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Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder that affects the skin and nails. It is marked by patches of thick, red skin covered with silvery scales that occur primarily on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. Although not life-threatening, it can be painful and cause psychological and emotional distress.
Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.
Causes of Psoriasis According To Ayurveda
Acharya Charak has described the involvement of vata and kapha in ekkushtha or psoriasis. Accumulation of toxins or ama could also lead to this diseased condition.
- Viruddha Aahar (Opposite diet or contradictory foods) and Mithya Ahara (Improper Diet): Excessive intake of yogurt, seafoods, salty foods, black gram and sour foods, spicy foods, fermented foods, menda (fine flour), and bakery products, junk foods and fast foods, refrigerated and cold foods may contribute to psoriasis.
- Mithya Vihara (Improper Life style): An irregular lifestyle disrupts the digestive process and creates imbalance in the doshas.
- Adrista Hetu (Unknown Cause)
- Excessive Physical and Mental stress
Risk factors for Psoriasis
- Family history. Perhaps the most significant risk factor for psoriasis is having a family history of the disease. About 40 percent of people with psoriasis have a family member with the disease, although this may be an underestimate.
- Viral and bacterial infections. People with HIV are more likely to develop psoriasis than people with healthy immune systems. Children and young adults with recurring infections, particularly strep throat, also may be at increased risk.
- Stress. Because stress can impact the immune system, high stress levels may increase the risk of psoriasis.
- Obesity. Excess weight increases the risk of inverse psoriasis. In addition, plaques associated with all types of psoriasis often develop in skin creases and folds.
- Smoking. Smoking tobacco not only increases the risk of psoriasis but also may increase the severity of the disease. Smoking may also play a role in the initial development of the disease.
Complications of Psoriasis
Depending on the type and location of the psoriasis and how widespread the disease is, psoriasis can cause complications. These include:
- Thickened skin and bacterial skin infections caused by scratching in an attempt to relieve severe itching
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalance in the case of severe pustular psoriasis
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
If one has psoriasis, he or she is at greater risk of developing certain diseases such as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure and elevated insulin levels; inflammatory bowel disease; cardiovascular disease and, possibly cancer.
In addition, psoriatic arthritis can be debilitating and painful, making it difficult to go about one’s daily routine. Despite medications, psoriatic arthritis can cause joint damage. Genetic factors play some role, but environmental factors also contribute to disease susceptibility.
Ayurveda and Psoriasis
According to traditional Ayurveda, the vitiation of Vata and Kapha causes psoriasis. As per ayurvedic principles, Vata and Kapha are the two basic energies that uphold the balance of our body equilibrium. Strong genetic predisposition, sun deprivation, and intense streptococcal infection on the upper respiratory tract can badly aggravate psoriasis. As per ayurveda, these conditions are strong enough to create several visible pathological changes that take place are mainly due to the accumulation of dooshi vishas or low potency poisons.
Psoriasis can be effectively treated through panchakarma therapies, which include ayurvedic treatment methods for the complete detoxification of the body, and successful elimination of harmful toxins from the body fluids.
A few health tips for psoriasis patients:
- Maintain safer distance from the possible variables that cause or aggravate psoriasis
- Practice yoga regularly. Yoga can lessen the intensity of psoriasis.
- Avoid pricking, peeling or scratching your skin.
- Make sure to pat your skin dry after washing, and avoid rubbing vigorously with towel or any rough cloth.
- Avoid artificial cleansers and use gram flour (besan flour) instead.
- Use cotton clothes
- Avoid cold water bath or immediate cleaning up right after heavy work-out, long walks, or travel.
- Avoid food stuffs that can cause indigestion.
- Avoid excessive salty and acidic food stuffs, radish, urad dal, sesame, jaggery (gur), curds, fish and other sour food stuffs that can trigger psoriasis.
Panchkarma Treatment for Psoriasis
With the aim of better control on Psoriasis, Ayurveda also has a specific schedule comprised of various Panchkarma treatment aspects that includes purely herbal originated internal and external medications. A Rough idea of this complete Panchkarma treatment is as follows:
- Consumption of medicated ghee, considering the Dosha type of the Psoriasis and the person, for 7 to 10 days.
- Vaman & Virechan – is done by inducing vomiting (Vamana) and purgation (Virechana)
- Shirodhara – The above detoxification is followed by medicated Oil or Buttermilk dripping overhead (Shirodhara) and pasting the entire body with a paste of medicines and mud.
- Vasties (medicated enemas) – these are being done for 8-10 days and internal medicines like herbal formulations, herbal concoctions and medicated ghee need to be consumed for at least 120 to 180 days.
A strict diet regime need to be followed during the entire treatment period and it is better to continue as vegetarian diet. Non Veg, Alcohols and salted thing have to be restricted. It is better to avoid junk food also. Psoriatic must keep a state of mental calmness. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an ayurveda.