Article by – Dr. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu).
Psoriasis is a disease which has not been defined properly till today. Regarding its causative factors also no clear results are found with the research. Certain researchers have given evidence that psoriasis may be due to inheritance. Whereas some others considered it as an idiopathic disease (unknown cause). While some of the researchers mention it as a psycho-somatic disease. Other strong arguments are also found that it is mere due to stress and strain followed with inherited factors.
Anyhow the aim of this article is to explore contribution of Ayurveda system of medicine in treating this skin condition.
In Ayurveda, all skin diseases are grouped under a broad heading of Kushta Roga.
Ekakushta is one such disease explained under the heading of Kshudra kushta (minor skin ailments). Even though, in terms of severity, incidence and prognosis, psoriasis is not a minor kind.
The features of Ekakushta closely resemble the characteristic features of Psoriasis. Hence most of the clinicians co-relate it with psoriasis.
Causative factors of Ekakushta
Excess intake of mulaka (raddish), lashuna (garlic) etc
Prolonged intake of aquatic and marshy animals (fish) with milk
Intake of Pippali (long pepper), kakamachi (Solanum nigrum) or lakucha (Artocarpus likucha) along with curd and ghee
Intake of radish (mulaka) with jaggery
Excess intake of alcohol and green leafy vegetables along with milk
Intake of honey and meat after having the hot and spicy diet or vice versa
Intake of food mostly containing Hayanaka, Yavaka (barley) , Chinaka, Uddalaka(millets and grains) etc along with milk, curd, buttermilk, oil etc
Repeated, excess food intake, irrespective of hunger,
Continuous and excess intake of honey, molasses, fish, radish etc (especially when the individual has indigestion)
Oily food intake
Excess intake of marshy animals or aquatic animals
Intake of sour and salty food together,
Suppression of vomiting, urinary urge etc
After effects of bad deeds(karma phala) etc
Origin of the disease
Due to the above said factors, all the three doshas (mainly Vata and Kapha) are vitiated and they further vitiate Twak (skin), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (flesh), Ambu (lasika-serum). Thus, they lead to manifestation of skin lesions in various parts of the body.
Reduced perspiration (swedana) or increased perspiration (atiswedana)
Roughness of the skin (parushya)
Discoloration of the skin (twak vaivarnya)
Pricking sensation (nistoda)
Fatigue (klama) etc
Reduced sweating (Asweda)
Extended skin lesions (mahavastu)
Scaling of skin similar to the scales of the fish (matsya shakalopama)
Pink discoloration (Arunavarna)
Blackening of the part (krishnavarna) etc
Ayurvedic line of treatment
Ghritapana (oral administration of medicated ghee)
Vamana (emesis) (According to the need virechana-purgation can also be carried or else both are also recommended one after the other)
Shamana Aushadha (medicaments)- Both internal and external medication is carried.
Single herbs used
Single drugs useful in Psoriasis (Eka Kushta)-
Nimba – Neem
Khadira – Acacia catechu Willd.
Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus Schult.
Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia Linn.
Chandana – Santalum alba Linn.
Raktachandana – Pterocarpus santalinus Linn.
Patola – Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.
Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers.
Vasaka – Adhatoda vasica Nees.
Yashtimadhu – Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
Madanaphala – Catunaragum spinosa (Thunb.) Trivengadum.
Amalaki – Amla fruit – Indian gooseberry
Haridra – Turmeric
Daruharidra – Berberis aristata Dc.
Kutaja – Holarrhena antidysenterica (Linn.) Wall. Ex. G. Don.
Guggulu tiktaka ghrita
Padavaladi gana kashaya
Patolamooladi kashaya etc
Wholesome diet habits for Ekakushta (psoriasis):
Raktashali (red rice)
Mudga (Green gram)
Sukhodaka (warm water)
Jirnahara (easily digestible food)
Tikta-kashaya rasa (bitter and astringent food)
Calmness (shanta shravana) (listening to calm music etc)
Unwholesome diet and habits for Ekakushta (Psoriasis):
Incompatible food stuff (virruddhahara)
sour food(amla ahara)
Excess milk and milk products
Black gram (masha)
Spicy food (vidari ahara)
Fear (bhaya) etc
Types of psoriasis
Even though varieties of presentation like plaque psoriasis, guttar psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, unstable psoriasis etc are present, in Ayurveda, all can be included under single heading- Ekakushta. Likewise, scalp, palm, soles, sacral region, nails, back side of the ear, neck, elbow, abdomen etc are the common sites, it may appear in any part of the body. So, one should be careful in its beginning itself and should consult the physician at the earliest.
Basti for psoriasis
Basti – Enema Panchakarma treatment for psoriasis –
Some Ayurvedic doctors use Panchatikta ghrita or Mahatikta ghritham – bitter herbal ghees as enema for the treatment of psoriasis.