Diet And Ayurvedic medicines For Itching

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay)
Ayurveda explains itching as a symptom of many diseases. Here are a few effective diet rules and Ayurvedic medicines for itching. The choice of medicine is dependent on the underlying cause of itching. 


Pathya – Wholesome Ayurvedic diet for the treatment of itching: 

  • Virechana – therapeutic purgation
  • Vamana – therapeutic emesis
  • Lepa – application of medicinal pastes
  • Langhana – fasting
  • Raktamokshana – bloodletting
  • Purana yava – old barley
  • Purana godhuma – old wheat
  • Shashtika shali – paddy or rice grown in 60 days
  • Mudga – green grams
  • Jangala mamsa rasa – meat soup of animals residing in desert and dry regions
  • Navaneeta – butter
  • Ghrita – ghee
  • Draksha – raisins
  • Dadima – pomegranate
  • Karavellakam – bitter gourd
  • Dhatri – Indian gooseberry
  • Khadira – Acacia catechu
  • Nagakesara – Messua ferra
  • Shireesha – Albizia lebbeck
  • Karpoora – camphor
  • Chandana – sandal wood
  • Patola – pointed gourd
  • Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
  • Vidanga – Embelia ribes
  • Nimbi patra – tender leaves of neem
  • Bilwa pushpa – flowers of Bael tree
  • Tikta yusha – soup prepared from bitter herbs


Apathya – Unwholesome diet for itching: Avoid these: 

  • Amlarasa – excessive consumption of sour foods
  • Lavana rasa – excessive consumption of salt and salty foods
  • Maricha – excessive consumption of pepper (especially in pitta related kandu)
  • Vidahi ahara – corrosive foods
  • Dadhi – excessive intake of curds
  • Dugdha – excessive consumption of milk
  • Anupa mamsa – excessive consumption of meat taken from the animals living in marshy areas
  • Tila – excessive intake of sesame
  • Masha – excessive intake of black grams
  • Snana – taking bath frequently or many times in a day
  • Aatapa – excessive exposure to sunlight or heat of the sun
  • Guru ahara – heavy to digest foods
  • Viruddha ahara – mutually incompatible foods
  • Drava ahara – excessive liquid diet
  • Snigdha ahara – excessive intake of oily or fried foods
  • Chardi nigrahana – forcibly controlling the impending vomiting reflex
  • Vega dharana – withholding the impending natural body reflexes or urges
  • Vyayama – excessive exercises, especially after excessive eating
  • Agni santapa – exposure to fire after heating heavy meal
  • Sheeta jala – consuming cold water immediately after exposure to heat, physical exhaustion and episodes of fear or panic
  • Adhyashana – eating in excess or repeatedly in presence of indigestion
  • Matsya – excessive consumption of fish
  • Vyavaayam – excessive indulgence in sexual activities especially in the presence of indigestion
  • Diva swapna – habit of day sleeping
  • Itching pruritus

Herbs used

Herbs useful in Kandu –

  • Vidanga (Embelia ribes)
  • Khadira (Acacia catechu)
  • Aragwadha (Cassia fistula)
  • Chakramarda (seeds of Cassia torra)
  • Tulasi (Holy Basil)
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
  • Karanja (Pongamia pinnata)
  • Sarshapa (mustard)
  • Haridra (turmeric)
  • Krishna Jeraka (Caram carvi)
  • Saindhava Lavana (rock salt)
  • Kushta (Saussurea lappa)
  • Paste of Durva (Cynodon dactylon)
  • Twak (Cinnamon)
  • Apamarga (Achyranthes aspera)
  • Mulaka (radish)
  • Pippali (long pepper)
  • Vasa (leaves of Adhatoda vasica)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
  • Daruharidra (Berberis aristata)
  • Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)
  • Nimba twak (bark of neem tree)
  • Patola patra (leaves of pointed gourd)
  • Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia)
  • Yavani (Bishop’s weed)
  • Shunti (ginger)
  • Maricha (black pepper) etc
  • Other herbs mentioned in the list of Deepana, Pachana herbs etc are also useful in Kandu

