This article aims to explain the detailed Ayurvedic prospective of Eczema. There are lot of sanskrit words or phrases used in the article to keep the authenticity of the information discussed in famous Ayurvedic texts books. If you are looking for a simple information on Eczema, we also have another easy to read article on Eczema available in the treatment section of our website.
All skin diseases are explained under the heading Kushta in Ayurveda. Kushta (Skin disease) is Raktapradoshaja Vikara (due to the vitiation of blood tissue).
Skin disorders in Ayurveda is mainly classified into 2 types :
Mahakushta (Major Skin Problems) and Kshudrakushta (Minor Skin Problems)
Ayurveda Samhitas have mentioned 18 types of Kushta (Skin diseases) in total, 7 are classified as Mahakushta (Major Skin Problems) and 11 are classified as Kshudrakushta (Minor Skin Problems).
Eczema is most closely referred as Vicharchika in Ayurveda and it is explained under Kshudrakushta (Minor Skin Problem).
Eczema in Ayurveda is categoried into two types:
Role of Doshas and Dhatus in relation to optimal functioning of skin:
What is Kushta (Skin disease)?
Kushta (Skin disease) is defined as “Kushnateeti Kushtam” meaning the disease in which the affected part of the body, that is skin is destroyed.
Ayurvedic Definition of Vicharchika (Eczema)
रक्तं श्यावं सदाहार्ति शतारू: स्याबहुव्रणम्।
सकण्डू : पिडका श्यावा बहुस्त्रवा विचर्चिका।। C.S.Ch. 7/21-26.
Acharya Charaka in His famous Ayurvedic Text book called Charaks Samhita Chikitsa Sthana, Chapter 7 versus 21-26 described Vicharchika (Eczema) as a cutaneous eruption with itching and burning followed by cracks of the skin and dryness. Skin becomes Shyava varna (Bluish black coloration) and Pidikas (Eruptions) occur with association of Srava (Discharge), Kandu (Itching), Raji (Lines on skin), Arati (Discomfort), Ruja (Pain), Rukshata (Dryness).
Causative factors (Nidana) of Ezcema
विरोधीन्यन्नपानानि द्रवस्निग्धानि गुरूणिच। भजतामागतां च्छर्दि वेगांश्चान्यांन्पतिघ्नताम्।।
व्यायाममतिसंतापमतिभुक्तोपसेविनाम्। शीतोष्णलंघनाहारान् क्रममुक्त्वानिषेविणाम् ।।
धर्मश्रमभयार्तानां द्रुतं शीतांबुसेविनाम्। अजीर्णाध्यशिना चैव पंचकर्मापचारिणाम्।।
नवान्नदधिमत्स्यातिलवणाम्लनिषेवणाम् । माषमूलकमिष्टान्नतिलक्षीरगुडाशिनाम्।।
व्यवायं चाप्यजीर्णेऽन्ने निद्रां च भजतां दिवा।विप्रांन् गुरून् घर्षयतांपापं कर्म च कुर्वताम्।।
मिथ्याहारविहारेण विशेषेणविरोधिना। साधुनिन्दावधान्यस्वहरणा छैच सेवितैः ।
पाप्मभिः कर्मभिः सद्यः प्राक्तनैः प्रेरिता मलाः।।
Acharya Charak and Acharya Vagbhatta in their respective books Charak Samhita and Ashtanga Hridya have described Causative factors of Vicharchika (Eczema) under the category of different types of Skin disease. It is a divided into three categories.
Ayureveda suggested that the following food items cause Vicharchika (Eczema).
Eczema is caused due to continued indulgence in the following lifestyle factors.
Bad Conduct or behavioural choices leading to Ezcema:
Ayurveda mentions that the one who had previously (in pervious life) or has indulged in Sinful acts in present life, is prone to skin disorders like Vicharchika (Eczema).
