Eczema: Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Home Remedies

Ayurveda offers many treatment options, medicines and home remedies for eczema. Ayurveda describes a skin disease called as Vicharchika, which can be correlated with eczema. It is a spreading type of skin eruption with itching.

eczema of palm

Symptoms

Eczema symptoms as per Ayurveda:
According to Charaka samhita it is a condition where the skin has red rashes, with bumps, associated with profuse discharge, intense itching and often blue discoloration.
Some others also notify painful, dry and mild to moderate itching lesions.
Explanations of blackish lesions with severe itching and watery discharge over the skin are also available in classical versions.
Even nowadays all these varieties can be noted among the patients.

Eczema symptoms

Modern perspective

According to modern medicine, eczema is a non infectious inflammation of the skin characterized by erythema, scaling, edema, vesiculations and oozing. The term Eczema has been used for many centuries to designate various rapidly developing dermatoses conditions. In various stages of the study of eczema, the principal role in its cause and pathogenesis was attributed to the nervous system, the endocrine glands, the allergic state of the body, hereditary factors and other causes. But it is admitted that the cause and even the pathogenesis of eczema are extremely complicated, and are still unknown in many of their aspects.

Causes

Two basic causes:
Basically two factors cause eczema,
1. Allergic or sensitive skin and
2. exposure to an irritant.

Other causes of eczema:
The general predisposing causes are age, familial predisposition, allergy, debility, climate and physiological factors. Familial sensitiveness or genetic predisposition is major factor for the prevalence of eczema in some individuals. General debility lowers the resistance of the individual and may cause eczema. Climatic conditions like heat, cold, moisture and other psychological stress and strain may be a provocative factor. Besides this various other causes like chemicals, plant material, cosmetics, clothing, infectious organisms and even medicaments etc. may also contribute in significant way in causation as well as worsening of this complaint.

eczema on legs

Causes as per Ayurveda:
Regarding causes, Ayurveda enlists general causes of skin diseases themselves as the cause for Vicharchika (eczema).

Etiological factors (causes) of  skin disorders and hence of Vicharchika as mentioned in different Ayurvedic texts may be classified into following groups-
a) Ahara Hetu(Food concerned)
b) Vihara Hetu(Habit concerned)
c) Achara Hetu(Conduct/Mental status concerned)

Foods that cause skin diseases

Viruddha Ahara – incompatible food combinations
Intake of food mostly containing Hayanaka, Yavaka (low variant of barley),  Uddalaka (a variant of black gram) and
Koradusa(Various kinds of classical grains) along with milk, curd, buttermilk, horsegram, black gram and oil.
Intake of radish and garlic with milk. Please note here, garlic with cold milk is prohibited. But garlic boiled in milk, consumed in lukewarm condition is fine. In fact, it is a remedy told for bloating. Read related:
Milk Garlic Home Remedy For Stomach, Abscess and Fever

Continuous intake of aquatic and marshy flesh with milk.
Use of black pepper, Kakamachi, Lakucha with curd and ghee
Use of Meat of deer with milk.
Use of radish with jaggery
Excessive use of alcohol with milk.
Intake of articles having sour taste with milk.
Excessive use of green vegetables with milk.
Intake of honey and meat after taking hot diet and vice-versa.
Use of fish, lemon and milk together.
Excessive use of newer grains, curd, fish, sour and salty eatables
Excess use of sesame seeds, milk and jaggery.
Read more about such wrong food combinations

Habits that cause skin diseases

Physical exercise and taking sun bath after heavy meals
Sexual intercourse during indigestion
Regular sleep in the day.
To do exercise or to perform sexual intercourse after Snehapana(internal oleation) and Vamana(emesis).
Entering into cold water immediately after one is affected with fear exhaustion and sunlight.
Withholding of the natural urges

Mental activities

Insulting wise men, teachers and other respectable persons.
Use of money or material acquired by unfair means.
Censuring or killing Virtuous persons.

