Eczema(Vicharchika)
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Introduction

 

Eczema is such a common condition that it affects every one of five children during their school-going age. It is also a very common disease found in infants. Eczema in adults could be a recurring chronic condition, which the person may have to live with throughout life. Hence, it can be safely assumed that eczema is one of the most prevalent skin problems in the world today.

   

Definition of Eczema (Vicharchika)

 

Eczema is dermatitis, i.e. an inflammation of the upper layers of the skin known as the epidermis. It is actually a whole group of skin ailments that can affect all age groups.

Eczema is an itchy condition, which leads to red rashes when scratched. For this reason, eczema is also called as ‘the itch that rashes’. In some people there may be different kinds of inflammations observed such as redness of the skin, flaking, chapping, cracking, drying up and even rupturing and bleeding. Even the extent of eczema infection differs from one person to another.

In Sanskrit, eczema is termed as vicharchika. Another closely resembling disease in Ayurveda is paama. The signs and symptoms of both vicharchika and paama can be correlated to the symptoms of eczema.

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Types and Symptoms of Eczema (Vicharchika)

There are several types of eczemas. In Ayurveda , all the three doshas can lead to eczema. The symptoms of the different eczemas are:-

Vata dosha type – When the vitiation of the vata dosha produces the eczema, it is felt in the dryness of the skin. There is pain and severe itching of the affected region.

Pitta dosha type Pitta dosha vitiation can cause oozing from the affected part. There are other symptoms shown such as burning and fever.

Kapha dosha type – When there is an imbalance of the kapha, it is more observable on the skin. The skin becomes thick and is accompanied by oozing and itching.

Medical science describes the different types of eczemas according to their causes and the symptoms. The following tables details the different types of eczemas:-

Type of Eczema

Cause

Symptoms

Atopic Eczema

This eczema is caused due to allergic reactions. It is found in people who have histories of asthma and hay fevers. The triggering factors for this type of eczema are many (see below).

  • Unbearable itchiness of skin called as pruritis
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Redness and inflammation of the skin
  • Cracking and weeping of the skin when scratched

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

This is caused due to constant physical contact with some material that the person’s skin is allergic to. For a list of the common allergenic materials, see below.

  • A rash appears at the place where the contact has taken place.

Infantile Seborrhoetic Eczema

Its exact cause is unknown. It affects babies under one year old.

  • Inflammation begins on the scalp or the nappy area and spreads quickly throughout the body
  • There is no soreness or itchiness
  • The rash clears itself within a few months

Adult Seborrhoetic Eczema

It is caused due to yeast or fungal growth on the skin. It is observed in people between twenty and forty years of age.

  • Inflammation begins on the scalp as mild dandruff, but then spreads onto the face, ears and chest
  • Skin becomes red and flaking occurs

Xerotic Eczema

This eczema occurs due to constant dryness of the skin. It flares up in cold and dry weather.

  • The skin becomes very tender and itchy
  • The inflammation is observed on the limbs and the trunk

Gravitational Eczema

This condition is observed in people with circulation problems such as varicose veins. It mostly occurs in people over 50 years of age.

  • Inflammation occurs on the ankle
  • Edema occurs
  • The inflammation is red, sore and itchy

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Causes and Transmission of Eczema (Vicharchika)

The causative factors of vicharchika are vitiations in all the three doshasvata, pitta and kapha. The pitta vitiated vicharchika is the most common. Vitiation of the skin occurs through imbalance between the pitta and the blood to produce eczema. Vata and kaphadoshas are responsible for the pathogenesis of the disease that produces the different types of symptoms.

However, the exact causes of eczemas are still a mystery to medical science. However, there are several risk factors where eczema is concerned. The following are a few of them:-

  • The commonest type of eczema, atopic eczema, is an allergic condition. The genetic strands carrying atopic eczema run within families, and are very closely associated with other hereditary ailments such as asthma and hay fever. Atopic eczema can flare up due to several allergens such as:-
              • Pollen
              • Dust
              • Animal dander
              • Dry and cold winds
              • Dry skin
              • Detergents
              • Certain ingredients in the diet
        • Allergic contact eczema is caused when the body’s immune system reacts to a particular substance that is in constant contact with the skin. This type of eczema can be triggered due to:-
                    • Certain fabrics
                    • Belts and their buckles
                    • Shoes
                    • Underwear
                    • Nickel that is present in earrings, belt buckles and jeans buttons
                    • Perfumes and deodorants
                    • Rubber
                    • Poison ivy
              • There is a type of eczema which affects only young babies. This is known as infantile eczema. The exact cause of this type of eczema is not known.
              • Eczema can also be caused due to varicose veins. This type of eczema is called as gravitational eczema or simply varicose eczema.
              • Growth of organisms such as yeast on the skin can cause an infection known as seborrhoetic eczema.

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People who are at Risk of Eczema (Vicharchika)

The following people are at much higher risk of eczema than others:-

People who have a history of respiratory ailments such as asthma and hay fever

People who have other people suffering from eczema in their family

People who constantly wear tight clothes and underwear

People who are allergic to nickel, poison ivy, rubber and particular synthetic fabrics

People who cannot bear cold and dry winds

People who are allergic to certain foods

People who are allergic to detergents and soaps

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Prevention and Basic Care during Eczema (Vicharchika)

There are several basic guidelines to be followed when a person has eczema. The following are some of them:-

Identify the allergic factor that is causing the eczema and remove it completely from the environment.

