Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting outer layer of skin epidermis. The word “eczema” is derived from a Greek word meaning “to boil over,” which is a good description for the red, inflamed, itchy patches that occur during flare-ups. Eczema can range from mild, moderate, to severe. Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. There are several types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis.
Signs & Symptoms- It is the most common skin disease characterized by cracked or scaly skin with discoloration, papules formation, oozing and intense itching due to which there is impairment in quality of life. Common signs and symptoms include-Dry sensitive skin, Red inflamed skin, Very bad itching, Dark colored patches of skin, Rough leathery or scaly patches of skin, Oozing or crusting, Areas of swelling. Eczema is a chronic disease and it has a tendency of exacerbations.
The best way to manage Eczema is to prevent flare-ups. It is important to identify and avoid trigger factors such as certain detergents, dust and food allergens. Frequent moisturization of the skin is important, because itching increases when the skin is dry. There are several medications used for Eczema such as topical corticosteroid cream and ointment, topical calcineurin inhibitors, systemic corticosteroids and antihistaminic drugs.
All the skin diseases are discussed under ‘Kushtha’ in Ayurvedic system of medicine. Eczema can be co-related to Vicharchika in Ayurveda. Kapha Dosha dominance is there in Vicharchika. Symptoms present in Vicharchika are Kandu (Itching), Vedana (Pain), Daha (Burning sensation), Shyava varna (Discoloration), Shweta, Rakta Srava (Discharge).
Ayurvedic Treatment of Eczema
Shodhan chikitsa is indicated when there is Bahu dosha (dosha in large quantity). According to the dominance of Doshas, Shodhana chikitsa (body purification) such as Vamana (medically induced emesis), Virechana, (medically induced purgation), Raktamokshana (Bloodletting) with Jalouka (Leech therapy) is given. Shaman chikitsa (internal medication) is also useful in patients who are contraindicated for Shodhan Chikitsa. Manjista, Neem, Khadir, Mahamanjisthadi Kwath, Khadiraristha are given as Shaman chikitsa. Lepana chikitsa with Siddharthaka Lep and Mustadi lep is indicated when vitiated doshas are present in twak (skin). Repeated Shodhan chikitsa and rasayan chikitsa are given to avoid recurrence of eczema.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition; hence long term customized Ayurvedic treatments are required to have significant relief from eczema symptoms. Many patients are benefited from customized Ayurvedic treatment coined by Dr. Kohli. Significant improvement in itching, dryness, skin discoloration was observed in many patients. Many patients have stopped using corticosteroid creams and are able to control symptoms of eczema with the help of customized Ayurvedic treatments.