Samprapti (Pathogenesis) of Eczema Disease:
वातादयोस्त्रयो दुष्टास्त्वक् रक्तंमासमम्बु च। दूषायन्ति स कुष्ठानां सप्तको द्रव्यसंग्रहः।।
अतः कुष्ठानि जायन्ते सप्तं च एकादशैव च। न चैकदोषज किचित् कुष्ठं समुपलभ्यते ।।
नचकिञ्चिदस्ति कुष्ठमेकदोषप्रकारपनिमित्तम्, अस्ति तु खलु समानप्रकृतिनामपि कुष्ठानां दोषांशांशविकल्पानुबन्ध स्थानविभागेन वेदनावर्णप्रभावनामचिकित्सिविशेषः ।
त्रयो दोषाः युगपत् प्रकोपमाद्यन्ते; त्वगादयश्चत्वारः शैथील्यमा-पद्यन्ते ;तेषुशिथिलेषु दोषाः, प्रकुपिताः
स्थानमधिगम्य संतिष्ठ-मानास्तानेव त्वगादीन् दूषयन्तः कुष्ठान्यभि निर्वर्तयन्ति।।
Acharya Charaka has mentioned in his diagnostic text of Ayurveda Charaks Samhita Nidaan Sthana chapter 5 and Jesus 3-5 that Tridosha with Kapha predominance get vitiated because of the above causative factors and spread through the Channels of circulation causing Obstruction in Srotas (Circulatory Channels) at the level of skin, blood tissue, muscle tissue, lymphatic tissue, causing amalgamation of vitiated Doshas with the Dhatus or tissues leading to Vicharchika (Eczema).
Kushta (Skin disease) is the most troublesome disease according to one of the most renowned scholars of Ayurveda, Acharya Susrutha. Due to indulgence in faulty diet and lifestyle, the three Doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha get aggravated and in turn vitiate the body elements – Twak (Skin), Mamsa (Muscle tissue), Rakta (Blood tissue) and Ambu or Lasika (Water element). These 7 factors (3 Doshas and the 4 factors) manifest on the skin and cause the disease Kushta (Skin disease). These 7 factors are called as Sapta Dushya Sangraha of Kushta, that is the combination of seven vitiated elements of skin diseases. All 18 types of Kushta (Skin disease) are produced because of the complex 7 body elements but the Dosha predominance varies in each type.
According to Charaka Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya famous texts of Ayurveda, Kapha Dosha is the predominant Dosha in Vicharchika (Eczema). But Susrutha Samhita states that Vicharchika (Eczema) is Pitta Dosha predominant.
Indulgence in causative factors increases Vata. Vata in association with vitiated Pitta and Kapha enters into the blood circulation that transversely spread over the body surface and Vata deposits the increased Pitta and Kapha on the skin through blood and then increases the elements and spreads them to the entire surface of the body.
According to Susrutha Samhita, the causative factors vitiate the Vata Dosha. This aggravated Vata in association with vitiated Pitta and Kapha enters into the blood vessels thereby spreading on the body. Thus, the vitiated Vata spreads the aggravated Pitta and Kapha on the entire surface of the body. The regions on the skin where this aggravated Pitta and Kapha are deposited become the site of Vicharchika, hence appearing to be patchy and discoloured. When the person keeps indulging in causative or aggravating factors continuously, the condition aggravated, forcing the vitiated Doshas to reach deeper layers of the skin thereby affecting deeper tissues of the body like blood and muscular tissue.
Ayurvedic Pathogenesis of Vicharchika (Eczema) are summarized below -
Purvarupa (Premonitory Symptoms) of Eczema
The following are the premonitory symptoms of Vicharchika (Eczema). Prolonged indulgence in causative factors will produce the following premonitory systems.
If the person consults an Ayurveda physician at this stage and takes timely treatment, Eczema can be cured completely and easily.
The following are the Rupa (Clinical Symptoms), that is clear cut symptoms when the disease has manifested completely.
Skin disorders are of 2 types – one which spreads suddenly and quickly like in Visarpa (Herpes) and the other with develops slowly and gradually as a lesion as seen in Kushta (Skin disease). Viicharchika (Eczema) falls under second group, that is Kushta (Skin disease) group.
Specific Clinical Feature of Eczema
Specific clinical feature of Vicharchika (Eczema) mentioned by different Acharya’s are explained below.
Involvement of Kapha Dosha produces Kandu (Itching), that of Vata Dosha produces Shyava Pidika (Bluish black eruptions) and involvement of Pitta Dosha produces Srava (Exudation).
According to Acharya Charaka, like a small plant can be uprooted easily, the disease can be easily treated or even cured in the early stage. But when the disease becomes chronic, it becomes difficult and requires efforts.
According to Acharya Susrutha, if the disease affects only skin, blood or flesh, then it is easily curable.
When one single Dosha is involved or Kapha and Vata are vitiated, it is curable. If left untreated, Vicharchika (Eczema) reaches all the tissues of the body and causes complications like Atisveda (excess sweating), Atisarava (excess exudation), Dushtavrana (Non-healing ulcer) and infestation of Krimi (maggots) that destroy the hair, skin, ligaments, arteries and cartilages one by one.
