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Ayurvedic Treatment For Ringworm, Dermatophytosis, Tinea

Dadru – ringworm, dermatophytosis or tinea infection is a burst out condition of the skin. Due to bursting of exterior through the skin leads to circular or different shaped skin patches with itching. It is also commonly explained as fungal skin infection. This skin disease is explained in the Ayurvedic textbooks as old as Charaka and Sushruta Samhita. 

Clinical features

Clinical featuresCharakaSushrutaVagbhata
ColorRedDark brownWide spread
Patches/lesionsPresentNot specificPresent
Spreading natureNot specificWide spreadConstantly spreading
Association of other diseasesNot specificNot specificAssociated
Doshic dominanceKapha Pitta doshaKapha doshaKapha pitta dosha
ClassificationKshudra Kushta – Minor skin diseaseMajor skin diseaseMajor skin disease

As per modern science the fungal infection which is caused by dermatophytes is called dermatophytosis, Tinea or ring worm. The term Tinea refers to worm in Latin. Ringworm is suggestive of the circular skin lesions with elevated edges.

Tinea infections are characterized by circular lesions which usually have margins with raised edges and single lesions. It may also lead to plaque.

Tinea manuum
Hand – Tinea manuum

Name according to site of lesion

Depending upon the site of affliction the lesions are named as below-
Scalp -Tinea capitis – also known as scalp ringworm
Body -Tinea corporis
Whole body surface -Tinea universalis
Neck -Tinea versicolor
Face -Tinea faciei
Beard -Tinea barbae
Groin and buttock -Tinea cruris – also known as jock itch
Hand -Tinea manuum
Feet-Tinea pedis – athlete’s toes, athlete’s feet
Nails-Tinea unguium

Tinea unguium
Fungal infection of nail – Tinea unguium

Predisposing factors

Predisposing / promoting factors for fungal skin infection:
Poor nutrition – leading to less immunity, more proneness to infection
Excessive sweating Hot and humid climate – excessive sweating, leading to moist skin
Debilitating/ chronic diseases – compromised immunity
Poor hygiene, poor living conditions,
Diabetes – diabetic patients are usually more prone to skin diseases
Administration of cortico- steroids and immune suppressing agents, leading to compromised immunity. More chance for the fungus to invade.

Tinea versicolor
Fungal neck infection – Tinea versicolor

Causative factors

Causative factors for Dadru (Tinea infection) according to Ayurveda:
Food and habits increasing Kapha and Pitta – itching and burning sensations are the pridominant symptoms, contributed by Kapha and Pitta respectively.
Incompatible food – wrong food combinations
Excess intake of sea food
Heavy food intake
Intake of sour curd and milk, together, in excess for long period of time
Excess intake of black gram.

Line of treatment

Line of treatment of fungal skin infection – Dadru Chikitsa:
As the disease is due to predominant vitiation of kapha and Pitta, measures are taken so as to pacify these two doshas first.
If the condition is severe and disease is chronic in nature,
Vamana Panchakarma (Classical emesis) is to be carried.
External medications are carried like washing, cleansing etc to prevent super infections.

Herbs used

Herbs and substances useful in Dadru kushta (Tinea infections):
Bakuchi-Psoralea corylifolia – used in wide range of skin diseases including leucoderma.
Tuvaraka-Hydnocarpus laurifolia – also useful in fever, diabetes, hemorrhoids etc. Its oil Tuvaraka taila is used for external application.
Jati-Jasminum officinarum – main ingredient of many skin medicines like Jatyadi oil.
Nimba-Azadirachta indica
Patola- pointed gourd – Cucumerina dioica
Dhattura-Belladonna-Dhatura metel
Karaveera-Nerium indicum
Daruharidra-Berberis aristata
Haridra-Turmeric-Curcuma longa
Karanja-Pongamia pinnata
Aragwadha-Cassia fustula
Gandhaka – Sulphur
Haratala -Purified Yellow arsenic (to be used under medical supervision)
Tuttha – Copper sulphate solution is used externally in skin disorders (to be used under medical supervision)