Read related: Pruritus (Kandu) : Ayurvedic Treatment Principles

Ayurvedic formulations

Classical formulations for Kandu –
Kashayam (herbal decoctions) –

  • Tiktakam Kashayam
  • Guggulutiktakam Kashayam
  • Mahatiktakam Kashayam
  • Patoladi Kashayam
  • Drakshadi Kashayam
  • Patolakaturohinyadi Kashayam – especially useful when liver disorder is associated with itching symptoms. It is an excellent liver cleanser.
  • Trayantyadi Kashayam
  • Nimbadi Kashayam
  • Shonitamritam Kashayam
  • Mahamanjishtadi Kashayam
  • Aragwadhadi Kashayam
  • Aragwadhamahatiktakam Kashayam
  • Nimbamritadi Panchatiktakam Kashayam
  • Varanadi Kashayam
  • Sukumaram kashayam

Asava-Arishtas (fermented herbal drinks) –

  • Khadirarishtam
  • Aragwadharishtam
  • Putikaranjasavam
  • Kumaryasavam
  • Kanakabindwarishtam
  • Sarivadyasavam
  • Vidangarishtam
  • Devadarvarishtam
  • Nimbamritasavam
  • Mulakadyarishtam

Read related: Itching And Pruritus: Ayurvedic Understanding

Churnas (herbal powders and granules) and Bhasma (herbal ash) –

  • Panchanimbadi churnam – widely used in many skin diseases with infection.
  • Nimbadi churnam
  • Pathyadi Churnam
  • Sudarshana Churnam
  • Eladi Churnam
  • Vidangadi churnam
  • Guggulupanchapalam Churnam
  • Haridra kanda – available in jam or granular form. Hailed as one of the best medicines to treat pruritus.
  • Vyoshadi vatakam
  • Loha bhasma – useful in anemia.
  • Swarna makshika bhasma
  • Tamra bhasma (to be used strictly under medical supervision

Churnas for external application –

  • Rasottamadi Lepa Churnam
  • Avalgujadi churnam
  • Dashanga lepam
  • Sinduradi lepam
  • Siddarthaka Snana Churnam (for bath)

Read related: 41 Natural Home Remedies For Itching And Pruritus

Vati, Gulika (tablets) Rasa aushadhas (herbo-mineral compounds) –

  • Arogyavardhini
  • Gandhaka Rasayana
  • Talakeshwara Rasa
  • Navayasa loha
  • Vidangadi lauha
  • Krimikutara rasa
  • Krimighna vati
  • Krimishodini vati

Guggulu preparations –

  • Kaishora Guggulu
  • Panchatikta Ghrita Guggulu
  • Kanchanara Guggulu
  • Punarnavadi Guggulu
  • Saptavimshati Guggulu

Ghrita (medicated ghee) –

  • Tiktakam Ghritam
  • Mahatiktakam Ghritam
  • Guggulutiktakam Ghritam
  • Patoladi Ghritam
  • Aragwadhadi Ghritam
  • Aragwadha Mahatiktakam Ghritam

Tailam (oils for external application) –

  • Asanaeladi Tailam
  • Chandanabalalakshadi tailam
  • Durvadi tailam
  • Eladi tailam
  • Karanja tailam
  • Marichyadi tailam
  • Mahamarichyadi tailam
  • Nalpamaradi tailam
  • Nimbadi tailam
  • Panchavalkadi tailam
  • Somaraji tailam

Avalehas and Rasayanam (Confections) –
Amritabhallataka lehya
Madhusnuhi Rasayanam

Read related: Itching, Pruritus: Causes, Mechanism, Diagnosis, Treatment, Research

Proprietary medicines for pruritus –

  • Allergin granules (Nagarjuna)
  • Cap Cutis (Vasu pharma)
  • Cap Dermafex (BAN company)
  • Tab and Syurp Radona (Solumiks company)
  • Syrup Sariva Kalpa (Swadeshi)
  • Syrup Subala (Nanjangud)
  • Cap Urtiplex (Charaka pharmacy)
  • Cap Epderm (Capro lab)
  • Tab Purim (Himalaya)
  • Tab Pamarin (IMIS)
  • Cap Neemi (Trio)
  • Tab Raktashodhak (Baidyanath)
  • Syrup Surakta (Baidyanath)
  • Oil Cutis (Vasu)
  • Ointment Cutfar (BAN)
  • Syrup Raktamrit Kwath (Pentacare)
  • Cap G7 (JRK company)
  • Cap GP500 (Zen)
  • Tab Histantin (KAPL)
  • Cap Neemwin (Baidyanath)
  • Cap Tiktamrit (Pavaman)
  • Cap Pesin (JRK)
  • Cap Psora (Ayulabs)