Premonitory symptoms

Premonitory symptoms of Vicharchika (eczema)
Aswedanam(decreased sweating) or Atiswedanam(excess sweating)
Parushyam(roughness of the skin)
Vaivarnyam (discoloration of the skin)
Kandu (itching)
Suptata(numbness)
Paridaha (mild burning)
Klama(fatigue)
Signs and symptoms of eczema
Kandu (itching)
Pidika (blisters)
Shyava (bluish black discoloration)
Srava (oozing)
Ruja (pain)
Ruksha (dryness)
Rakta (redness/bleeding)
Vrana (ulceration)

Home remedies for eczema

1. There is an herb called as Khadira, which is used in wide range of skin disorders, including eczema. Bathing water is prepared with Khadira is very useful in reducing eczema symptoms. Learn about it here

2. Dusting with powders of below mentioned herbs – like turmeric, neem, tree turmeric, acacia, is very useful in reducing excessive secretion and oozing.
3. A simple cream prepared with 100 ml of neem oil, mixed with 100 ml of sesame oil and 50 grams of turmeric powder is very effective in reducing symptoms.
4. for scalp eczema leading to dandruff, try making your own anti dandruff oil
5.
5. When the eczema symptoms are worse, washing the lesions with Triphala Kashaya (water decoction of triphala) is extremely useful to calm down. Learn how to prepare Triphala Kashaya

6. If you have found out that chemicals in shampoo, soap etc are causing your eczema, make your own herbal bath powder and use it

Line of Treatment

Treatment of Vicharchika should be carried out like that of Kushta.
Vamana (vomiting treatment),
Virechana (purgation treatment) and
Raktamokshana (blood letting) are the priorities of treatments of skin diseases .

External application

Among topical preparations,
Lepa – cream application,
Parisheka – sprinkling of liquids over the lesions,
Avachurana – dusting with powder ,
Avagahana – dipping the affected part in medicated liquid and
Dhuma – fumigation of the affected skin part
These have been mentioned in the management of all types of Kushtha.

Single herbs

Single herbs useful in the treatment of eczema:
All the below herbs are – bitters, Pitta balancing, with blood purifying, detoxing and skin soothing benefits. 
Manjishta-Rubia cordifolia
Khadira-Acacia catechu
Sariva-Hemidesmus indicus
Nimba-Azadirachta indica
Mahanimba-Melia azadirachta
Gudoochi-Tinospora cordifolia
Chandana-Santalum album
Vasaka-Adathoda vasica
Karanja-Pongamia pinnata
Neelini-Indigofera tinctoria
Haridra-Curcuma longa
Daruharidra-Berberis aristata
Kutaja-Holarrhena antidyscenterica
Chakramarda-Oxalis corniculata
Bakuchi-Psoralea corylifolia

Ayurvedic formulations

Formulations useful in the treatment of eczema:
For external application-
Karanja Taila
Devdarvyadi Taila
Lakshadi Taila
Marichadi Taila
Mahamarichayadi Taila
Chakramarda taila
Gandhakadya malahara
Sindhooradya malahara etc

For internal administration-
Mahatiktaka kashaya – herbal decoction with a massive collection of bitter herbs
Panchatiktaka kashaya – herbal decoction with five main bitter herbs
Vasagudoochyadi kashaya – also useful in skin diseases
Patola katurohinyadi kashaya
Patoladi kashaya
Tikta Ghrita
Neela Ghrita
Khadirarishta
Maha Manjishthadi Kwatha
Gandhaka rasayana
Kaishora guggulu
Triphala guggulu etc

Wholesome diet, habits

Wholesome diet and habits in Eczema
Laghu Anna (Light food)
Tikta Shaka(Bitter vegetables)
Purana Dhanya(Older grains)
Jangala Mamsa (Flesh of desert animals)
Mudga(Greengram)
Patola(snake gourd)
Shali-Shastika – rice harvested in 60 days
Yava – barley,
Godhuma – wheat etc
In cold countries, for those people who are allergic to gluten, wheat might not be ideal.

