Geetha Patil and Dr. Kirankumar Rathod
Vicharchika (Eczema) is a type of Kshudrakustha often characterized with symptoms, namely, Kandu (itching), Srava (discharge), Pidaka (vesicles), and Shyava Varna (discoloration). Vicharchika is correlated to eczema based on the clinical presentations. Eczema originates from a Greek word “ekzein” which means to ‘boil over’ or ‘break out’ and is used for a group of inflammatory skin conditions that cause itchiness, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, blisters and skin infections. Modern sciences call it as Dermatitis (Derma – skin, otitis – inflammation).
Eczema damages your skin barrier function, weakening your skin’s ability to retain moisture and protect itself from external factors and generates heat. For lighter skin, eczema can present as red, inflamed skin. For darker skin tones, eczema can present as brown, purple, gray or ashen.
Eczema can begin at any age and it can range from mild to severe. Newborn babies can experience eczema within the first weeks/months after birth. Young children with eczema can experience dry itchy skin patches that can lead to blisters and skin infections due to excessive scratching. Adults can also experience eczema in their 20s or over the age of 50. It is very common in the United States, and over 31 million people deal with some form of eczema.
Eczema is an atopic dermatitis and related to your gut health and results from an overactive immune system that causes the skin barrier to become dry and itchy. Eczema is not contagious and cannot “catch it” from someone else.
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, researchers do know that people develop eczema because of an interaction between genes and environmental triggers. However proper, and consistent gut health care is essential in the prevention and management of eczema than using creams and lotions for temporary relief and the problem is going to bounce back. Therefore, treat it from inside then you will see the results outside.
What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
Eczema symptoms will look different for everyone and the severity of eczema also varies. Eczema usually includes itchy skin “pruritus.” People with eczema often experience bumpy rashes, blisters, dry skin, itchiness, inflamed/discolored skin, rough, leathery skin appearing as scaly patches, oozing or crusting in the areas of swelling. They arefrequently noticed on parts of the body such as your hands, neck, face, feet, knees, and elbows, but it can appear elsewhere as well. However, too much scratching results in infections that may become painful or prone to infection.
What are the types of eczema?
There are seven different types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis
What is the root cause of eczema in Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, Eczema /Vicharchika is caused due to a faulty diet and lifestyle, which leads to impairment of digestion and aggravation of Pitta Dosha (Fire). Pitta is usually a factor in eczema as it governs the liver, blood and digestion – all of which affect the texture and health of the skin. Pitta manifests in the skin and causes accumulation of heating toxins known as ama. Eczema can also be caused by core genetic and immune factors or by external triggers such as microbiome, cold weather, excessively hot showers, fragranced beauty products and detergents, and stress. Emotional stress can also trigger an eczema flare-up, but it is not exactly known why. Some people’s eczema symptoms and flare-ups get worse when they are feeling “stressed.
What are the best Ayurvedic treatments for eczema?
Ayurveda emphasizes the role of diet and lifestyle in managing eczema. Consuming foods that balance the doshas and avoiding foods that aggravate them can be beneficial. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and herbs is generally recommended. The Ayurvedic herbal treatments purify the blood and strengthen immune system, thereby help the body to manage the auto immunity, which is triggering rapid destruction of skin cells of the patient.
1) Swertia (Chirayata) and Picrorhiza Kurroa (Kutaki) – (you will find these on Amazon): Soak 4 gram of each herb together in 125 ml water in the night. After brushing your teeth in the morning, with empty stomach drink this bitter water after filter it. You have to compromise with its bitterness. Do not throw away the mixture. It can be used for four more times. Next three days, repeat the same process, soak the mixture in 125ml water and drink it in the morning. It is a proven treatment for any kind of eczema or skin disorders, and acne. It removes eczema from its root. Those who have severe eczema, you can soak 8 grams of each herb and use the overnight soaked water to treat the affected area.
Note: You should avoid using meat, alcohol, sour stuff (Achar/pickles except lemon and C vitamin fruits), Garam masala, Urda dal, Rajma, oily products, dry fruits, and Gud/Jaggery
2) Avipattikara Churna: Use 1 tsp Avipattikara Churnain a half-cup water, 30 minutes after eating your meals.
3) Vitamin A: Take vitamin A Tablets of 4000 to 5000 International unit every day in morning. This will make your skin smoother, andsofter by removing dryness from your skin.
3) Vitamin D3: Use D3 tablets to normalize your skin by removing any inflammation,
4) Pitta Diet: Pitta is the fire component of your body. Ayurveda, the holistic medical science says that most skin diseases are because of the imbalance of pitta. In the pitta diet, you need remove anything that is hot and sour in taste from your diet such as bell pepper, pepper, curd, and yogurt.
5) Stay away from nutsand high protein consumption: such as peanuts, walnuts, fish, shrimps, dairy products that have comes from the cows exposed to pesticides, antibiotics and hormones because, these will not exit the body without creating harm to the body. So, use organic milk.
6) Gluten free diet: Avoid any processed flour products that have artificial flavors, colors, and additives that you buy off the selves from the super market.
7) If suffering from Eczema, go for organic foods and homemade meals.
8) Avoid eating fruits with yogurt.
9) Use steroid free Ayurvedic moisturizer or coconut/olive oil or shea butter tomake skin soft and smooth
10) Wash the affected area with concoction of Neem leaves with turmeric powder.
11) Take Sun bathing for 15 minutes.
12) Drink 4 liters of liquid including water, fruit or vegetable juices in a day.
13) Eczema patients should not have constipation problem. So, include many fibrous foods in your diet. If this is not possible then take 3 tsp castor oil/ two pills with hot water before going to bed.
What are the best Homeopathic remedies for eczema?
–Sulphur, Graphites, Arsenicum album for dry, itchy, burning, scaly and painful skin.
–Petroleum for eczema with cracks that bleed especially on the hands, fingers, and feet.
–Notrum muriaticum for eczema that is triggered by emotional stress and has a tendency to form blisters.
–Kali Sulphuricum 30 is prescribed for itching and burning eczema and excessive peeling of epithelium occurs.
–Ezereum 200 is given to the eczema on the hairy parts with intolerant itching with leathery crusts.
–Vinca Minor 30 is effective for very itchy eczema accompanied by an irresistible desire to scratch.
(Authors: Geetha Patil, Drug Safety Director, Cambridge, MA and Dr. Kirankumar Rathod, Director, Edox Health care Pvt. Ltd, Homeopathic Consultant, Kalaburagi & Pune, India)