Urticarial rashes are commonly known as hives. They are most commonly caused due to an allergic reaction. In Ayurveda, a condition called Sheetapitta is explained, which bears similar symptoms of Urticaria. There is no specific and satisfactory treatment in contemporary science for the condition of urticaria. But, it can be effectively managed through Ayurveda system of medicine.
Even though it is not a life threatening problem, it seriously affects the quality of life. Though not all, few of the individuals suffer from hives for months or years together and the incidences of relapse is also frequently found. Repeated intake of anti histamines or cortico-steroids reduces the immunity of the body and thus Ayurveda has a definitive edge in providing a comprehensive solution to this health problem.
Sheetapitta is a condition caused due to vitiation of all the three doshas with predominant involvement of Vata.
Dhatu (body tissues involved) – Rasa (serum) and Rakta (blood).
Sheetapitta comprises of two words- sheeta and pitta.
Sheeta means cold and pitta refers to warmth. So, it is a condition caused due to the dominance of ‘cold’ (existing in vata and kapha dosha) over pitta dosha.
- Excess intake of salty (lavana) and pungent (katu) food
- Consumption of large amount of sour gruels (arnala & shukta)
- Excess intake of mustard (sarshapa sevana)
- Exposure to cold wind (sheeta maruta samsparsha)
- Contact of cold substances (sheeta paneeya samsparsha)
- Day sleep (Diwaswapna)
- Improper emesis (asamyak vamana)
- Altered features in winter and rainy season (shishira-varsha ritu viparyaya)
- Insect bite (keeta damsha)
- Krimi samsarga (contact of poisonous insects or bugs) etc
Pathophysiology (Origin of the disease)
Due to the above said factors, importantly, exposures to cold breeze, vata and kapha doshas are aggravated and in turn they are mixed up with pitta dosha. Further, they spread all over the body and lodge in the external surface of the body (beneath the skin) and produce reddish rashes with intense itching and pricking sensation. Thus, the condition sheetapitta, resembling with the features of Urticarial rashes is manifested.
- Thirst (pipasa)
- Tastelessness (aruchi)
- Nausea (hrillasa)
- Debility/fatigue (dehasada)
- Heaviness of the body/lethargy (anga gaurava)
- Rakta lochanata (reddish discoloration of the eyes)
- Cardinal feature– The skin marks resembling the bite of nettle sting (varatidamshtra vatashotha)
- Itching (kandu)
- Pricking sensation (toda)
- Nausea and vomiting (chardi, hrillasa)
- Fever (jwara)
- Burning sensation (vidaha)
Line of treatment
- Body purification therapy (samshodhana)
- Oral medications (shamanoushada)
- Avoidance of causative factors (nidana parivarjana)
- Application of mustard oil all over the body.
- Yavakshara and saindhava lavana mixed mustard oil application
- Medicated oil prepared by the drugs of Eladi gana
External application of medicated paste:
- Paste of Doorva (Cynodon dactylon) and Haridra (Curcuma longa)
- Fine paste of saindhava (rock salt), kushta (Saussaria lappa) and ghee
According to the dosha dominance, Vamana (emesis), virechana (purgation) or rakta mokshana (blood letting) are carried with suitable medicaments.
Single herb usage
Single herbs recommended in Urticarial rashes:
Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers.
Nimba – Azadirachta indica A. Juss.
Haridra – Curcuma longa Linn.
Ajamoda – Trachyspermum roxburghianum (DC.) Sprague.
Yashtimadhu – Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
Durva – Cynodon dactylon (Linn.) Pers.
Gambhari – Gmelina arborea Roxb.
Agnimantha – Clerodendrum phlomidis Linn. F.
Amalaki – Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
Parnayavani – Coleus amboinicus Lour.
- Amritadi kashaya
- Amrita rajanyadi kashaya
- Triphala churna
- Haridra khanda
- Ardraka khanda
- Brihat haridra khanda
- Talakeshwara rasa
- Poornabhra rasa
- Manikya rasa
- Rajamriganka rasa
- Vatavidhwamsa rasa
- Sarvatobhadra rasa
- Sootashekhara rasa
- Laghu sootashekhara vati
Wholesome diet and habits for Urticarial rashes (Sheetapitta)
- Older rice (Purana shali)
- Green gram (mudga)
- Horse gram (kulattha)
- Bittergourd (Karavellaka)
- Pomegranate (dadima)
- Gooseberry (amalaki)
- Warm water (ushnajala) etc
Unwholesome diet and habits for Urticarial rashes (Sheetapitta)
- Milk and milk products (ksira vikara)
- Fish (matsya)
- Sugar and its derivative (ikshuvikara)
- Alcohol (madya)
- Suppression of vomiting (Vamana rodha)
- Cold water (sheeta jala)
- Exposure to breeze (sheetala vayusevana) etc
Sheetapitta (urticarial rashes) is the most common allergic skin manifestation. It is a condition which makes the individual to frustrate about the disease as well as the medicine. Most of the time we achieve mere symptomatic relief and the underlying pathology is not treated properly. Often the condition may lead to sleep disturbance, altered emotion and social isolation even. So, it is wise to approach your physician and take the treatment at the earliest.
Article by – Dr. MS Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar