleted Dhatus.
 Panchakarma Chikitsa: As Ekakushtha is chronic & relapsing in nature and also there is an involvement of Tridosha & Twaka, Rakta, Mamsa, Lasika & Kleda, hence repeated Shodhana is required for treatment. Samshodhana is one of the important treatment of Ayurveda which deals mainly with elimination of the aggravated Doshas from the body. These Doshas (toxins and waste material) should be eliminated naturally as well as nearest root of the body.
Shamana Chikitsa: means internal medications. Superficially the elimination of toxins can be assisted by Moisturising the skin daily with a suitable, healing cream, Oleation or regular massage of the skin using suitable oil internally, to assist in proper elimination of toxins; the most important advice is to restore the digestive fire to its optimum level. 
Reducing stress levels through meditation or leisure activity, Exposing the skin to sunlight for 30 minutes a day if possible, Gentle regular sweating to excrete toxins from the system If you choose to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner, some of the methods which can catalyse the detoxification process to eliminate Psoriasis include: Purgation or the use of specific herbal laxatives, Enemas using herbal medicated oil. Panchakarma therapy which is a last resort and deep, powerful detoxification
Herbal Ayurvedic Psoriasis treatment originated in India and is considered as one of the oldest medical practice. Its use evolved for over thousands of years based on the principle of Ayurveda. It puts together the balance of the spirit, mind, and body. Hence, others see this as a holistic approach by treating the whole body and not the specific symptoms of the sickness. Basically, Ayurvedic medicine helps in the promotion of wellness and prevention of illness. Various techniques and products are used in restoring balance and cleansing of the body, making it essential that the methods should only be done by a trained Ayurvedic practitioner. This is important in order to avoid untoward side effects especially when used as psoriasis medicine.
Pathyāpathya (Dos and donts): To do this, simple adjustments to eating habits will make an enormous difference:  Eat plenty of leafy, green vegetables, Eat cooked, warm food, Eat only when hungry, Avoid eating frequent, small meals or snacks , Drink water when you are thirsty and avoid flooding the body,  Avoid acidic foods, red meat, red fish, tropical fruit, red wine, tomatoes, cold raw salads, nuts and seeds, Avoid sour foods such as yoghurt, dairy products In addition, consciously incorporating these habits into your regular routine will have enormous benefits for your well-being and keep psoriasis away long term: Passing urine regularly whenever the body requires, Maintaining a diet which promotes regular, healthy bowel movements,  Normal diet is indicated in all types of  Kustha. Sour, salty, heat producing items like pepper etc.; curd, milk, jiggery, meat of marshy animals, sesame seeds, black gram are contraindicated; sexual intercourse and alcoholic drinks are to be avoided;  Old rice, barley, green gram, bitter vegetables and meat of wild animals are wholesome. 
Conclusion : Psoriasis is a non-infectious chronic inflammatory disease of skin characterized by well-defined erythematous plaques with silvery scales having chronic fluctuatory course affecting both sex and different age groups. Kustha is described as one of the most chronic diseases in Ayurvedic literature. Under the roof  of  Kustha,  Ayurveda described a wide range of dermatological disorders including its classification, etiopathogenesis, clinical presentation, prevention and management. The disease courses and the treatment modalities mentioned for dermatological disorders as described in Ayurveda are highlighted here and the measures mentioned in classics are focused which provides management in natural way with no adverse effects. Psoriasis flare up due to stress & tensions so we should avoid it, psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder it is not curable but it can be limited or contained avoidance of the causative factors and lifestyle modifications with Ayurvedic medicine and immune modulator drugs is the key to achieve results in Psoriasis.
Note: Ayurvedic medicines and treatments should be taken under Qualified Ayurvedic Doctor/Physician. The drugs described in this article are for general information/educational purpose only. Anyone should not use these without consulting a qualified Ayurveda doctor/physician.

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