Ayurveda describes a skin disease as Vicharchika. It is a skin condition with eruptions and itching. Eczema is where a build-up of skin cells cause a scaly and thick rash.
Ayurvedic Cure for Eczema
Ayurveda helps to balance the combination of the elements—space, air, fire, water and earth, which are the primary constituents. These elements combine to form the three different basic types of the human constitution or “Doshas” as they are called.
Dietary and lifestyle recommendations are to be classified based on an individual’s Doshas. These conditions are exhibited, when the particular dosha is in excess and is not in a state of harmony.
- Vata dosha
The skin tends to be rough, dry, itchy and scaly, constipation, interrupted sleep, anxiety and insomnia. The skin is aggravated by cold, dryness and stress and relieved by the application of oils and ointments.
Suggested diet includes foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty; warm, freshly cooked foods, spices like ginger, pepper, cinnamon and cumin; warm drinks and fluids like soups and stews and a generous amount of ghee.
Avoid foods that are bitter and pungent; cooling foods like chilled beverages, frozen foods; too much of raw foods like salads, fresh fruits, processed foods; deep-fried foods and foods that contain refined sugar.
To balance Vata dosha, one needs to introduce warmth, stability and consistency. Setting a daily routine is very important. A gentle exercise routine like yoga, walking and swimming can help.
- Pitta Dosha
The skin is usually inflamed. There is a painful feeling of heat in the body, which may be accompanied by swelling, inflammation in the body or joints and emotions of anger, irritability or frustration.
Eat foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent. Cooling foods like cucumbers and melons are recommended. Herbs like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom and freshly cooked meals are also suggested. A generous amount of ghee is needed too.
Avoid foods that are pungent, sour and salty and chillies, tomatoes, lemons, citrus fruits, deep-fried foods and red meat.
The right environment for a Pitta individual is dry and cold. Moderate exercises are recommended along with a daily routine for relaxation and other regular activities like eating, sleeping etc.
- Kapha Dosha
Here the skin is usually cold, swollen and itchy. This is generally accompanied by lethargy and sluggish metabolism and can lead to depression, fluid retention etc. Cold and damp conditions aggravate Kapha, while warm temperatures help balance this dosha.
Include foods that are light, warm and dry. Foods which are astringent and pungent like apples, pears, pomegranates and apricots are useful for balancing the excess Kapha. So, also the herbs and spices like ginger, pepper and black mustard.
Avoid weighty meals and highly processed foods. Cooked foods are preferable over raw. Also, avoid dairy and limit nuts and seeds.
It is beneficial to stay warm by limiting exposure to cold air and incorporating exercise routine like jogging, hiking, biking, yoga etc.
One of the essential aspects of Ayurveda for eczema includes detoxification with Panchakarma. Purification helps in removing toxins from within and at the same time calms the mind and the nervous system. The treatment has to be completely customised for an individual and should be done with the help of an ayurvedic practitioner.
Traditional Ayurvedic oil massage, herbal steam bath, and Shirodhara are very beneficial in most eczema cases and are carried out as often as desired to promote lymphatic circulation, gently cleanse the system and calm the body and mind.
Here are some herbs/roots–beneficial in eczema
- Neem– it clears the heat and toxins from the liver and blood and relieves itching.
- Guduchi [also called Amrit] relieves all three doshas, especially pitta, reducing burning and inflammation.
- Turmeric is a superfood. It is used as a potent anti-inflammatory herb that detoxifies, reduces inflammation, and relieves itching.
- Liquorice is highly anti-inflammatory that soothes the tissues
- Triphala, a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation consists of three fruits such as Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. It cleanses the entire GI tract, promotes healthy digestion and absorption and improves skin tone.
- Jatamansi is the herb, that calms the mind, replenishes the nervous system, supports and balances all doshas.
- One of the most popular Ayurvedic Herbs-Ashwagandha helps reduce the effects of stress and calms the mind.
- Tikta Ghrita [bitter medicated ghee] purifies the blood, cleanses and regulates proper liver function.
The Madras Institute of Ayurveda [MIA], Chennai has a complete out-patient department with facilities for consultation in different specialities and regular check-ups. It also has an in-patient department with well-equipped Panchakarma theatres. Successful treatment plans for various diseases are offered here. MIA was started with the aim of bringing that same genuine treatment with all facilities to a more accessible location.
So, log on to www.miayurveda,org to learn about the entire treatment plan.