Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious. There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, is commonly seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis (skin). Some patients, though, have no dermatological symptoms.
In plaque psoriasis, skin rapidly accumulates at these sites, which gives it a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area, including the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet, and genitals. In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the outer side of the joint.
The disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Fingernails and toenails are frequently affected (psoriatic nail dystrophy) and can be seen as an isolated symptom. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Between 10% and 40% of all people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.
The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component plus local psoriatic changes can be triggered by an injury to the skin known as the Koebner phenomenon, see Koebnerisin. Various environmental factors have been suggested as aggravating to psoriasis, including stress, withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid, as well as other environmental factors, but few have shown statistical significance. There are many treatments available, but because of its chronic recurrent nature, psoriasis is a challenge to treat.
Psoriasis Causes: Many basic Ayurvedic texts have explained skin diseases, which resembles Psoriasis. According these references, Psoriasis can be considered as the vitiation of Vata and Kapha. (Two of the basic energies/humors, which maintains our body equilibrium) Accumulation of low potency poisons (Dooshi vishas), are the basic pathological changes taking place in the system. Irregular food habits, consumption of foodstuffs that cannot be eaten together (Eg: diary products with fish), excessive intake of yogurt, black gram, seafood, sour and salted items etc can activate the pathogenesis. Alcohol and tobacco consumption will act as a catalyst here. Ayurveda do emphasize on the effect of stress in the pathogenesis of Psoriasis.
Psoriasis Treatment: Coming to the treatment aspects of Psoriasis according to Ayurveda, it aims at the detoxification of the body or elimination of toxins from the body fluids. It is achieved by "Panchakarma" treatments.
Current schedule, comprising various treatment aspects of Ayurveda is aiming at a better control of Psoriasis. This includes internal and external medications purely of plant origin. Rough out line of this schedule is as follows. (i) Consumption of medicated ghee, considering the Dosha type of the Psoriasis and the person, for 5 to 7 days. (ii) Detoxifying, by inducing vomiting (Vamana) and purgation (Virechana). This is followed by medicated buttermilk dripping overhead (Dahara) and pasting the entire body with a paste of medicines and mud. (iii) Basthies (medicated enemas) are being done for 8 days and internal medicines like herbal concoctions; medicated ghee has to be consumed for at least 90 days.
Psoriasis Diet: A strict diet regime has to be followed during the entire treatment period and it is better to continue as vegetarian. Yogurt, black gram, chilies and salted thing have to be restricted. It is better to avoid refrigerated/chilled foods. Psoriatic must keep a state of mental calmness.