Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by hyperproliferation of keratocytes. The basic pathology is that the skin cells grow abnormally faster. The normal course is that new cell replaces dead cells when they shed off. The rapid growth of new skin cells leads to accumulation before the dead skin cells shed, resulting in thick patches of dry skin with itching. It is not contagious and has a fluctuating course with remissions and relapses.
The exact cause is unclear and it is considered to be a disorder of the immune system with genetic association. The major triggering factors of psoriasis are:
Features vary depending upon the type of psoriasis.
Stable plaque psoriasis:
Most common type
Raised red patches of skin with pain and itching
Silvery white scaling can be seen
Areas mostly affected are scalp, knees, elbows and lower back.
Commonly seen in children and adolescents
May follow a streptococcal sore throat infection
Leisons are small and dot-like
Small, non infectious pustules erupt on a red base.
It can be either generalized which is more serious or localized affecting only the palms and soles.
Fever may also be associated in the generalized form.
Found in the entire body
There is widespread redness, pain and severe itching
It is a rare but severe type.
Hypothermia or hyperthermia may develop.
Characterized by red lesions which are smooth and shiny.
Found in body folds (armpits, groins, under breasts)
Skin diseases come under the broad heading of Kushta roga. The condition psoriasis in Ayurvedic view is considered to be a Vata Kaphaja Kushta roga.Vata dosha is responsible for the severe dryness and scaling of skin whereas Kapha dosha is responsible for itching.
The principle of management circles around the condition of both the roga (disease) and the rogi (patient). Thus a proper history taking to assess the probable causes of disease, triggering factors, emotional state of the patient, medical records, family history, dietary habits, locality where he or she lives etc are necessary. Patient should be given proper clarification, reassurance and directions since this is a chronic skin disease condition with unpredicted remissions and relapses.
The treatment is broadly classified as:
Sodhana chikitsa is required if the disease has an extensive spread and longer duration of onset which indicates much vitiation of doshas. These vitiated doshas must be expelled out of the body. Depending upon the dosha that is vitiated more, the type of sodhana required is selected.
Samana chikitsa aims at stabilizing the immune system of body, maintaining proper digestive capacity and can be done using the wide range of medications like Kashaya, Arishta, Asava, Avaleha, Ghrita, Gutika etc along with psychological support.
Apart from medicinal properties of ghee, the medicinal qualities of herbs with which it is processed, helps to mitigate the disease especially the dryness. Usually the treatment begins with administration of ghee.
The dose of medicated ghee to be taken depends upon the intensity and stage of disease. If expulsion of vitiated doshas is required (sodhana), a larger dose is administered for a period of 5 to 7 days. If only pacifying the doshas is needed (samana), a smaller dose is given for a longer duration.
Pathya is the proper regimen of diet which will help resolve the pathogenesis of the disease better. Since food is the basic requirement for the proper functioning of body, a wise planning of diet that will help push down the disease is necessary along with suitable medications.
They are medications that can rejuvenate the body tissues and maintain their proper health. Thus the irregularity in the skin cycle occurring in psoriasis can be corrected with use of Rasayanas.
A wise combination of the above treatments can bring significant restoration of health in psoriatic patients.
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