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 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.
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.
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.
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
Insulting wise men, teachers and other respectable persons.
Use of money or material acquired by unfair means.
Censuring or killing Virtuous persons.
Premonitory symptoms of Vicharchika (eczema)
Aswedanam(decreased sweating) or Atiswedanam(excess sweating)
Parushyam(roughness of the skin)
Vaivarnyam (discoloration of the skin)
Paridaha (mild burning)
Signs and symptoms of eczema
Shyava (bluish black discoloration)
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. 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 .
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 useful in the treatment of eczema:
All the below herbs are – bitters, Pitta balancing, with blood purifying, detoxing and skin soothing benefits.
Formulations useful in the treatment of eczema:
For external application-
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
Maha Manjishthadi Kwatha
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)
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)
Kulattha (Horse 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