Date : 07-11-2018

Vitiligo is an acquired, idiopathic pigmentary disorder of the skin that is very common with a worldwide preponderance. Vitiligo is a rather common disorder affecting nearly 2% of the world’s population and the incidence is a little more eminent in India. Vitiligo is, nevertheless, more common in women as compared to men. Vitiligo is neither infectious nor contagious, which starts with a small white or pale colored patch and enlarges into a larger patch (or several patches) in course of time.

Vitiligo is caused by the destruction of melanin-producing cells called melanocytes; as a result, depigmented macules are formed. These macules may vary in shape and size which can be located in any part of the body. The exact cause of Vitiligo is not well-understood, though the multi-factorial character of its clinical expression is quite clear. Vitiligo seems to be the result of a combination of genetic, immunologic, neurogenic and biochemical factors.

Etiology of vitiligo

Ayurveda has described this condition in its textbooks some 5000 years ago. The contributory factors for skin diseases (kusta) and vitiligo (Shwitra) are the same and affect the same basic body tissue (dhatu) levels. Shwitra differs from other skin disorders by the normal functioning of all organs but the "skin tissue" (twak) resulting in discoloration of the skin (twak vaivarnyata) is without any discharge (aparisravi).

Ayurvedic texts describe the following factors as the direct or indirect reasons for vitiligo (shwitra): 

  • Viruddhahara (Dietetic incompatibility)
  • chardivegadharana (concealment of regurgitating)
  • atibhojana (excessive eating)
  • Intake of excessive foods of Madhura (Sweet), Amla (Sour), Lavana (Salty), Katu (Pungent)
  • Dadhi, navanna, matsyabhakshana (heavy intake of curd, fresh grains and fish)
  • vipra-guru gharshana (insult of preceptors)
  • papakarma (misdeeds of past lives, sinful acts)

Ayurvedic Pathophysiology (Samprapti)

In Ayurvedic classical literature (such as the Charaka Samhita), three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha are aggravated (due to one or all of the above-mentioned reasons) mix with skin, muscles (Mamsa), blood (Rakta) and watery element (udaka or ambhu). In general, these are involved invariably in different grades, and hence varieties of skin diseases are caused.

Some Ayurvedic texts maintain that Vitiligo is caused by some morbidity of the liver which is a vitiation of pitta. If blood (Raktha) and lymph (Rasa) are considerably involved, it results in vitiligo that is, shwitra-kushta.

When Vata dosha accumulates in the purishvaha srota (excretory channels), it results in deprived elimination, which then spreads out into the rasa (lymph) and rakta dhatu. The vata relocation to the rasa and rakta dhatu results in deficient flow through the rasa and raktavaha srota. Eventually, an altered functioning of the liver occurs (coupled with pitta vitiation) which in turn contributes to impaired elimination/management of impurities in the body. The deficient flow through the raktavaha srota also vitiates posaka rakta (the building blocks of the mamsa dhatu). Since the mamsa dhatu is responsible for healthy skin, it stands as the reason for the impairment of the skin. Basically, an accumulation of vata and pitta dosha and ama (toxins) in the srotas and dhatus is resulting in impaired function, as well as inferior production, of tissue resulting in skin disorders such as vitiligo.

Best treatment (Chikitsa) for Vitiligo

Below mentioned are the effective treatment methods for vitiligo:

1. Ayurvedic treatment plan starts with procedures to arrest the continuing aggravation of doshas in the body. The digestive system is targeted first with the implementation of a dosha suitable diet.

2. Once all correctable causative factors such as diet and lifestyle have been addressed, appropriate eliminative procedures would be used to facilitate the removal of ama (toxins) and excess dosha from the body.

  • Eliminative measures will be employed, taking into consideration the patients' agni and level of ojas, where herbal remedies prove effective.
  • Purification kriyas such as snehana or oleation (application of oil), svedana (fomentation or steam therapy) and vrechana (purgation therapy) are employed to “loosen and liquefy ama” and excess dosha in the body. This will later facilitate the removal of ama and excess dosha from the body.
  • Another method of cleansing often mentioned with leucoderma is called rakatamoksha (therapeutic bloodletting).
  • Herbal decoctions such as Euphorbia neriifolia (snuhi) and Psoralia corylifolia (Bakuci Kwatha) are used to induce multiple bouts of purgation.
  • Oil massage using oil selected on the basis of disease (roga) and patient examination (rogi pariksa).

3. Ayurvedic treatment also includes exposure of de-pigmented areas to the healing rays of Sun (Soorya pada santhapam in Ayurveda).

Best Ayurvedic herbal treatment for vitiligo

There is an abundance of herbs mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts for skin diseases, many of which are readily available today. Their medicinal properties are studied in the labs which supports the Ayurvedically identified properties. For example, acacia catechu (Khadira, Cutch tree), as a decoction, is recommended for treatment of leucoderma. The decoction is used to balance both Pitta and kapha dosha. Scientific studies have acknowledged the constituents and they regenerate liver cells, as well as providing anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory effects.

Another herb, Vernonia anthelmintica (kattu-shiragam/ Kalijiri/purple fleabane) is also reported to be an effective remedy for vitiligo. However, the one herb most often mentioned in Vitiligo/ Leucoderma treatment is psoralea corylifolia Linn (Vakuchi). Vakuchi is also called as Kushtanashini or karpkarishi. When topically applied to white de-pigmented patches (as a diluted essential oil), it is reported to act on both the melanoblastic cells of the skin and Rouget's cell. Stimulation (of these cells) by the oil leads them to generate and exude pigment which gradually diffuses into the de-pigmented areas.

Amrita Ayurveda medical center believes in using Ayurvedic treatments for prevention of disease and curing illnesses. They offer the finest and authentic Ayurvedic treatments which will help you to fight illnesses and lead a healthy life under the excellent guidance of Dr. R.S Roy. The center compensates the need of an Ayurvedic Vitiligo specialist clinic for the treatment of white patches. It has been serving the community continuously in treating Vitiligo/Leucoderma and has already established as the specialized center for vitiligo treatment in India. It has safely treated patients from small kids to elderly persons suffering from vitiligo. The success story of Amrita for its acclaimed Ayurvedic treatment for vitiligo Kerala is contributed by patients from all over the country.

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