Ayurveda: A ray of hope for Psoriasis

By: DR.BISHNU PRASAD SARMA1   and DR. MUNMEE DAS2

 

Author: PROF BISHNU PRASAD SARMA
Author: PROF BISHNU PRASAD SARMA

Psoriasis is a common, genetically determined, inflammatory skin disorder of unknown cause which in its most usual form is characterized by well demarcated raised red scaling patches that preferentially localize to the extensor surfaces. It can have a significant negative impact on the physical, emotional, and psychosocial well-being of affected patients.

 

There are several clinical cutaneous manifestations of psoriasis but most commonly the disease presents as chronic, symmetrical, erythematous, scaling papules and plaques. It may start at any age but is rare under 10 years and commonest between 15 and 40.Around 125 million people around the world are suffering from Psoriasis.42% of the people are suffering from Psoriatic Arthritis. Let’s learn about the types of Psoriasis.

 

There are 5 main types of Psoriasis- 

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1)Erythodermic Psoriasis: The skin redness is very intense and covers a large area,2) Guttate Psoriasis: Small, pink-red spots appear on the skin,3) Scalp psoriasis,4)Plaque type: Thick red patches of skin are covered by flaky, silver white scales. This is the most common type of Psoriasis,5)Pustular type: White blisters are surrounded by red, irritated skin.

 

Whom does Psoriasis affect?

Psoriasis affects nearly three percent of the world’s population. It can develop in males or females of any race or age. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can strike at any age including infants and the elderly.

 

Causes of  Psoriasis-

No one knows exactly what causes psoriasis. Doctors believe it is related to the body’s immune system and that it is genetic, meaning that it can run in families. In people with psoriasis, the immune system is mistakenly “triggered” causing skin cells to grow too fast. The rapidly growing cells pile up in the skin’s top layers, leading to the formation of lesions on the surface.

 

How bad can Psoriasis get?

Psoriasis can be limited to a few areas of the skin (mild), or it can be moderate or widespread and severe. A normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days and sheds from the skin unnoticed. Psoriatic skin cells mature within seven days. They “heap up” and form scaly lesions. Psoriasis lesions can be painful and itchy and they can crack and bleed. 

 

How do I know I have psoriasis?

Your doctor usually makes the diagnosis after looking at the skin. Occasionally a physician examines a skin biopsy under a microscope. Pitting of the nails is sometimes a sign of psoriasis. There is no specific medical test for psoriasis.

 

Any cure for psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a disorder that most often needs lifelong treatment. Ayurvedic medicines have shown encouraging results in the management of Psoriasis. And because there are so many different medications for the disorder, it may take some time before the right treatment or combination of treatments will work for an individual. In some cases, psoriasis can go away on its own for a period of time, which is known as a “spontaneous remission.” 

Ayurved and Psoriasis: Ayurved provides centuries old ,time tested treatment for Psoriasis. Various herbs are known to stop the progression of the disease. Ayurvedic therapies which involve use of herbs and different oils have shown to bring remission of Psoriasis.

Research work was carried out on 30 patients of Psoriasis at Govt.Ayurvedic College & Hospital, Jalukbari, Guwahati, Assam, to assess the effect of some Ayurvedic medicines and therapies. The patients were selected irrespective of their sex, creed and socio-economic status .

The registered 30 patients were divided into two groups as Group – A and  Group – B .The inclusion of the patients into these two groups were done randomly. In both the groups of patients internal medicine and the trial drug oil were given uniformly. In the trial group ‘A’ the fomentation was given in addition to the oral medicine and the trial drug oil.

 

Selection of Medicines for the Study-

Internal Medicine-Panchatiktaghrita guggulu

External Application (A)- Strikutaja oil

External Application (B) Fomentation – the traditional therapy

Internal Medicine, the main ingredients : Panchatiktaghrita guggulu-

Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia),Haridra (Curcuma longa) ,Triphala (Amalaki; Vibhitaki and Haritaki),Neem (Azadirachta indica),Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia),Vasa (Adhatoda vasica),Patola Patra (Trichosanthes dioca),Kantakari (Solanum surratense),Ghruta (Clarified butter),Patha(Cissampelos pareira ),Vidanga (Embelia ribes),Devadaru (Cedrus deodara),Indrayava (Holerrhena antidysenterica),Vacha (Acorus calamus),Shunthi (Zingiber officinale),Kutaki (Picrorrhiza kurroa),Jeera (Cuminum cyminum),Maricha (Piper longum),Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)

 

Role of Ingredients: 

Neem: (Azadirachta indica) : Neem is specially indicated for the purification of blood. It is recommended for all skin diseases. Because of its usefulness in skin diseases it is named as “Pichumarda” which itself means beneficial in skin diseases.

