Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic condition of the skin where the skin becomes dry, itchy, reddish, and irritable. The rash sometimes inflames and then oozes clear fluid. If the skin is excessively dry and cracked, it may bleed also. Eczema is common in children but can occur at any age. It is a long-lasting condition and tends to flare periodically and may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. It can be a difficult and frustrating condition for the patient. The psychological challenge faced by patients of atopic dermatitis is insurmountable. Scratching an itchy rash just makes the condition worse.
Atopic dermatitis is not considered a contagious skin disorder. Modern medical science is not able to find its exact cause. Modern science can only provide symptomatic relief for this condition.
Although it is activated by the immune system and is related to allergic reactions yet it is not the same as other allergic reactions.
Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis
The signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis may vary from person to person which include:
- Itching, which may be severe, especially at night.
- Dry skin
- Red to brownish grey patches, especially on the feet, hands, wrists, ankles, eyelids, face, scalp
- Thickened, cracked and scaly skin
- Small and raised bumps which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched.
Causes of Atopic Dermatitis
The function of healthy skin is to retain moisture and protection against bacteria, irritants, allergens etc. According to modern medical science, it is caused due to variation in a gene that affects the skin’s ability to provide the protection. As a result, skin gets affected by the environmental factors, allergens, irritants etc.
There is no treatment of atopic dermatitis in modern medicine. It can be persistent. Modern treatment includes the prescription of medications such as creams to control the itching and repair the skin, drugs to fight the infections, to control inflammation etc.
Concept of Atopic Dermatitis in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, our skin has seven layers. It is not only located peripherally but extends to the deeper levels of the body. That’s why the causes of skin disorders are deep-rooted. Most of the skin disorders are rooted deeply into various dhatus (tissues) like fat, blood, muscles etc.
In Ayurveda, atopic dermatitis is co-related with Vicharchika. In a maximum of cases, patients with atopic dermatitis who do not get a cure from the Allopathy medicine, come to Ayurveda treatment with great hope for curing their disease.
Cause of Atopic Dermatitis – According to Ayurveda
The root cause of Atopic Dermatitis according to Ayurveda is the partially digested food that produces toxins (Ama). Due to the intake of unhealthy diet and lifestyle, there is vitiation of all the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The vitiation in the doshas causes the pathological changes in dhatu (tissues) such as twak (skin), mamsa (muscle), rakta (blood) and water elements of the body. Thus, it causes the symptoms such as kandu (itching), pidaka (formation of pustules and papules), shyavata (erythema with discolouration). If the condition is not treated early, it will affect other deeper dhatus (tissues).
Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis – According to Ayurveda
Treatment of Atopic dermatitis in Ayurveda aims at purifying the body by the removal of toxic wastes and boosting the immune system.
Since atopic dermatitis is considered as a chronic disease, detoxification procedures are required to remove its root cause. Ayurvedic treatment for Atopic Dermatitis includes oral medicines for detoxification and medicines for external application are also prescribed.
Ayurvedic medicines that digest the ama (toxins), corrects agni (digestive fire) are prescribed. These medicines not only improve the digestive capacity of the patients but also enhance the metabolic activity of the cells.
In the context of treatment of chronic disorders, Master Charak has mentioned that in all the chronic disorders, Rasayana (rejuvenative) drugs are preferred. But in order to get the maximum benefits of Rasayana therapy, it is essential to perform purification procedures prior to the administration of Rasayana drugs. Thus, Ayurveda offers various herbal remedies for atopic dermatitis.
Thus, it can be concluded that the Ayurvedic line of treatment for atopic dermatitis aims to give a blissful life to the patient by improving the functioning of the immune system, removing the toxins, and even controlling the mind.