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines for Dermatophytosis: 
Gandhaka rasayana – used in the treatment of skin diseases, itching, chronic fever, urinary tract disorders etc. Available in tablet and powder form.
Arogyavardhini vati – used in the treatment of liver diseases, fever, skin diseases, etc
Aragwadhadi kashaya – used in the Ayurvedic treatment of vomiting, diabetes, skin diseases with itching  and non healing wounds.
Haridra Khand – used widely in the treatment of allergic skin diseases, itching skin diseases. It improves skin quality and complexion.
Rasamanikya – in tablet or powder form. It is used in the treatment of fever, bronchitis, Asthma etc. 
Mahatiktaka kashaya – 
used to treat wide range of skin diseases, abscess, non healing wounds and sinuses.
Panchatiktaka guggulu –
used in skin diseases and fever.
Guggulu tiktaka kashaya – used in treating inflammatory conditions of skin, joints and bones.
Hajrul Yahood Bhasma – mainly used in urinary calculi, used for external application for skin disorders in children.

External application

Medicines for external application for tinea infection:
Jatyadi oil – 
used for quick wound healing in blisters, sinuses, non healing wounds etc. it is used for external application. 
Dhurdhurapatradi Thailam –
especially useful in tinea capitis (scalp fungal infection)
Nalpamaradi taila – especially useful for massage of whole body infection – Tinea corporisGandhakadya malahara – used to treat skin diseases such as dermatitis, fungal infection etc.
Rasottamadi lepa – Mahamanjishthadi taila
Jasadamrita malahara –
Made out of zinc oxide
Sindooradi malahara

Ayurvedic home remedies, tips

Tips and home remedies for fungus infection:
For any type of skin disorders due to infection – mix 10 grams of turmeric powder in 100 ml of neem oil. Apply it over the skin lesions, 30 minutes before bath, everyday. Believe it or not, a perianal abscess was cured with this simple remedy. (You can see a testimonial about it here)

For all skin disorders, mix a tablespoon of Khadira (Acacia catechu powder) in a tub of hot water and use it for bathing. Read more about this home remedy

In case of Jock itch (affecting groins), wear loose-fitting under garments. Apply cosmetic powder to keep the skin dry.

To prevent scalp fungal infection,  do not use very old and infested combs, brushes and such other hair care products.

If you have groin fungal infection (Jock itch) and athlete’s foot together, then treating groin infection alone will not be sufficient. the foot infection can spread to groin and jock itch may recur.

Do not share cloth, sports instruments, towels with others
Wash thoroughly after suspected skin contact
Avoid tight-fitting cloths. Change your socks and underwear repeatedly, if needed.
After bath, make sure to dry the skin completely.
If you have athlete’s foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that the infection does not spread.
Avoid using oily skin products.
Reduce your exposure to the afternoon sun. Increased sweating causes worsening of infection.
Wear cotton cloth, which absorbs the sweat and moisture completely.

Tulsi for tinea cruris and ring worm infection: 
Tulsi has anti fungal properties. Take 10 fresh leaves of holy basil and crush to extract juice. Mix a pinch of neem powder or turmeric powder to this and apply over the affected skin area. Do this for 10 days time.

Wholesome diet and habits

Wholesome diet and habits for tinea infection:
Warm water
Astringent-bitter and light food
Regular washing and bathing
Proper exercise – to improve body strength and immunity
Light and easily digestible food
Turmeric, curry leaves, cinnamon, cardamom

Unwholesome diet and habits

Oily food, junk foods, sodas – upsets stomach and intestines, worsens immunity strength
Cold water
Dust and contaminants
Heavy and excessive food
Slimy and spicy food
Night awakening
Improper bowel habit etc

Last drop
Tinea infections are very common and it may affectany age group. Proper hygiene, regular health care, avoidance of the allergic chemicals are the easy ways to preven the possibility of this illness.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar

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