External –

  • Oil Psoria (Nagarjuna)
  • Oil 777 (JRK)
  • Ointment Psorolin (JRK)
  • Ointment Kusumolin (Kumar)
  • Oil and Ointment Lippu (JRK)
  • Kusuma bathing powder (Kumar)
  • Parimala Bathing powder (Chaitanya)

Note – The above enlisted classic and proprietary formulations are not only useful against primary pruritus (kandu) caused by doshas etc but also cure the secondary kandu caused due to some other causes. Many of these medicines are broad spectrum medicines and formulations acting on multiple system disorders.

Clinical experience

My experience in clinical management of Kandu –
Cases of itching have never been a big problem to deal with in Ayurveda practice as far as I am concerned. I have classified the kandu as primary and secondary (see above) on the basis of what I practice and that is how I have kept it simple.

Thorough case history has always given me a pathway of tracking down if the itching has something to do with dosha vitiation or metabolic disturbances or if they are related to an underlying disease like Diabetes or skin disorder or excessive fat etc. the treatment approach becomes equally simple with this demarcation and bifurcation of Kandu into one of the 2 gross categories. If kandu is due to dosha disturbance my approach has been –

  • Medicines to expel krimi (worms etc)
  • Correction of dosha imbalance, and if possible expel them
  • Correction of metabolism
  • Lifestyle changes and dietetic adjustments
  • Simple home remedies with 1 or 2 herbs as enlisted above and application of itch reducing pastes or ointments or oils

If the Kandu is associated with another disease, I have concentrated on treating the main disease instead of worrying about itching. Pruritus associated with Psoriasis, eczema, dandruff etc will never go away until and unless these skin diseases are dealt with effectively.

In stubborn itching associated with chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and some systemic diseases like diabetes, I have sought the help of Panchakarma treatments. Sadhyo vamana (instant emesis) and Sadhyo Virechana (instant purgation) have done the magic several times.  They have instantly relieved the itching associated with allergies, food poisoning, gut infections, liver diseases, skin diseases like psoriasis, urticaria and many other diseases.

A complete course of Vamana and or Virechana will be invariably needed in stubborn itching associated with chronic systemic and skin disorders.

Most of the times I have started the treatment of Kandu with anti-helminthic (krimi hara chikitsa) / de-worming medicines to expel worms. Results are obvious quickly. I have also ended the treatment by advising Rasayanas or immune modulators for longer periods, especially in chronic itching to prevent relapse of the symptoms. Many medicines enlisted in the classic formulations act as Rasayanas, they need to be chosen skilfully.

Just before finishing –
Just like the modern medical science, Ayurveda too had given an elaborate approach towards effectively handling acute and chronic Kandu vis-à-vis pruritus. But the references are available in a scattered way just like in many other diseases. The formulations for Kandu also have been found in various contexts like in Kushta, Krimi, Visarpa, Visphota and in the chapters dealing with other systemic diseases. It is a matter of fact that we find right formulations for right conditions.

Ayurveda has highly effective cure for pruritus (itching). The key is diagnosis in an Ayurveda way. We need to crack the pathogenesis and catch hold of the culprit dosha or disease which is causing itching.

After these things have been screened out, we will be left out with perfect planning of line of treatment.

Ayurveda has a supremacy over other medical systems towards treating the worst and complicated pruritus just because of the availability of variety of treatments including Panchakarma. The formulations having herbs which act on a broader spectrum of diseases, the formulations having natural and ‘safe to consume herbs’ in their combination will make them the best medicines in the business of comprehensive ‘pruritus management’.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

2 thoughts on “Diet And Ayurvedic medicines For Itching”

    • For Sadhyo Virechan as well, The regular medicines such as Trivrit Lehyam, Nimbamritadi castor oil etc are used – the difference lies with the number of days of Snehana and Swedana.
      Same with Vamana.
      In Both Sadya Vamana and Virechana, generally milder medicines or medicines in lower doses are administered to avoid complications.


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