Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease affecting any race. Its prevalence among our population of about 2-3%. Though it affects all age groups and sex, it is slightly higher in women than men.
Having said that, is there any cure for Psoriasis in Ayurveda? The answer is Negative; that is the case with any autoimmune disorder. However, the good news is that Psoriasis could very well be controlled by Ayurveda. Depending on the degree of psoriasis, the treatment duration varies.
What is autoimmunity? The immune system which is supposed to fight foreign bodies, for idiopathic reasons, targets the host System resulting in autoimmune disorders. If it targets the skin then it leads to Psoriasis which causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal growth. This makes the skin look a little elevated with red patches covered with white scales. Psoriasis thus is due to an altered immune system that mistakenly attacks its own body’s tissues. Skin cells of any area can grow, but most appear on the scalp, flexures of the limbs, and lower back. Psoriasis is not contagious but, does sometimes happen in members of the same family. Though the exact cause of Psoriasis is not known, it is attributed to a combination of factors. Since it is seen running in families, genetic predisposition can contribute.
Manifestation of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply faster than normal. This makes the skin appear bumpy and build up into red patches covered with white scales. They can grow anywhere, but most appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Psoriasis can’t be passed from person to person, but it does sometimes happen in members of the same family. Hence attributed to genetic reason.
Psoriasis usually appears in early adulthood. For most people, it affects just a few areas. In severe cases, psoriasis can cover large parts of the body. In general, there are periods of remission and bouts of flare-ups or increased disease activity in a person’s life.
The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type you have. Some common symptoms for plaque psoriasis — the most common variety of the condition — include:
Psoriasis Plaques of red skin, usually covered with silver-colored scales. These plaques may be itchy and painful, and they sometimes crack and even bleed. Depending on the severity, the plaques will grow and merge, covering large skin areas.
Disorders of the fingernails and toenails are also not uncommon, including discoloration and pitting of the nails. The nails may also crumble or detach from the underneath nail bed.
Plaques of scales or crust on the scalp.
People with psoriasis can also get a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. It causes pain and swelling in the joints. About 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, at some stage.
Other types of psoriasis include:
Pustular psoriasis – Usually seen in palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Appears as red and scaly skin with tiny pustules.
Guttate psoriasis – This often starts in childhood or young adulthood, causing small, red spots, mainly on the torso and limbs. It might be because of triggers like respiratory infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin, and because of some medications like antimalarial and beta-blockers.
Inverse psoriasis – Mostly seen in skin folds, such as the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. Lesions are bright red and shiny.
Erythrodermic psoriasis – which causes fiery redness of the skin and shedding of scales in sheaths. It’s. Severe sunburn, infections, certain medications, and stopping some kinds of psoriasis treatment trigger this.
No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts believe that it’s a combination of things. Abnormality with the immune system causes inflammation, triggering new skin cells to form too quickly. Normally, skin cells are replaced every 10 to 30 days. With psoriasis, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days. The buildup of old cells being replaced by new ones creates those silver scales.
Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may skip generations.
Things that can trigger an outbreak of psoriasis include:
Cuts, scrapes, or surgery
Medications, including blood pressure medications, anti-malarial drugs, lithium and other mood stabilizers, antibiotics, and NSAIDs
Physical examination. It’s usually easy for your doctor to diagnose psoriasis, especially if you have plaques on areas such as your:
Lab tests. The doctor might do a biopsy — remove a small piece of skin and test it to make sure you don’t have a skin infection. There’s no other test to confirm or rule out psoriasis.
Treatment is aimed at reducing the growth of new skin cells, or relieve itching and dry skin. Based on the size of your rash, where it is on your body, your age, your overall health, and other things. your doctor will select a treatment plan that is right for you. Common treatments include:
Moisturizers for dry skin
Vitamin D-based cream or ointment. Vitamin D in foods and pills has no effect.
Treatments for moderate to severe psoriasis include:
Methotrexate. Used to suppress immunity
Retinoids. Are a class of drugs related to vitamin A.
Cyclosporine. In serious cases that do not respond to other treatments, cyclosporine may be taken for serious cases.
Biologic treatments. These work by blocking the part of the body’s immune system that is overactive in psoriasis.
An enzyme inhibitor. The inflammatory pathways are a chain of process involving many steps. Enzyme inhibitors block the pathway and hence inflammation is prevented.
Is There a Cure?
There’s no cure, but treatment greatly reduces symptoms, even in serious cases. Recent studies have suggested that when you better control the inflammation of psoriasis, your risk of heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and other diseases associated with inflammation go down. Ayurvedic treatment for the disease focuses on building and rectifying the immune system and reducing the lesions for immediate relief. Formulated after a lot of research, our treatment for psoriasis has proved to achieve a near cure and symptom-free state. The treatment includes repeated detoxifications, and internal medications.
Medications include Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Garlic (Allium sativum) etc among others
Ayurvedic medicine is based on the idea that everyone is made up of five basic elements:
These elements combine in the body to form life forces called doshas. Everyone is thought to contain a mix of doshas, but has one that’s stronger than the others. The three doshas are:
Vata, which is ether and air
Pitta, which is fire and water
Kapha, which is water and earth
Ayurvedic specialists believe psoriasis results from unbalanced vata and kapha doshas. Toxins, stress, and too much of certain foods, are also to be blamed.