" Psoriasis is a non contagious, chronic, inflammatory skin disease. Ayurveda considers psoriasis difficult to cure. Dr K Krishnan Namboodiri presents a case study of this disease. "
The name psoriasis is derived from the Greek word ‘Psora’ which means Itching. Psoriasis is caused by an increased growth rate of the keratinocytes from the stratum basale to stratum corneum. Normally, these cells rise to the skin’s surface once in 21 days. This rate is increased to twice in 3 weeks if you have psoriasis. This condition is indicated by thick, red skin with flaky, silverywhite scaly patches. Along with this, patients may experience itching, pain and disfigurement.
In modern terms, Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakes a normal skin cell for a pathogen, and sends it out. Such faulty signals cause overproduction of new skin cells. There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic.
According to Ayurveda, Audumbara Kushta, one among the various types of Psoriasis is caused by imbalance in the Pitta Dosha. Pitta symbolizes digestive fire, agni, the force behind all metabolic functions of the body. Pitta imbalance is usually caused by faulty dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. The vitiated Pitta causes toxin (ama) accumulation in the body tissues such as rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscles) and lasika (lymph) and contaminate them. This leads to various skin conditions seen in Psoriasis. The disturbed or weakened agni, results in improper metabolic function which in turn disturbs higher centres. This causes the hyper function of capillaries of the skin and then scaling starts.
This disease gets worsened during Summer because of the hot climatic conditions. During summer, the rays of the sun become harsh and strong, penetrating deep into the skin and it causes severe problems. Ayurveda offers various treatments, medications and lifestyle regulations to manage psoriasis.
Psoriasis is considered a difficult to cure disease. But some patients show remarkable improvement even with simple medication. The symptoms disappear with the usage of some simple kashayams and external applications. In some cases, a 10 to 15 days of Deepana (Stomachic) and pachana (Digestant) treatments were enough for the pacification of symptoms .However, such patients should undergo sodhana chikitsa (purification treatments or panchakarma) for a permanent solution.
Following is a case, which shown quick relief from symptoms of psoriasis. A 52 years old male visited the OP recently complaining about some serious skin problems which are then diagnosed as a psoriasis condition. This case shows the efficacy of Ayurveda in providing quick relief (cost effective too) with simple methods from a maharoga like psoriasis.
Mr. Chandran, 52 years, a farmer from Perumbavoor, (Kochi, Kerala) visited the outpatient department on 3 rd of February 2013. He came with dry flakes and plaques of thickened skin all over the body especially over both hands and legs. The problems have been persisting since last 3 months. He was not able to do any work and was reluctant to go out from due to the bad physical conditions.
Habits: regular smoker and used alcoholic drinks
History of Treatment For three months, the patient had been under the treatment of The vitiated Pitta causes toxin (ama) accumulation in the body tissues such as rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscles) and lasika (lymph) and contaminate them. This leads to various skin conditions seen in Psoriasis. a dermatologist and had taken some medications. He had also tried moisturizers, mineral oils, and petroleum jelly to soothe affected skin and to reduce the dryness which accompanies the build-up of skin on psoriatic plaques. But nothing found beneficial.
Systemic examination of the patient and laboratory investigations did not reveal any obvious abnormality. Hardly he had any other ailments. Local examination of lesions showed dry, scaly and red in color. Elevated circular lesions with well defined margins were also present. No discharge was noted the itching was severe though .
Medicines For first 5 days Internal:
1. Mahathikthakam Kashayam and Aragwadham Kashayam. (20 ml of Kashayam with 60 ml warm water at 6 am and 6 pm.on empty stomach).
2. Manibhadram lehyam.(10 grams at bed time).
Applied a combination of Psoria Oil and Dinesavalyadi Keram followed by washing with a Herbal decoction (nalpamaram, nimba twak and leaf,and Daruharidra,)
"Patient was instructed to stop intake of alcohol and smoking. Diet prescription was vegetarian food (less spicy and less sour). Milk, egg, oils, fried food, frozen food, curd, pickles etc. also were restricted."
"The vitiated Pitta causes toxin (ama) accumulation in the body tissues such as rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscles) and lasika (lymph) and contaminate them. This leads to various skin conditions seen in Psoriasis."
As digestive health directly influences psoriasis, certain diet and lifestyle modifications were suggested. Drinking alcohol and eating foods that have excess sour, salty or pungent tastes and foods that are too heavy, sweet or oily, can cause an adverse effect, which can make the problem more complicated. Patient was instructed to stop intake of alcohol and smoking. Diet prescription was vegetarian food (less spicy and less sour). Milk, egg, oils, fried food, frozen food, curd, pickles etc. also were restricted.
After 5 days he came with remarkable changes and continued 5 more days with same medicines.
Medicines on second course
Mahathikthakam Kashayam + Nisothamadi Kashayam (same dose as in first course).
Mahathikthakam Ghrutham 5 ml with Kashayam (Twice daily).
Manibhadram lehyam continued.
External oils are same with an instruction to expose skin to sun rays for 10 minutes in early morning.
After 10 days of above said treatments the patient got 80 % relief and was getting very good sleep and other bodily functions were normal.
(Currently the patient is on the 3 rd face of the treatment – a complete sodhana procedure (panchakarma).
The author is: Director-Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Centre Limited, Director and Executive Trustee- Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Institute, Kalady, Ernakulam, Kerala,