If the eczema is due to an ingredient in the diet, then abstain from that particular food completely.

Soaps and detergents must not be used on inflamed skin. Special non-fragrant soaps are available in the market made from herbal ingredients. These must be used.

After bath, the skin must not be allowed to remain wet. It is water drying up from the skin that aggravates the eczema.

During bathing, olive oil added to the water helps. Similarly, an oil or a ghee massage can be had about an hour after the bath.

Baths should not be too prolonged or too frequent. Use warm water for the bath, but not hot or cold water.

Towels used for drying the skin must not be rough. Use a soft fiber towel and only pat dry. Rubbing on the skin will aggravate the inflammation drastically.

Woolens must be strictly avoided. The same applies to blankets.

Avoid sweating as much as you can.

Be wary of using objects on the skin such as spectacles, artificial jewelry, footwear, furs and synthetic fibers. Identify and isolate the allergenic materials.

People with eczema problems must not visit places where there is cold and dry climate.

The house where a person lives in must always be kept clean and dust-free. Regular cleaning and dusting of each corner of the house must be done.

Stress is also related with eczema flare-ups. Extreme emotions like anger and shock must be avoided.

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Diet for People with Eczema (Vicharchika)

Since food is one of the causes of eczema, it is important to be cautious about the diet. Generally a person with eczema can have a normal diet, but without the specific allergic factor. Depending on the constitution of the person, he or she can be allergic to just about any kind of food. Hence, one of the steps of diagnosing eczema is to identify if any foodstuff is the cause of the eczema. If so, then that food must be eliminated from the diet.

Furthermore, people with eczema must keep away from the following foods:-

Salad vegetables like cucumbers and radish must not be used.

Fruits like oranges, watermelons and papayas must be avoided as they are contra-indications to eczema.

Ice-creams and cold drinks must be strictly avoided.

Several spices and oils can aggravate eczema. Hence they must be taken with moderation.

Nuts are harmful to eczema, especially cashew nuts.

Foods with a high mineral content such as ginger, onion and ladies finger (okra) must be curtailed in the diet.

Mustard is a strict no-no.

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Ayurvedic Treatment of Eczema (Vicharchika)

Eczema Treatment

Ayurveda has a very rich repertoire of treatment methods for Eczema cure. Several Indian indigenous herbs are found to be very effective in the treatment of the problem. Their curative measures are being studied even to this day, and with astounding results. The following are some of the most potent herbs with their actions on the human body:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Alsi

Linum usitatissimum

Linseed

The oil of the linseed is mixed with an equal amount of lime juice and applied on the inflamed region. Relief is immediate.

Arka

Calotropics gigantica

Dead Sea Apple, Swallow Wort

The juice of the arka is mixed with sesame oil and turmeric. This is applied externally over the affected skin.

Babul

Acacia arabica

Babul

The babul tree bark is useful in the eczema treatment. It is taken in powder form along with the powdered bark of mango tree and boiled in water. The vapors of this bark mixture are used to foment the affected region. Ghee is applied after the fomentation on the affected part.

Mahua

Madhuca indica

Madhuca

The leaves of the madhuca are ground into a paste and applied as bandages on the affected regions. This provides immense relief to the itchy pains. However, the bandage must be changed regularly, i.e. after every three to four hours.

Mangal karanda or Karanja

Pongamia pinnata

Indian Beech

The oil of the karanda made into an emulsion with lemon juice has very good soothing properties for the inflammations of eczema.

Palasha

Butea monosperma

Butea

The seeds of the palasha are ground, mixed with lemon juice and applied on the affected region. This is especially beneficial on dhobi’s itch, a type of allergic contact dermatitis with tight clothes.

The following Ayurvedic preparations are highly beneficial in eczema cure:-

Type of Preparation

Name of Preparation

Asava/Arishta

Aragwardharishta, Haemojas, Rasamanikya, Talakeshwara, Kadirarishta, Saaribaadyarishta

Bhasma/Kashaya

Tikitha kashaya, Mahatikitha kashaya

Choorna

Panchanimbaadi choorna

Ghrita

Tikataka ghritam

Lehya

Madhusnuhi rasayana, Manibhadra lehya, Gandaka rasayana

Vati

Padavalamooladi

It must be borne in mind that while taking any Ayurvedic preparation, the doctor must be consulted first. Most of the herbs do not have any side-effects (and are indeed a regular part of the diet), but some people may be allergic to certain herbs and may show adverse reactions.

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Post Your Comments

Comment Script

Comments

Going to try this diet now.
#1 - Eczema Survivor - 01/20/2009 - 01:29
siddha kadraristtam is very good this siddha prepartion
#2 - dr jiji - 05/18/2012 - 20:39
It clears all douts about Eczema. I am topicaly applying Mahatithika Kashayam.
#3 - Nitin - 09/12/2012 - 09:12
I dont agree with the dont eat watermelon. Watermelon is very alkaline and is cooling. I also think Okra is good to expel the toxins from the body. They say eczema is a result of the body getting rid of toxins through the skin when your regular organs cannot expel. So the toxins come out from the pores instead.

#4 - Jerry - 12/02/2012 - 21:02
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