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Ayurvedic Treatment for Psoriasis
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Psoriasis is a chronic, non-infectious disease that affects mainly the skin. It is currently suspected to be autoimmune in origin. It commonly causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, although some patients have no dermatological symptoms. The scaly patches caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites and takes on a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area including the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet, and genitals.
In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the extensor aspect of the joint. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Fingernails and toenails are frequently affected (psoriatic nail dystrophy) and can be seen as an isolated finding. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Ten to fifteen percent of people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis. Factors that may aggravate psoriasis include stress, withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. Because of its chronic recurrent nature, psoriasis is a challenge to treat.
The exact cause remains unknown. There may be a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. The immune system plays a major role.
The symptoms of psoriasis can manifest in a variety of forms. Variants include;
- Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) is the most common form of psoriasis. It affects 80 to 90% of people with psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis typically appears as raised areas of inflamed skin covered with silvery white scaly skin. These areas are called plaques.
- Flexural psoriasis (inverse psoriasis) appears as smooth inflamed patches of skin. It occurs in skin folds, particularly around the genitals (between the thigh and groin), the armpits, under an overweight stomach (pannus), and under the breasts (inframammary fold). It is aggravated by friction and sweat, and is vulnerable to fungal infections.
- Guttate psoriasis is characterized by numerous small round spots (differential diagnosis—pityriasis rosea—oval shape lesion). These numerous spots of psoriasis appear over large areas of the body, such as the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is associated with streptococcal throat infection.
- Pustular psoriasis appears as raised bumps that are filled with non-infectious pus (pustules). The skin under and surrounding the pustules are red and tender. Pustular psoriasis can be localized, commonly to the hands and feet (palmoplantar pustulosis), or generalized with widespread patches occurring randomly on any part of the body.
- Nail psoriasis produces a variety of changes in the appearance of finger and toe nails. These changes include discoloring under the nail plate, pitting of the nails, lines going across the nails, thickening of the skin under the nail, and the loosening (onycholysis) and crumbling of the nail.
- Psoriatic arthritis involves joint and connective tissue inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint but is most common in the joints of the fingers and toes. This can result in a sausage-shaped swelling of the fingers and toes known as dactylitis. Psoriatic arthritis can also affect the hips, knees and spine (spondylitis). About 10-15% of people who have psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis involves the widespread inflammation and exfoliation of the skin over most of the body surface. It may be accompanied by severe itching, swelling and pain. It is often the result of an exacerbation of unstable plaque psoriasis, particularly following the abrupt withdrawal of systemic treatment. This form of psoriasis can be fatal, as the extreme inflammation and exfoliation disrupt the body's ability to regulate temperature and for the skin to perform barrier functions.
Psoriasis is a very common condition. The disorder may affect people of any age, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35. The condition cannot be spread to others. Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families.
Diagnosis is usually based on what the skin looks like. Sometimes, a skin biopsy is done to rule out other possible conditions. If associated with joint pain, x-rays may be ordered.
Nidhana & Samprapthi
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Psoriasis is caused due to the vitiation of vata and kapha doshas. Accumulation of toxins or ama, could also lead to this disease condition. Excessive intake of yogurt, seafood, salty foods, black gram and sour food can cause an aggravation in the disease condition. Psoriasis may also develop due to excess stress.
Treatment / Remedies of Psoriasis
- Snehana (Internal - Snehapana & External – Vetpala Thaila Abyangam) & Swedana
- Shodhana: Vamana & Virechana
- Shamana: Internal medications and Takra Dhara for external treatment
The external applications in the form of cream / shampoo / Aloe Vera are a symptomatic treatment that gives relief for some time.
Diet for Psoriasis
A minimum of two litres of water should be consumed daily. Diet should contain lots of green leafy vegetables The following foods are popular triggers (worsen)of psoriasis – aerated bottle drinks, alcohol, red meat, sea foods, chilies, hot spices, junk foods, oily foods, berries (such as strawberries) tomato, most acidic foods and vitamin-c. People with poor diets are likely to have much worse psoriasis.
- Marked reduction in itching and scaling
- Very less chance of recurrence
- Long lasting results
- Helps build immunity
Disclaimer: * Outcomes may vary from person to person