Ayurvedic Management of ECZEMA

Eczema is a skin disease, mostly accompanied by severe itching. In the chronic stages, there may be oozing of pus and bleeding from the affected regions. It is also commonly referred to as dermatitis. In Ayurveda, eczema is known as Vicharchika. It is caused due to the vitiation of all the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Eczema generally refers to a range of persistent skin conditions with visible signs such as redness, itching, flaking, blistering, cracking, pigmentation, fissures, scratch marks, oozing , bleeding etc. It is Pitta that controls all the metabolic activities in the body. An aggravated Pitta will manifest itself in the form of various skin diseases such as Eczema. Other factors such as climate, age, food, stress, nature of the skin etc also play a vital role in the occurrence of this disease. In some cases, however, hereditary factors also do play a vital part in the occurrence of this disease. Eczema is basically classified in to two types. Exogenous and endogenous. In the former, there is no secretion whereas in the latter, water may come out from the patches, either due to scratching or otherwise. Eczema is a constitutional disease. Its cause is deep-seated within the body. Hence external medications are not effective in eczema.

Snehapana: Medicated ghee, eaten in empty stomach is called snehapanam. The treatment involves the removal of hard-core toxins and wastes from the body. Snehapanam is one of the excellent pre purification therapies. The ghee lubricates all the channels of the body, including the lymph, and forces out the toxins from them, into the digestive tract. It also calms down the mind and reduces mental stress. As a result, the body immunity increases, the effects of the ailments subside and frequent recurrence of the disease is prevented. It also increases the person's appetite level and accelerates peristaltic movements of the intestine.The medicated ghee is prepared by processing herbal paste, herbal juice, milk, ghee etc. The herbal paste is made from herbs like amaltas, sarsaparilla, jamun, Indian kino tree, guggul, ginger, neem, onion, chopchini, triphala, malabar nut, Cardamom, asparagus, mustard etc. The herb chopchini has powerful anti inflammatory and antibiotic properties and gives the effect of a steroid. Amaltas and neem are excellent for curing skin ailments. Snehapanam, done once a day in empty stomach, is usually continued for 3 to 7 days. The exact duration and type of ghee to be used are decided by the doctors who treat you taking in to consideration the age, place, climate, and body constitution of the person.
Swedana: Swedanam means medicinal perspiration and involves the active sweating of the whole body using medicated steam. Through this process, the agni is increased and the fatty tissues get mobilized. The channels of the body are softened and this causes the impurities to move out through the skin by way of sweat. Swedanam as a prepurification therapy for eczema cleanses the channels thoroughly and helps to control the vitiated doshas. For swedana there is a chamber that has been well- heated for a considerable period of time or inhaling medicated steam. This helps the patient to sweat considerably and helps to throw out the impurities through the pores of the skin.
Vamanam: Induced vomiting, using herbal medicine is called Vamanam. This treatment is effective for eczema. Through vamanam, the toxins and acids of the upper parts of the body are completely eradicated. As the channels are freed from harmful toxins, the body tissues get recharged. The person's memory power also increases, the sense organs get better clarity and his digestive fire increases. In total, the person gets a powerful revitalized feeling. Vamanam, in addition to treating eczema, also rejuvenates the person's body and mind. The person is made to drink milk stomach full, followed by a single dose of medicinal decoction. The medicinal decoction used is made of seeds of emetic nuts , sweetflag and liquorice. Salt and honey are also added to it when consumed. In few minutes he vomits, throwing out all the excessive acids, and toxic substances from the body.
Virechanam: Virechanam is the intake of oral medicines leading to the elimination of toxins through the anal route. It eliminates excess bile toxins from the mid zone of the body. When the digestive tract is clean and toxic-free, it benefits the entire body system. As a result, the person's appetite increases, body strength enhances and the person becomes active and buoyant. Thus virechanam also functions as an excellent rejuvenating experiment. Herbal powder, medicated castor oil or herbal paste is commonly used as the purgative medicine. The treatment usually begins early in the morning. The person consumes the appropriate herbal medicine in empty stomach. The medicine does a good cleansing of the entire digestive system. And within 1 to 2 hours he empties his bowels, expelling along with it, all the accumulated toxins. The dose of medicines, diet patterns etc. are to be strictly followed as per the doctor's recommendation. Virechanam, using strong medicines, is mostly done only once in a month under the supervision of doctors.
Diet regulation for eczema: Since food is one of the causes of eczema, it is important to be cautious about the diet. Generally a person with eczema can have a normal diet, but without the specific allergic factor. Depending on the constitution of the person, he or she can be allergic to just about any kind of food. Hence, one of the steps of diagnosing eczema is to identify if any foodstuff is the cause of the eczema. If so, then that food must be eliminated from the diet.
Yoga and meditation for eczema: Yoga and meditation are always beneficial and have always played a vital part in curing every type of disease. Yoga exercises done every day replenish and re balance the physical and emotional systems that are depleted by the everyday stresses that lie so heavy on our lives. Yoga makes it possible to rest on a strong base of confidence and strength within oneself. Light yoga postures, meditations and breathing exercises are advised. Sarvangasana pose and Shirshasana pose are recommended.
1. MD Scholar, (P.G Dept . of Panchkarma)
2 & 3. Associate Professor & Head
(P.G Dept . of Panchkarma)
National Institute of Ayurveda,