Psoriasis can drive anyone nuts! It is itchy and irritating. It turns your skin flaky and patchy. Psoriasis is a skin condition in which it gets tough to avoid the urge to scratch. The moment you start scratching, the symptoms worsen. This autoimmune condition is incurable, but there are ways to manage it and improve the symptoms. Ayurveda offers a unique way to manage psoriasis symptoms. This ancient science of healing focuses on a holistic approach to improve your condition. How can it help? Read on to find out.
Table Of Contents
- Ayurveda And Psoriasis: How Ayurveda Explains Psoriasis
- Causes Of Psoriasis
- How Ayurveda Helps Manage Psoriasis
- Things To Consider Before Switching To Ayurveda
Ayurveda And Psoriasis: How Ayurveda Explains Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes a rapid build-up of skin cells. These extra skin cells cause inflammation, red patches, and scales. These patches are painful and itchy and might even bleed.
According to a case report published in the International Journal of Green Pharmacy, Ayurveda describes psoriasis as Kushtharoga. Ayurveda describes it as a chronic disorder, which is krucchasadhya (meaning intractable) and asadhya (meaning incurable).
According to Ayurvedic texts, most ailments are caused by the imbalance of the tridoshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. As per Ayurvedic principles, one of the main causes of psoriasis is the imbalance in Vata and Kapha. Due to the imbalance in your doshas, toxins accumulate in your system, which causes inflammation (1).
Researchers are yet to find the actual cause(s) of psoriasis. However, they figured out two key factors that can be held responsible for this skin condition.
Causes Of Psoriasis
- The Immune System
As we are aware, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. An autoimmune condition is one in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in your body. In psoriasis, the white blood cells in your body attack your skin cells. The white blood cells are like the sentries of your body who fight and protect your body from infections and bacteria. However, when they mistakenly attack the healthy cells of your body, your body starts producing new cells. In the process, there’s an excess of cells, which ultimately pile up on the surface. The attack by the white blood cells also turns the skin red.
Your genes are another possible cause of psoriasis. Genes can help you understand why your body behaves in a certain way. From your height to the color of your skin – your genes decide everything.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, researchers are of the opinion that there are multiple genes responsible for psoriasis. So far, they have identified 25 genetic variants that make a person susceptible to psoriasis. Researchers believe that 10% of the general population inherits one or more such genes that cause psoriasis. However, only 2%-3% of the population develops psoriasis (2).
Living with psoriasis is painful, but you can manage the symptoms with natural and Ayurvedic treatment options.
How Ayurveda Helps Manage Psoriasis
There are several Ayurvedic and natural remedies that can help manage and control the symptoms of psoriasis.
Turmeric is widely used in Ayurvedic medicines. It was revered by the ancient healers for its anti-inflammatory benefits. In a study, researchers observed the effect of turmeric gel on 40 people who had mild to moderate levels of psoriasis. The subjects used the gel for nine weeks. The researchers found moderate to acceptable levels of improvements in some patients and significant improvement in those who had severe psoriatic lesions (3).
2. Andira araroba
This powder (derived from legumes) helps in relieving the discomfort caused by psoriasis. It is mixed with lemon juice and vinegar to form a thin paste that is applied on psoriatic lesions. Initially, it might cause irritation and an uneasy sensation. But as time progresses, the skin will assume its natural color (4).
3. Oregon Grape
This is another powerful antimicrobial that helps in managing mild to moderate psoriasis. A study on 39 patients found that after 12 weeks of treatment, 63% of the patients experienced improvement (5).
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent treatment option for mild plaque psoriasis. When massaged directly on the affected area, it helps in reducing dryness and irritation and aids healing. It has moisturizing properties that help in building your body’s natural resistance to psoriasis. The best way is to rub olive oil on the affected area and leave it on overnight (4).
5. Cayenne (Capsicum annum)
This is another effective method of managing psoriasis. Cayenne contains capsaicin that decreases the neurotransmitters from the sensory nerves and relieves skin irritation and itching caused by psoriasis (4). Several clinical trials also found that it was among the best treatment options for inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (6).
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera (or Ghritakumari) is extremely beneficial for the skin. In a clinical trial, researchers found that the psoriatic lesions of the patients healed after four weeks of treatment. The aloe vera cream used for the trial healed 25 out of 30 patients, compared to the placebo that healed only 2 out of 30 patients (4).
Ayurveda is not all about topical medicines. It involves bringing about a complete change in your overall lifestyle. Apart from using the Ayurvedic medications, consider including the following in your routine:
Ayurveda is all about striking a balance between your doshas, your environment, and the prakriti (constitution) of your body. Meditation is one of the ways to balance these three elements. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety and imparts a sense of calm.
2. Changes In Your Diet
Ayurveda recommends avoiding food items that are too extreme. For instance, avoid extremely spicy or salty or sour foods. Also, avoid foods that are way too acidic. Avoid consuming excessive carbohydrates and sugary drinks.
3. Follow A Regular Bathing And Moisturizing Schedule
Taking regular baths and keeping your body moisturized help to keep your lesions clean and avoid any irritation. Bathing and moisturizing calm the lesions, soothe the skin, and relieve itching and any other discomfort associated with psoriasis.
You might have seen a lot of people resorting to Ayurvedic treatment methods nowadays. But is it completely safe? Is there any risk involved in following Ayurvedic practices?
Things To Consider Before Switching To Ayurveda
Medicinal plants are an integral part of healing. Though people are using alternative medicines for a lot of ailments, not many dermatologists would recommend people to follow alternative medicine or Ayurveda. It would be false to claim that Ayurvedic medicines are completely safe. Even Ayurvedic drugs fail to show any results or produce adverse effects when they are used without any precautions or due to a fault in the manufacturing process.
Hence, do not use Ayurvedic products and herbs as a substitute for proper medical treatment. If you consider trying Ayurveda, try it along with the prescribed treatment plan. Talk to your doctor, consult a qualified Ayurveda practitioner and then proceed with the treatment.
While you should consult your doctor before taking Ayurvedic medicines, you can always follow the lifestyle changes suggested by Ayurveda. Meditation, exercise, yoga, healthy diet – all these changes are as important as taking proper medical care for your condition.
Your body is your home – it’s where you live, and it’s up to you to take care of it. Hope this article has shed some light on how Ayurveda can help you manage psoriasis symptoms. Do you have any more doubts? Post them right below, and we will get back to you.
- “Ayurvedic Management of...” International Journal of Green Pharmacy.
- “Genes and Psoriasis” National Psoriasis Foundation.
- “Topical Turmeric Microemulgel...” Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Fight Psoriasis naturally through Ayurveda” Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, ResearchGate
- “A report on three recent clinical trials...” American Journal Of Therapeutics, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Botanicals in dermatology…” American Journal Of Clinical Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine.
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