Unwholesome diet, habits

Unwholesome diet and habits in Eczema
Guru anna (heavy food intake) – causes indigestion and imbalance of Kapha, leading to worsening of itching.
Dugdha (excess of milk and dairy products) – causes Kapha increase, leading to itching and excessive secretion
Amla Rasa (Sour food) – causes pitta imbalance
Dadhi (curd) – causes pitta increase
Anupa Mansa(Marshy flesh)
Matsya(Fish)
Guda (Jaggery)
Tila(Seasame )
Kulattha (Horse gram)
Masha(Black gram)
Vidahi Anna(Spicy food)
Ikshu Vikara (Sugarcane derivatives)
Lavana (Salty food) etc

Eczema(vicharchika) being increased  in recent days appears to be significantly resulted due to unwholesome food habits and improper food combinations. Chemical contacts and allergic substances too have direct impact over this. Surely the Ayurvedic medicines will remain pivotal in the successful treatment of eczema.
Article by – Dr. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu) and Dr Hebbar

31 thoughts on “Eczema: Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Home Remedies”

  1. I have a question.
    I have heard that old rice has certain positive qualities to benefit health. Is that white rice or is it whole grain brown rice and other rices in their whole forms?
    Can brown rice go rancid? How to store rice properly.?
    Thanks,
    Eugene

    Reply
    • Old rice – white or brown is good for health.
      The method to store is – clean dry place, in air tight environment, devoid of rodents.

      Reply
    • It is definitely not a lost science. leech therapy etc are even practiced today. But it has to be under medical supervision only. It can’t be done at home.

      Reply
  2. Good article. I got eczema a month ago after antibiotic treatment. Now when my skin is exposed to the sun, there appears red itching rushes diagnosed by doctor as echema. Can such echema become permanent?

    Reply
    • Hi, in your case, because the onset is acute, if you take enough care, as explained in the article above, it can be just for a short period of time only.

      Reply
  3. Excellent indepth article. Can we get the readily prepared anti dandruff oil, herbal bath powder etc. at your clinic.

    Reply
  4. Sir,

    Some say milk+jaggery is wholesome while some deny the same. As for the latter view, what makes the said combination unhealthy.

    What are the healthy sweeteners for milk, excluding sugar? Nowadays mineral sugar is available, can it be liberally used in place of white sugar or say a jaggery?

    Reply
    • I have not found a traditional reference saying milk is incompatible with jaggery.
      Alterates for sugar – honey, jaggery, unrefined sugar (candy sugar), stevia.

      Reply
  5. Hi, if this goes away within three days, then nothing to worry. Or else, talk with her doctor.

    Reply
  6. I have eczema only in winter.i have it on head and all hidden places like groin ,armpit etc.can u suggest some home remedy so that it doesn t recur.

    Reply
  7. suggest any ready made ayurvedic cream on eczema dr,because it hostel it is not possible to find anything to made medicines you suggest,

    Reply
  8. Sir is triphala churna available in paste or ointment form? I find it difficult to apply powder water in the wounds… Tku

    Reply
  9. Namaskar, My Father in law have Dry Eczema since more than 20 years, he was treating it in homeopathy but it occurs again. Then recently he took allopathy but it occurs again. And he is now almost 80 years. So kindly suggest me what to do or give any ayurvedic treatment places or center to cure.

    Reply
  10. Sir can you refer me an ayurvedic doctor for the treatment of eczema in my area. I live in Andal, Dist- Barddhaman West, Durgapur, Asansol are my neighbouring city. Ty

    Reply
  11. For constipation garlic with milk is suggested, but this combination is one of reason of eczema. what is correct. Please tell.

    Reply
  12. Dear Doctors,

    Thank you for providing many useful articles.

    If possible please provide an article on Stevia Leaf

    Reply

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