 

Guduchi:(Tinospora cordifolia)Guduchi is very useful to correct the metabolism. Disturbance in metabolism is often involved in skin diseases and other indications for the Pancha Tikta Ghruta Guggulu.

 

Vasa:(Adhatoda vasica) Vasa is recommended for respiratory system problems. It is also recommended for the heart problems.

 

PatolaPatra: (Trichosanthes dioca) Patola Patra nourishes and corrects the working of liver. It corrects the digestive system improves complexion and nourishes the skin.

 

Kantakari:(Solanum     surratens)  Kantakari pacifies the Vata and Kapha Doshas; supports the respiratory system. Kantakari is also beneficial for digestive and urinary systems.

 

Patha: (Cissampelos pareira ) Patha pacifies all the three Doshas. It corrects the digestive system, removes toxins from the body, nourishes the skin and improves body strength.

 

Vidanga:(Embelia        ribes)  Vidanga is the best Ayurveda herb with anthelmintic properties; it is also a good Rasayana herb. It also improves the metabolic fire in digestive system as well as on tissue level.

 

Devadaru: (Cedrus deodara ) Devadaru supports the digestive system; it corrects the metabolism and helps in proper healing of wounds. 

 

Manjishtha: (Rubia cordifolia) Manjishtha is among the best Ayurveda herbs to cleanse the blood; nourishes the skin; detoxifies the body. It works well in all skin diseases.

 

Triphala: (Amalaki; Vibhitaki and Haritaki)Triphala is a well known detoxifying Ayurveda formulation which removes all the toxins and rejuvenates all the systems of body.

 

Vacha: (Acorus calamus)  Vacha is recommended for flatulence, constipated bowel; it supports both the urinary and digestive system. Vacha stimulates the skin and induces sweating. These make Vacha an important herb for skin diseases.

 

Shunthi: (Zingiber officinale) Shunthi is among the best Ayurveda herbs to correct the metabolism. When the metabolism will be okay for sure it will benefit in skin diseases.

 

Haridra: (Curcuma longa)  Haridra is well known for anti septic, blood cleanser and nourishes the skin. It enhances the complexion and benefits in all skin diseases.

 

Kutaki:(Picrorrhiza     kurroa) Kutaki stimulates the liver and ensures proper secretion of bile juices. Liver has an important role in digestion as well as in skin health.

 

Indrayava: (Holerrhena antidysenterica) Indrayava pacifies all the three Doshas; nourishes and corrects the digestive system; it is specially recommended for the skin diseases. It also benefits in hemorrhoids.

 

Jeera: (Cuminum cyminum )Jeera is among the best Ayurveda herbs to correct the digestive system; this makes it an important ingredient of Indian spices. It is recommended for cleansing of body specially the female reproductive organs; nourishing the skin and all Vata diseases.

 

Maricha: (Piper  longum)Maricha stimulates the fire component of body in digestive system as well as on tissue level. It helps in expelling out the hard deposited toxins from the body.

 

Guggulu: (Commiphora mukul) Guggulu is well known for its metabolism correcting, anti hyper choleterolemic, nourishing and supporting property for accompanying herbs.  

 

Ghrita: Ghrita is among the nutritive and anti oxidant food supplements. It is having all the characteristics of the Ojas – the immune fluid of body which makes Ghruta a best supplement with rejuvenating and revitalizing properties.

 

Results obtained in Group A were more remarkable in comparison to Group B.

When the significance of efficacy of treatment in Group A and Group B were tested by Unpaired ‘t’ test the ‘t’ value obtained for itching was 2.22 (p<0.05), for erythema it was 2.93 (p<0.01) and for scaling the ‘t’ value obtained was 2.5 (p<0.02). 

 

Thus the overall outcome of the study was significant indicating that the Ayurvedic medicines and the trial drug oil therapy along with fomentation has an effective role in the treatment of Psoriasis.

 

The pictures of some patients before and after treatment are shown below:

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1 Prof & HOD , Govt. Ayurvedic College, Jalukbari, Guwahati, Assam. Dean, Faculty of Ayurvedic Medicines, SSUHS.

2 Lecturer, Govt. Ayurvedic College, Jalukbari, Guwahati, Assam.