Ayurvedic Treatment for Shwitra (Vitiligo)

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    In Ayurveda, Vitiligo is known as “Shwitra” and is classified into Kilas and Varuna. Modern science explains it as a long-term condition where pale white patches occurring due to improper distribution of the melanin (impaired melanocyte production) beneath the skin surface. It may be hereditary, caused due to toxicity, side effects of radiation or chemotherapy, etc., but in a significant percentage of people, it is found without any specific reasons and is explained under the heading of idiopathic leukoderma. Shwitra is classified under twak vikara (skin disorders)/kusta.

    The areas of skin most commonly affected by Vitiligo are:

    • Mouth (inside your mouth) and eyes
    • Fingers and wrists
    • Armpits
    • Groin
    • Genitals

    Causes of Vitiligo

    The causes for skin diseases (kusta) and Vitiligo (Shwitra) are the same and affect the same basic body tissue (Dhatu) levels. 

    • Autoimmune conditions – the most common type, Non-segmental Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition.
    • Risk factors – family history, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma    
    • Neurochemicals – chemicals released from the nerve endings in the skin are poisonous to the melanocytes.
    • Triggers –stress, skin damage due to cuts or severe sunburn

    Causes according to Ayurveda

    • Viruddhahara (incompatible food)
    • Chardivegadharana (suppression of vomiting) 
    • Atibhojana (excess food intake)
    • Ati amla, Madhura, Lavana, and Katu Rasa Sevana (intake of sour, sweet, salt, and pungent food excessively)
    • Navanna (heavy intake of fresh grains)
    • Dadhi (curd)
    • Matsyabhakshana (intake of fish)
    • Vipra-guru gharshana (teasing and disrespecting the elders) 
    • Papakarma (sinful acts), etc.

    Ayurvedic Treatment for Vitiligo

    Vitiligo (Shwitra) is chronic (Deergha Roga) and should be treated immediately at initial stage. Ayurveda recommends four steps of treatment for Vitiligo.

    • The first step – is purification therapies (shodhana karma) Virechana (purgation).
    •  In the next step – abhyanga (oil massage) using medicated oil selected based on patient examination (rogi pariksa) and disease (roga)
    •  Next- exposure of lesions to the sun rays as long as the patient can tolerate (Soorya pada santhapam in Ayurveda).
    • Should advise Gruel (peya) for the following 3 days. If bullae arise after a sunbath they must be punctured using a sterile needle and lepa should be applied.
    • For the last 3 days, the patient receives decoction (kwatha) made of Ficus hispida (malayu), Coleus vettiveroides, Pterocarpus marsupium (asana), Callicarpa macrophylla (priyangu), Peusedanum graveolens (satapuspa), (ambhasa), and alkaline extract of Butea monosperma (palasa ksara), along with phanitha.
    • In Ayurveda internal medications (abhyanga chikitsa), Local
    • application (lepchikitsa), sun UV rays exposure (aatapsevan), Body
    • purification i.e., Panchakarma treatment-therapeutic Emesis (Vamana),
    • Purgation (virechan), purification method for vata, Blood-
    • letting (raktamokshan), etc., advised in texts. Treatment is long-term
    • and should be continued from month to year

    Topical applications (Lepa)

    • Ankollakadi Lepa
    • Avalgujadi Lepa
    • Bakucyadi Lepa
    • Balyadi Lepa
    • Bhallatakadi Lepa

    Pathya and Apathya in Vitiligo

    Pathya for Switra patient – Laghuanna (Light food), Tiktasaka (bitter leafy vegetables), Puratandhanya (old fresh cereals), Mudga (green gram), Food preparation and ghee preparation with Bhallatak (Semecarpus Anacardium),  Patala Jangalamamsa (meat of arid animal), Triphala (Amalaki, Haritaki & Bibhitaki) and Nimba.

    Apathya for Switra patients – are guru dravya (heavy food), guda (jaggery), amla (sour), paya (milk), dadhi (curd), anupmamsa (meat of marshy land animals), matsya (fish), tila (sesame).

    Shwitra results due to the destruction or hypofunction of melanocytes. The Shwitra is Sadhya or curable if the hairs over the patches are not reddish, the skin is thin and pale in color, the disease is of recent origin and the space between two patches is elevated. As per Charaka Samhita, all the managements prescribed for the treatment of Kusta are useful in the treatment of Shwitra and treatment should be given according to the predominance of vitiated Dosha.  In case you have a query, you can always consult an Ayurvedic doctor at Total Ayurveda Care and get answers to your questions!

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