Psoriasis is an immune mediated disorder that hasten regeneration of skin cells. The excessive cells accumulate in patches on skin surface. These appear red and scaly and are itchy and painful at times.
Psoriasis is non-contagious and can be well managed with treatment along with diet and lifestyle measures.
What causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a systemic auto immune condition that initially manifests in the skin and later may affect other organs and systems.
According to Ayurveda, psoriasis is caused due to the derangement of physiological processes in the body leading to abnormal immune responses and metabolic disturbances. Factors leading to this derangement may include heredity, unhealthy food habits, accumulation of toxins in the body, prolonged periods of stress, viral or bacterial infections, addictions and habituations to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs etc.
The scriptures specifically mention that in addition to environmental pollutants and ingested toxins, certain combination of foods produce toxic bye products within the body during the digestive process. These include stale foods, processed foods, excessively acidic/sour foods, and wrong combination of otherwise healthy foods referred to as virudha aharas [for eg: fish and milk is considered virudha ahara, like wise honey and ghee in equal portions is virudha].
Different types of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is classified into different types. The most common variant is the Plaque psoriasis [almost 85% of cases]. The lesions appear as thickened, red patches covered with silvery white accumulation of dead skin cells. These appear mostly on the scalp, elbows, lower back and knees. They may be dry, itchy, swollen and painful, and can crack and bleed.
Guttate psoriasis, the second most common type, is characterized by small, dot-like lesions and is often triggered by a strep infection. About 10 percent of all psoriasis cases are guttate psoriasis.
Psoriasis that shows up as smooth, inflamed patches of skin in body folds is known as Inverse psoriasis. It appears in skin folds like behind the knee, under the arm or breasts and in the groin etc. Many of these cases have another type simultaneously elsewhere in body.
Pustular psoriasis appear as white non infectious pustules surrounded by red skin and occurs most often on the hands or feet.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis is a severe form seen in 3% of cases and involves widespread reddishness and exfoliation covering most of the body surface. It may cause severe dryness, itching, swelling, and pain and often appears in people who have unstable plaque psoriasis.
Ayurvedic treatment for Psoriasis in Kerala, India
Authentic Ayurvedic treatment course for psoriasis in Kerala, involves three stages
- Shodhana This is the initial detoxification or cleansing phase of the treatment. This is done through a five fold process known as panchakarma. This may be seen as a preparatory phase.
- Shamana This is the healing phase where the immune system is calmed and deranged processes brought back to balance. The existing lesions are treated and healed during this phase.
- Rasayana This is the rejuvenative/nourishing and stabilising phase of the treatment for lasting cure. Specific rasayana formulations are recommended for a particular period following treatment
Ayurvedic diet in Psoriasis
Following a strict psoriasis friendly diet plan can have a very positive effect on the disease. And it may even help the symptoms to go into remission.
The items to avoid as much as possible in psoriasis are:
- Processed / preserved / frozen foods and junk / fast food
- Non vegetarian foods
- Refined sugar
- Excessively sour and salty foods
- All dairy
Food Items that may be beneficial in psoriasis are:
- Fruits and veggies
- Salad greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli and cabbage etc
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like flax seed
- Spices like turmeric, thyme, sage, cumin, and ginger
- Seeds and nuts
- Oils like virgin Olive and Virgin coconut
Its also a good idea to take natural supplements to compensate for any shortages in nutrition in your diet. Consult a physician to see if you require any supplements.
Best ayurvedic medicine for psoriasis, to help heal the skin lesions naturally
There are a several oils and lepans [paste] processed with different herbs recommended in Ayurveda for external application in psoriasis depending on the stage and type.
The most potent among those, and the one that has been found effective in most cases of psoriasis is a herb known as Svetakutaja or Vettupalai [Wrightia tinctoria]. Oil infused with vettupalai leaves is available in ayurveda stores under different brand names. The oil is not boiled at any stage and is infused under sun’s rays alone, over a period of weeks. Apply this oil on the lesions twice daily for quick results.
Psoriasis home treatment to relieve skin itching
Application of a good moisturizer can help relieve the symptoms of itchiness.
Virgin coconut oil mixed with equal portion of Vaseline jelly can be an effective moisturiser you can make at home. The vaseline jelly will form a protective seal within the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) to lock in the virgin coconut oil and moisture and help heal dry skin and relieve itching. Apply this towards the end of your bath while you are still wet. After applying the mix, shower in plain water again. Dont use soap after and dont wipe. Just pat dry to lock in the moisture and oil.
You can also use aloe vera gel instead of Vaseline if you so prefer.
Managing stress in psoriasis
Stress is a part of today’s fast and demanding life style and no one can run away from it. Some people deal with it better, while some are downed.
Yoga, pranayama [breathing exercises] and meditation are proven ways to manage stress. Join a yoga class and master techniques to take control over your stress. It will help you not only with psoriasis but in every aspect of your life and health.
Psoriasis is classified as a disease with no cure. However, from experience, we have seen numerous cases go into complete remission following ayurvedic treatment.
If you suffer from psoriasis, don’t lose hope. Meet with an Ayurveda doctor and explore the treatment possibilities. It could become a defining moment in your struggle with psoriasis.
Kerala has some of the best ayurvedic doctors for Psoriasis in India, who are experienced in treating psoriasis with exceptional success. You can also search online and find the best ayurvedic treatment centres or hospitals for psoriasis, close to your own location.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity – Hippocrates