Treatment aims at balancing the predominantly vitiated Dosha first and the secondary Dosha can be treated afterwards. Treatment aims a Raktaprasadana (Purification of blood), Kandugna (Reducing itching) and balancing the three Doshas.
Treatment involves the following steps.
In Vata predominant Eczema, Oral administration of ghee is recommended, in Pitta predominant Eczema, Virechana (Therapeutic purgation) and in Kapha predominant Eczema, Vamana (Therapeutic emesis) is advised. Also, when Doshas are mildly increased, Prachana (Bloodletting by multiple pricks) is suggested and when greatly increased Siravyadhana (Venesection) is indicated.
According to Acharya Sharangadhara, the Doshas are greatly increased in Kushta hence Symptomatic treatment will not be very effective. Depending upon the severity of the Eczema and strength and tolerance ability of the patient, Raktamokshana (Bloodletting) can be done once in 6 months, Virechana (Therapeutic purgation) once a month and Vamana (Therapeutic vomiting) once in 15 days as per the therapeutic needs. If the patient is weak, then trying to eliminate toxins and restore balance of Doshas at once with Panchakarma can weaken the patient.
Shodhana (Detoxification) is not done in Children, elderly or weak person and Pregnant ladies.
Shamana (Pacification Treatment):
It helps to balance the Doshas, Purify Blood, Nourish the Skin through diet and herbs. Bitter & Astringent herbs and food articles are recommended as they are soothing, healing and dries up the vitiated fluids because of the roughness, coarseness and non-sliminess properties.
Bahya Parimarjana (External Therapies)
Shastra Parimarjana (Surgical intervention)
Raktamokshana (Bloodletting) by Jalauka (Leech therapy). Acharya Susrutha has explained the benefits of Leech therapy in Eczema. Leech Therapy decreases Itching, Eruptions, Bleeding / Redness and Burning sensation. Leech saliva has antifungal and anti-infection property hence effective in Eczema. Jalaukavacharana (Leech therapy) can be done once in 7 days and done after local Abhyanga (Massage) and Swedana (Fomentation).
Nasya (Nasal Medication)
Nasal medication using herbal powders or Ayurvedic oils is indicated in case of Krimi (Worm infestation related Skin diseases and increased Kapha is suggested.
Rasayana (Rejuvenation herbs)
These are administered after the treatment of Eczema for remission and prevention of recurrence. Rasayana herbs mainly Tuvaraka, Bakuchi, Chitrakamoola etc are effective in Eczema. Guduchi Swarasa or Guduchi Kwatha or Guduchi Siddha Ghrita is recommended for one month.
As diet & lifestyle play a major role in supporting treatment, indulgence in wholesome diet and lifestyle will enhance cure of Eczema. The following food items should be included in daily diet by people suffering from Vicharchika (Eczema) -
Apathya Ahara – Vihara (Unwholesome Diet & Lifestyle)
Food articles predominant of Amla Rasa (Sour taste), Madhura rasa (Sweet taste), Katu rasa (Pungent taste), Lavana rasa (Salt taste); Guru Ahara (Heavy to digest food), Kshira (Milk), Dadhi (Curd), Anupa Mamsa (Meat of aquatic animals), Matsya (Fish), Guda (Jaggery), Tila (Sesame seeds), Kulatha (Horsegram), Masha (Black gram), Vidahi Anna (Spicy food), Madhya (Alcohol)
Abhishyandi & Vishtambi Anna (Foods that cause obstruction in the channels of circulation),
Ikshu varga (Products prepared from sugarcane) are said to aggravate Vicharchika (Eczema). So a person suffering from Vicharchika (Eczema) should reduce or avoid consuming these food articles in diet.
Industrial pollution and contact with Chemicals and Detergents, Humid, watery, cold contact increases Vicharchika (Eczema).
The reason why these articles are unwholesome in Vicharchika (Eczema) are explained below.
Thus, Ayurveda approach to Vicharchika (Eczema) can be holistic, safe and effective if taken under supervison of an Ayurvedic Practitioner.
If you wish to know more or want to consult Ayurveda, you may choose to contact one of our Ayurveda Doctors Gurnam Saini or Pooja Saini in Melbourne. You may contact us at "Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic". People who can't reach us personally, may choose for online Ayurveda consultation.
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Ayurveda stads for extensive and elaborate clinical examination to understand thenature of the disease